Not a single ampule was broken, and the antitoxin was thawed and ready by noon. Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. In the winter of 1925, a deadly illness struck the city of Nome, Alaska. Not the least of which: Balto is limited to seconds on screen. According to Edgar Kalland, "it was just an everyday occurrence as far as we were concerned."(p255). From Manley Hot Springs, the serum passed through largely Athabascan hands before George Nollner delivered it to Charlie Evans at Bishop Mountain on January 30 at 3 am. Kaasen maintained that he decided to continue since there were no lights on in the cabin where Rohn was sleeping and he didn't want to waste time, but many, including Rohn based on conversations the two men had before leaving Nome, and other decorated mushers in the surrounding area, thought his decision to not wake Rohn was motivated by a desire to grab the glory for himself and Balto.. The mail route from Nenana to Nome spanned 674 miles (1,085 km) in total. , There is much controversy surrounding Balto's role in this race and the statue in Central Park. In October 1926, Seppala took Togo and his team on a tour from Seattle to California, and then across the Midwest to New England, and consistently drew huge crowds. Both the mushers and their dogs were â¦ Located 2 degrees south of the Arctic Circle, Nome was home to 455 Alaskan Natives and 975 European settlers. On January 26, the Anchorage Railroad Hospital found 300,000 forgotten units, after the chief of surgery, John Beeson, heard of the need. " In the last years of his life Seppala was heartbroken by the way the credit had gone to Balto; in his mind, Togo was the real hero of the serum race. Togo's prowess as a sled dog, also led to his strengths being preserved through breeding, as the "Seppala Siberian Sleddog" line of huskies, a sought after sled dog line. More than 1,000 people died in northwest Alaska, and double that across the state.  His message to the Public Health Service said: AN EPIDEMIC OF DIPHTHERIA IS ALMOST INEVITABLE HERE STOP I AM IN URGENT NEED OF ONE MILLION UNITS OF DIPHTHERIA ANTITOXIN STOP MAIL IS ONLY FORM OF TRANSPORTATION STOP I HAVE MADE APPLICATION TO COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH OF THE TERRITORIES FOR ANTITOXIN ALREADY STOP THERE ARE ABOUT 3000 WHITE NATIVES IN THE DISTRICT, Despite the quarantine, there were over 20 confirmed cases of diphtheria and at least 50 more at risk by the end of January. In response, Bone decided to speed up the relay and authorized additional drivers for Seppala's leg of the relay, so they could travel without rest. According to a reporter living in Nome, "All hope is in the dogs and their heroic drivers ... Nome appears to be a deserted city. The U.S. Navy moved a minesweeper north from Seattle, and the Signal Corps were ordered to light fires to guide the planes. Mayor Maynard proposed flying the antitoxin by aircraft. The mail carriers held a revered position in the territory, and were the best dog mushers in Alaska. Directed by Jesse Hibbs.  Several months earlier, Welch had placed an order for more diphtheria antitoxin after discovering that the hospital's entire batch had expired. The temperature had risen to â56 Â°F (â49 Â°C), and according to at least one report the owner of the roadhouse at Manley Hot Springs had to pour water over Kallands' hands to get them off the sled's handlebar when he arrived at 4 pm. I watched all the way through, excited to finally see these demonic aliens that were being alluded to the entire movie. The plane failed the next day as well, and the mission was scrapped. The majority of relay drivers across the Interior were native Athabaskans, direct descendants of the original dog mushers. The following day, on January 22, 1925, Welch sent radio telegrams to all other major towns in Alaska alerting them of public health risk and he also sent one to the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. asking for assistance.  