All Alaska Sweepstakes

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FROM OUR PAGES:

The May-June issue of Alaskan History Magazine includes an article on the All Alaska Sweepstakes, founded in Nome:

In the winter of 1907, a group of friends in Nome, Alaska set about developing a kennel club and formalizing the rules for racing dogs, founded on the same principles as the jockey clubs which oversaw the famed horse races of the bluegrass country in the south. There were many impromptu sled dog races all over the territory, but the men who started the Sweepstakes race were seeking a way to  track and trace the mushers, their dogs, and the results, with an eye toward improving the sport and breeding better dogs.

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Front Street, 5th race, 1912

In the spring of 1908 they held their first race, a 408-mile run to mining town of Candle and return, following the telegraph lines which linked camps, villages and gold mining settlements on the Peninsula. This route’s established communication lines allowed those betting on the outcome to track the race more easily from the comfort of saloons like the famed Board of Trade in Nome, and the betting was lively and spirited!

The winner of the first race was musher John Hegness, who was driving the team of Nome Kennel Club President Albert Fink. Twenty years later Hegness, who was a trapper and ranged widely over northern Alaska, would be credited with finding the bush pilot Russel Merrill after his plane crash-landed near Barrow. Merrill was transported to the Barrow hospital by dog team and treated for snow-blindness, exhaustion, and malnutrition.

 

Baldy and Scotty Allan

Scotty Allan and Baldy

The All Alaska Sweepstakes made household names of two illustrious mushers: Allan Alexander “Scotty” Allan and Leonhard Seppala, who each won the race three times. Another musher who gained widespread fame was the 1910 champion, John “Iron Man” JohnsonJohnson drove a team for the Scottish nobleman, Fox Maule Ramsay, who had traveled to the Anadyr River area of Siberia and brought back a load of “swift little foxy-looking dogs” which became the distant forerunners of today’s Siberian husky. Driving a team of these fast little huskies, Johnson set a record in the 1910 race of 74 hours, 14 minutes, and 37 seconds, which stood until 2008. 

The All Alaska Sweepstakes was an eagerly anticipated annual event until the gold mining dropped off and the First World War took a large percentage of the men away to fight on foreign shores. Nome’s population dwindled, along with local interest in sled dog racing. In 1983 the Nome Kennel Club sponsored the 75th Anniversary race, and Rick Swenson took home the $25,000.00 purse. Then, in 2008, for the 100th Anniversary of the event, the Nome Kennel Club offered the richest purse ever for a sled dog race: $100,000.00, winner take all.

trophy_aasAlaska’s best-known mushers entered the Centennial race, including Lance Mackey, Jeff King, Mitch Seavey, Sonny Lindner, Ramy Brooks, Jim Lanier, Cim Smyth, Aaron Burmeister, Ed Iten, Hugh Neff, and Mike Santos. And then there were the mushers who entered simply to be a part of the history of the race: Kirsten Bey, Cari Miller, Fred Moe Napoka, Connor Thomas, and Jeff Darling, whose musher profile noted that he’d entered “for the historical value and a chance to see some countryside he might not otherwise be able to see by dogteam.”

nkcpatch52004 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey won the $100,000 purse for the 2008 race, and organizers and the Nome Kennel Club announced that would be the final running of the epic race, an event now consigned to the pages of Alaska’s colorful mushing history. In 2013 Northern Light Media published The All Alaska Sweepstakes, History of the Great Sled Dog Race, which told the story of the race and the sixteen Alaskan mushers who entered their teams in the Centennial running, each hoping to have their name engraved on the Sweepstakes trophy beside the great mushing legends John ‘Iron Man Johnson, ‘Scotty’ Allan and Leonhard Seppala. •~•

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John Hegness driving Albert Fink’s team, 1st race, 1st winner, in 1908.

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“Scotty” Allan driving J. Berger team, winner of 2nd race, 1909.

 

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John “Iron Man” Johnson driving Col. Ramsay’s team, winners of 3rd race, 1910.

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Leonhard Seppala, owner and driver, winning the 1916 race. He also won in 1915 and 1917.

All Alaska Sweepstakes at Wikipedia

Nome Kennel Club History

Anchorage Daily News article by Helen Hegener, 2009

Biography of “Scotty” Allan at LitSite Alaska

 

 

 

 

Books from NLM

 

Northern Light Media publishes Alaskan History Magazine, but the company, founded in 2007 by Helen Hegener, also publishes non-fiction books on Alaskan history. There are now more than a dozen titles in print, including Alaskan Roadhouses, The 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, The Alaska Railroad 1902-1923, Alaskan Sled Dog Tales, The First Iditarod, and many more.

A new website focuses almost exclusively on the books, with in-depth descriptions and ordering information for every title. Photographs, excerpts, quotes and more from each book can be found on their individual book pages, easily accessed from anywhere on the site via the book titles listed in the right sidebar. A page about the company, Northern Light Media, and founder Helen Hegener, along with a page and link to Alaskan History Magazine round out this new site.

