CATASTROPHE: Nome No More

The story goes that a cartographer, mapping the central peninsula that jutted into Bering Strait from the Russian territory of Alaska, had no identification for the cape on its southern side. He simply made a note there: "? Name." In 1849 an erring draughtsman labeled the place Cape Nome.

In 1898 gulch gold was found on the shores of Anvil Creek, a few miles from Cape Nome. Overnight a rip-roaring canvas-and-scantling town sprang up, sheltering, feeding and quenching the notable thirsts of 20,000 miners, gamblers, tradesmen and wenches. Among that gaudy citizenry...

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