The 1995 animated film Balto was loosely based on the events of the final leg of the serum run, although all of the characters besides Balto, and subplots, are fictional. Margaret Curran from the Solomon roadhouse was infected, which raised fears that the disease might spread from patrons of the roadhouse to other communities. "North to Alaska" is a 1960 hit song recorded by Johnny Horton that was featured in the movie of the same name. (footnotes, pp 235, 243). He departed at 5:30 am, and as he crossed the hills, "the eddies of drifting, swirling snow passing between the dog's legs and under the bellies made them appear to be fording a fast running river. Seppala was still scheduled to cover the most dangerous leg, the shortcut across Norton Sound, but the telephone and telegraph systems bypassed the small villages he was passing through, and there was no way to tell him to wait at Shaktoolik. In 1925, diphtheria swept through the small Alaskan town of Nome. , None of the other mushers received the same degree of attention, though Wild Bill Shannon briefly toured with Blackie. Many of the participants were descendants of the original 20. The three dogs died shortly after Shannon returned for them, and a fourth may have died as well. Olson carried it 25 miles (40 km) to Bluff where he turned it over to Gunnar Kaasen. The primary source of mail and needed supplies in 1925 was the dog sled, but within a decade, bush pilots would become the dominant method of transportation during the winter months. The honorary musher for the first seven races was Leonhard Seppala. Nome, Alaska lies approximately 2 degrees south of the Arctic Circle, and while greatly diminished from its peak of 20,000 inhabitants during the gold rush days, at the turn of the 20th century, it was still the largest town in northern Alaska in 1925, with 455 Alaska Natives and 975 settlers of European descent.(p16). With Anne Baxter, Jeff Chandler, Rory Calhoun, Ray Danton. While no count exists, the estimate based on weight is roughly 125,000 units, enough to treat 4 to 6 patients. In addition, there were limited hours of daylight to fly, due to the polar night. A sixth death, probably unrelated to diphtheria, was widely reported as a new outbreak of the disease. They took the shortcut across the Norton Sound, and headed toward Shaktoolik. The 2005 Iditarod honored Jirdes Winther Baxter, the last known survivor of the epidemic. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan sent a letter of recognition to Charlie Evans, Edgar Nollner, and Bill McCarty, the only remaining survivors. The relay has been immortalized in various media. After descending to the next roadhouse in Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen on February 1 at 3 pm. A statue of Balto by sculptor Frederick Roth was unveiled in New York City's Central Park during a visit on December 15, 1925. US Dept of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Anchorage, AK 6930 Sand Lake Road Anchorage, AK 99502 The longest flight was only 260 miles (420 km), the worst conditions were â10 Â°F (â23 Â°C) which required so much winter clothing that the plane was almost unflyable, and the plane made several crash landings. Kaasen, deciding not to wake Rohn, began the final 21 mile leg, arriving in Nome around 5:30 am, for a total time of seven and a half hours. The crisis had become headline news in newspapers, including San Francisco, Cleveland, Washington D.C., and New York, and spread to the radio sets which were just becoming common. The quarantine had been obeyed but lack of diagnostic tools and the contagiousness of the strain rendered it ineffective. Evans relied on his lead dogs when he passed through ice fog where the Koyukuk River had broken through and surged over the ice, but forgot to protect the groins of his two short-haired mixed breed lead dogs with rabbit skins. The temperature was estimated at â30 Â°F (â34 Â°C), but the wind chill with the gale force winds was â85 Â°F (â65 Â°C). He arrived at Bluff on February 1 at 7 pm in poor shape. "North to Alaska" is a 1960 hit song recorded by Johnny Horton that was featured in the movie of the same name. Nollner was the last to die, on January 18, 1999, of a heart attack. . After warming the serum in the roadhouse, Kalland headed into the forest. In one day, they had traveled 84 mi (135 km), averaging 8 mph (13 km/h). Directed by Henry Hathaway. They were featured at Madison Square Garden in New York City for 10 days, and Togo received a gold medal from Roald Amundsen.  Welch estimated that the serum would only last six days under the brutal conditions on the trail. Though Horton had sung several popular movie tie-in songs, this was the first one that was sung over the opening titles.. Kaasen reached Point Safety ahead of schedule on February 2, at 3 am.  In the next few weeks, as the number of âtonsillitisâ cases grew and four children died, whom Welch had not been able to autopsy, he became increasingly concerned about diphtheria.