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In 1898, gold was discovered on a beach in western Alaska. Gold Seekers arrived and settled Nome, which was a gold rush town from 1899 to 1903. During that short period, some 20,000 prospectors were attracted to Nome, but many died or left because of the hardships. Dredging replaced older mining methods, but that was ceased in 1962.

Nowadays, Nome is the commercial and supply center for northwestern Alaska. There is an airport and the city has steamer connections with Seattle. Nome's economy depends heavily on tourism and fishing, while oil deposits have been found in the area. The city is also a center of Eskimo handicrafts. Nome has a U.S. air force base and is the scene of an annual fair. Nome is also the terminus of the annual Iditarod dogsled race. Cape Nome lies to the southeast.

Accommodation and restaurants are available in Nome. The city is on Norton Sound, on the southern side of Seward Peninsula, 1770 km northwest from Juneau and 5900 km northwest from Washington D.C.

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