15 January 2007

"An Unlikely Community"

I was struck by this description of Nome in the News-Miner:

Nome is an unlikely town. Located along an obscure beach on the Seward Peninsula that is prone to violent storms, the city lacks a natural harbor, the adjacent sea is frozen for much of the year and the surrounding land is treeless tundra....

He does tell us that:

“By 1910 the struggle for survival among Alaska’s gold-rush boomtowns had ended. Skagway had put Dyea out of business, for example, and while Teller, Candle, and Council City would survive on the Seward Peninsula, they would not prosper. This was not what many observers might have expected. Port Clarence, near Teller, had a natural harbor, while Nome’s inadequate facilities would not be significantly improved until after 1920 — and they would remain inadequate after that. Council was surrounded by spruce trees, useful for building; the Nome region was treeless. Nevertheless, even as early as 1904 all conceded that Nome was the Seward Peninsula’s chief city. Three years later it could be said without contradiction that Nome was the peninsula’s metropolis.”

As a Weather Service forecaster once noted to me, "I sure wish they'd found gold a bit further down the coast. Then we wouldn't get all these marine weather systems that bring constantly cloudy weather in the summer!"

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