Iditarod, Alaska

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For the sledge race, see Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
For other uses, see Iditarod.
Iditarod
Ghost town
Port of Iditarod, circa 1911
Port of Iditarod, circa 1911
Iditarod is located in Alaska
Iditarod
Iditarod
Location within the state of Alaska
Coordinates: 62°32′40″N 158°05′43″W / 62.54444°N 158.09528°W / 62.54444; -158.09528Coordinates: 62°32′40″N 158°05′43″W / 62.54444°N 158.09528°W / 62.54444; -158.09528
Country United States
State Alaska
Census area Yukon-Koyukuk
Time zone Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
 • Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)

Iditarod is an abandoned town in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska.

Geography[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 50
2010 0
Est. 2010 0

History[edit]

The town of Iditarod was named after the Iditarod River. Iditarod comes from the Athabascan word Haidilatna[pronunciation?].[1]

On Christmas Day 1908, prospectors John Beaton and W.A. "Bill" Dikeman found gold on Otter Creek, a tributary to the Iditarod River. News of the find spread and in the summer of 1909 miners arrived in the gold fields and built a small camp that was later known as Flat. People and supplies traveled to the gold fields by boat from the Yukon River, up the Innoko River, and up the Iditarod River to the current town site, a short walk from Flat.

More gold was discovered and a massive stampede headed for Flat in 1910. The steamboat Tanana arrived June 1, 1910, and the city of Iditarod was founded as a head of navigation for all the surrounding gold fields, including Flat, Discovery, Otter, Dikeman, and Willow Creek. Iditarod quickly became a bustling boomtown, with hotels, cafés, brothels, three newspapers (only one would last the year), a Miners and Merchants Bank, a mercantile store, electricity, telephones, automobiles, and a light railway to Flat.

By 1930 the gold was gone and most of the miners had moved to Flat, taking many of the buildings with them. Iditarod is now a ghost town. Only one cabin and a handful of ruins remain, including the concrete bank vault from the Miners and Merchants Bank. There is no remnant of the bank structure.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allan Curtis, "Iditarod's Newspapers: Optimist, Nugget, Pioneer" Alaska Journal 6 no.2 (Spring 1976) 78-83.