Check out this great new resource, here’s the link again! 

 

 

Snowshoes

FROM OUR PAGES:

A historic photo feature in the May-June issue focuses on snowshoes, those wonderful wood-and-webbing contraptions which made walking on snow possible for the early travelers in the north country. Some great photos were published, but there were a few delightful photos we didn’t have space to include, so we’re sharing them here:

Billy Mitchell snowshoes

Leiutenant William “Billy” Mitchell on snowshoes dressed in traditional native American clothing. According to “Billy Mitchell’s war with the Navy: the interwar rivalry over air power,” Mitchell was in Alaska 1901-1903. Creator: United States Army Signal Corps UAF-1996-3-6

Simon mending snowshoes Eagle

Simon Paneak mending snowshoes, Eagle. uaa-hmc-0059-17
Clarence Leroy Andrews papers, 1892-1946. UAA-HMC-0059
Clarence Leroy Andrews papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

smiling man w:snowshoes

Smiling man with snowshoes. John Sigler Photograph Collection, UAF-2004-111-78
“A young man smiles while holding baggage and snowshoes. This photo comes from an envelope labeled ‘UAF negatives from 1950-51.'”

Snowshoe girl 1906

The Snow-Shoe Girl (Sla-Gun). Copyright 1906. ASL-P39-0061.
Case and Draper Photographs, 1898-1920. ASL-PCA-39.
Full-length studio portrait of a young Native woman sitting in fringed robe and beaded slippers, holding a pair of snow shoes.

horse wearing snowshoes

Horses Wearing Snowshoes at Hyder, Alaska.
Alaska State Library ASL-Hyder-2

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Man, woman, and child with dog team, sled, snowshoes.
ASL-P208-097
Alaska Lantern Slides Collection, ca. 1894- [ongoing]. ASL-PCA-208

Edward deGroffs

Sergei (George) Kostromitinoff, Sitka, 1889. ASL-P243-1-116
Michael Z. Vinokouroff Photograph Collection, ca. 1880’s-1970’s. PCA 243
DescriptionFull face, full length portrait, wearing fur parka and boots, holding snowshoes.
Photographed by Edward DeGroff, 1860-1910

 

Newsletter, May 20, 2019

May 20 NewsThe Alaskan History Magazine News for May 20 is online and has been emailed to subscribers. If you haven’t seen our free newsletter yet the archived editions are here.

There are four weekly newsletters in the archive now, beginning with the April 29 edition, which shared photos of homestead cabins on Ship Creek near Anchorage and the Sourdough Roadhouse on the Richardson Trail (now the Richardson Highway). The May 6 edition included information about writing for Alaskan History Magazine, and a great old advertisement for Klondike footwear! Last week’s May 13 issue highlighted the May-June issue of the magazine and announced it was now available at Amazon, and shared a colorful postcard from the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Every issue includes information about the magazine, links to our social media presence at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and a bit about Alaskan history which did not appear in the magazine.

There are also expanded versions of articles and items which appeared in the magazine on the website, notably the aforementioned A-Y-P Expo, and a broader look at one of the pioneer photographers mentioned in the May-June issue, Clarence Leroy Andrews (see right sidebar for links).

The 1909 A-Y-P Expo

From the May-June, 2019 issue of Alaskan History Magazine, with additional content:

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Postcard of The Ranier Vista, focal point of the Exposition.

The Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition was a world’s fair held in Seattle in 1909, publicizing the development of the Pacific Northwest. It was originally planned for 1907, to mark the 10th anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush, but the organizers found out about the Jamestown Exposition being held that year, and rescheduled their event for two years later. 

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“Uncle Sam throws the searchlight on Alaska” – by W. J. Harris, of Juneau.

Originally intended to celebrate Washington’s growth and development resulting from the infusion of wealth created by the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush, the exposition was expanded to also include the importance of Pacific trade. The only foreign countries to erect entire buildings at the fair were Japan and Canada, but their presence was enough to validate the Pacific theme. Other countries were represented on a smaller scale. 

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opened on June 1, 1909, on the largely undeveloped grounds of the University of Washington. During the official opening ceremony, from the White House in Washington, D.C., President William Howard Taft opened the Exposition by striking a special telegraph key which had been studded with gold nuggets from the mine of George Carmack, whose discovery had started the Klondike Gold Rush.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 10.59.59 AMScreen Shot 2019-05-16 at 11.07.58 AMAs visitors passed through the fair they marveled at exhibits such as the desk where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, the first wireless telephone, an operational lighthouse, model locomotives, and a large exhibit documenting the history of photography. A popular display at the Alaska building was the more than $1 million in gold nuggets, dust, and ingots inside a heavily fortified case which was lowered through the floor to an underground vault at the end of each day.

