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Nome (nōm) [key], city (1990 pop. 3,500), W Alaska, on the southern side of Seward Peninsula, on Norton Sound; founded c.1898, when gold was discovered on the beach there. It is the commercial, government, and supply center for NW Alaska, with an airport. Major economic mainstays are mining, tourism, fishing, and government. The city is also a center of Eskimo handicrafts. Nome was a gold rush town from 1899 to 1903; it attracted some 20,000 prospectors, but many died or left because of the hardships. Dredging, which replaced older methods of mining, ceased in 1962, but was renewed in the 1980s. The city is the scene of an annual Midnight Sun Festival and is the terminus of the annual Iditarod dogsled race. Cape Nome lies to the southeast.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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