Alaskan wildlife was on display, along with a fish-canning exhibit, and timber, whaling, and mining displays. There was the finale of a transcontinental auto race, a reenactment of the Civil War battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac, and displays showcasing the “Streets of Cairo,” “On the Yukon,” and the “Gold Camps of Alaska.” William Boeing, founder of the Boeing Aircraft Company, stated that it was during the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition when he saw a manned flying machine for the first time and became fascinated with aircraft.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 10.58.55 AM “The Exposition,” by Mateel Howe, was a report published in the newspaper, The Independent, on June 24, 1909. She wrote: “I have said all expositions are alike, but the A-Y-P is unique in one particu­lar. It does not represent anything past, but stands for the Alaska and Pacific of today and of the future. It does not commemorate anything that has been done but things that are expected to be done. This makes a step forward in ex­positions and Seattle should be proud to be the pioneer. She has built a fair in every way creditable. It is a pretty little fair, certainly, and the country about, the mountains, the ocean and the mystery- brooding forests make it even a beautiful little fair.”

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was a resounding success. Over eighty thousand people visited on opening day, and more than three million people visited the fair before its gates closed in October; it was the first World’s Fair to turn a profit.

 

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Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opens in Seattle on June 1, 1909

• A slideshow of the A-Y-P at HistoryLink.org

• An extensive collection including A-Y-P videos at ExpoMuseum.com

• The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at Wikipedia

 

 

From Our Pages

May-June 220 pixels wideIn the May-June, 2019 issue of Alaskan History Magazine a photo feature focuses on the intrepid pioneer photographers who captured images of our past while working with bulky cameras in the northland’s adverse and often dangerous conditions. In this first of a series of posts relating to the magazine I’m sharing an excerpt from that article in the magazine – and expanding on it to include related photos and links to more information. In the example below on Clarence L. Andrews, the text and the photo of “Anarok’s wife” appeared in the magazine, while the photographs of Andrews, his book covers, and the steamer ‘Monarch’ did not. Also added are the links to the publications he photographed for, and Andrews’ papers at the UAA/APU Consortium Library in Anchorage.

Clarence Leroy Andrews

Clarence Leroy Andrews

Clarence Leroy Andrews came to Alaska in 1897 as part of a climbing expedition to Mt. St. Elias. He spent time in Sitka, in Skagway during the gold rush, in Eagle as a customs agent, 1904-1906. Between 1923 and 1929, he traveled throughout the Arctic as a surveyor for the School and Reindeer Service for the Alaska Bureau of Education.

Andrews was a journalist and photographer for the Alaska-Yukon Magazine and for Juneau’s Alaska Daily Empire (published from 1912-1926). In his later years, Andrews wrote numerous books and articles about Alaska and the Eskimos.

Anaroc's wife, Kivalina 1924 C.L. Andrews

Anarok’s Wife, Kivalina. 1924. [C.L. Andrews papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage. uaa-hmc-0059-27]

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The Monarch steamer on the Yukon River at Eagle, Alaska, 1904.
Clarence Leroy Andrews papers, 1892-1946. UAA-HMC-0059

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Andrews’ many books on early Alaska can often be found at eBay, Amazon, and similar online booksellers. 

 

 

Press Release

May 10, 2019: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Helen Hegener (907) 521-5245
Alaskan History Magazine 
Alaskan History Magazine is an independently produced magazine portraying the colorful and important past of the Last Frontier as an exciting journey of exploration, sharing stories of the people, places and events which shaped Alaska’s history. The inaugural issue, May-June, 2019, features articles about the construction of the Alaska Railroad, Yost’s Roadhouse on the Richardson Trail, the barns of the 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and the All Alaska Sweepstakes sled dog races in Nome. Additional articles highlight the pioneer photographers of Alaska, a photo gallery of snowshoes, half a dozen classic books from Alaska’s past, and an excerpt from Addison Powell’s 1902 explorations of the Copper River Valley. 
 
Alaskan History Magazine is published bimonthly, printed in full color, with no advertising, and the 48-page issues are perfect-bound with sturdy covers for safekeeping. The managing editor is Alaskan author Helen Hegener, whose books include Alaskan Roadhouses, The Alaska Railroad 1902-1923, The First Iditarod, Alaskan Sled Dog Tales, “A Mighty Nice Place:” The 1935 Matanuska Colony Project, The Yukon Quest Trail, and many more. The May-June issue is an anthology of excerpts from her books, future issues will feature a broad range of Alaskan history from multiple sources. Contributions are welcomed, submission guidelines are on the magazine’s website. 
 
Published by Northern Light Media, Alaskan History Magazine is $10.00 per issue, and $48.00 per year for six issues, both postpaid to U.S. addresses only. Single issues of the magazine are available at Amazon, but subscriptions need to be placed via the website (PayPal or credit card) or postal mail (check or money order). For more information visit the website at http://www.alaskan-history.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Alaskan History Magazine, P.O. Box 870515, Wasilla, Alaska 99687. 
 
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MAY JUNE 2019 COVER