(pp33â36). The route then continued for 208 miles (335 km) northwest around the southern shore of the Seward Peninsula with no protection from gales and blizzards, including a 42 miles (68 km) stretch across the shifting ice of the Bering Sea. The plan relied on the driver from the north catching Seppala on the trail. The teams would travel day and night until they handed off the package to Seppala at Nulato. (pp47â48) Realizing that an epidemic was imminent, that same evening, Welch called Mayor George Maynard to arrange an emergency town council meeting. From November to July, the port on the southern shore of the Seward Peninsula of the Bering Sea was icebound and inaccessible by steamship. The serum race helped spur the Kelly Act, which was signed into law on February 2. Other serum run participants, including "Wild Bill" Shannon, Edgar Kalland, Bill McCarty, Charlie Evans, Edgar Nollner, Harry Pitka, and Henry Ivanoff have also been honored. At the January 24 meeting of the board of health, superintendent Mark Summers of the Hammon Consolidated Gold Fields proposed a dogsled relay using two fast teams. Mushing was revitalized as a recreational sport in the 1970s with the immense popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The serum! On January 30, the number of cases in Nome had reached 27 and the antitoxin was depleted. The media largely ignored the Athabaskan and Alaska Native mushers, who covered two-thirds of the distance to Nome. The trip from Nulato to Nome normally took 30 days, although the record was nine. The Central Park statue of Balto was modeled after Balto, but shows him wearing Togo's colors (awards). There is also an English edition published as Relay by now defunct publishing house Jaspis. The 1925 Nome Serum Run saved thousands of Alaskans from diphtheria. Seppala turned around and reached Ungalik with the serum after dark. Without antitoxin, it was expected that in the surrounding region's population of around 10,000 people, the mortality rate could be close to 100 percent.  The Alameda would be the next ship north, and would not arrive in Seattle until January 31, and then would take another 6 to 7 days to arrive in Seward. The bass singing portion is done by Rusty Goodman. Each musher during the first relay received a gold medal from the H. K. Mulford Company. Written by Tillman Franks and Johnny Horton, "North to Alaska" topped Billboard magazine's Country Singles chart, reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and eight on Norway Singles Chart. On February 1, the number of cases in Nome rose to 28. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease. Wetzler contacted Tom Parson, an agent of the Northern Commercial Company, which contracted to deliver mail between Fairbanks and Unalakleet. In the serum run, she wrote, Togo was the real hero: ... the dog that often gets credit for eventually saving the town is Balto, but he just happened to run the last, 55 miles [89 km] leg in the race. By "1901" Sam was known as "a mighty man", and his partner George then tells him, "I'd trade all the gold that's buried in this land for one small band of gold to place on sweet little Jenny's hand." By mid-January 1925, Welch officially diagnosed the first case of diphtheria in a three-year-old boy who died only two weeks after first becoming ill. The following day, when a seven-year-old girl presented the same tell-tale symptoms of diphtheria, Welch attempted to administer some of the expired antitoxin to see if it might still have any effect, but the girl died a few hours later. He also suffered frostbite when he had to use his bare hands to feel for the cylinder.  No record exists of Seppala ever having used Balto as a leader in runs or races prior to 1925, and Seppala himself stated Balto "was never in a winning team. On February 8 the first half of the second shipment began its trip by dog sled, while the plane failed to start when a broken radiator shutter caused the engine to overheat. The serum then crossed the Kaltag Portage in the hands of Jack Nicolai aka "Jackscrew" and the Alaska Native Victor Anagick, who handed it to his fellow Alaska Native Myles Gonangnan on the shores of the Sound, at Unalakleet on January 31 at 5 am. Katy Steinmetz, writing in Time magazine, also thought that Togo was the greatest sled dog of all time. With the powerful blizzard raging and winds of 80 mph (130 km/h), Welch ordered a stop to the relay until the storm passed, reasoning that a delay was better than the risk of losing it all. The 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy and The Serum Run, was a transport of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay across the U.S. territory of Alaska by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs across 674 miles (1,085 km) in 5 Â½ days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from a developing epidemic. The only link to the rest of the world during the winter was the Iditarod Trail, which ran 938 miles (1,510 km) from the port of Seward in the south, across several mountain ranges and the vast Alaska Interior before reaching Nome.  Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.. The serum en route was sufficient to treat 30 people. Half-Athabaskan Edgar Kalland arrived in Minto the night before, and was sent back to Tolovana, traveling 70 mi (110 km) the day before the relay. "(p203) The whiteout conditions cleared as he reached the shore, and the gale-force winds drove the wind chill to â70 Â°F (â57 Â°C). Horton died in an automobile accident 5 November 1960 shortly after the song was released. Gunnar Kaasen waited until 10 pm for the storm to break, but it only got worse and the drifts would soon block the trail so he departed into a headwind. George feels that Jenny is his "true love", and he declares he will "build for my Jenny a honeymoon home" below the same mountain where gold was discovered. In the winter of 1924â1925, Curtis Welch was the only doctor in Nome, who served the town and the surrounding communities; he was supported by four nurses at the 25 bed Maynard Columbus Hospital. However, the replacement shipment did not arrive before the port was closed by ice for the winter, and more could not be shipped in to Nome until spring. The two races follow the same route from Ruby to Nome.  In 2013, a documentary titled Icebound â The Greatest Dog Story Ever Told, focused on the aftermath of the events.  He also asserted that Kaasen's lead dog was actually a dog named Fox, but that news agents of the time thought that Balto was a more newsworthy name. Mushers (in order) and the distances they covered. (pp47â48) The council immediately implemented a quarantine. The nearest stores of medicine were hundreds of miles away, across the stateâs snowy interior. Seppala was notified that evening and immediately started preparations for the trip. He used his paper to write scathing editorials. Histories of Alaska: Disneyâs new film âTogoâ gets important stuff right about desperate run to Nome in 1925. Since both pilots were in the contiguous United States, Alaska Delegate Dan Sutherland attempted to get the authorization to use an inexperienced pilot, Roy Darling. Maynard and Sutherland renewed their campaign for flying the remaining serum by plane. The decision outraged William Fentress "Wrong Font" Thompson, publisher of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and aircraft advocate, who helped line up the pilot and plane. In 1976, the story was retold in Race against Death: A True Story of the Far North, by noted children's author Seymour Reit, which was featured in a 1978 episode of The Book Bird, a long-running anthology of children's literature on PBS. Despite a temperature of â50 Â°F (â46 Â°C), Shannon left immediately with his team of 11 inexperienced dogs, led by Blackie. Despite receiving headline coverage across the country, the support of several cabinet departments, and from Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen, the plans were rejected by experienced pilots, the Navy, and Governor Bone. The temperature began to drop, and the team was forced onto the colder ice of the river because the trail had been destroyed by horses. , Norwegiancharts.com – Johnny Horton – North to Alaska", "Johnny Horton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)", "Johnny Horton Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)", When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=North_to_Alaska_(song)&oldid=996015527, Short description is different from Wikidata, Singlechart usages for Billboardcountrysongs, Singlechart usages for Billboardrandbhiphop, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz work identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 24 December 2020, at 01:59. The world famous Iditarod Race was not conceived to commemorate the serum run but as a race that the co-founders hoped would bring sled dogs back to the villages. The wind chill was â70 Â°F (â57 Â°C). But youâve heard this story. Messages were left at Solomon and Point Safety before the lines went dead. They returned to shore to cross Little McKinley Mountain, climbing 5,000 feet (1,500 m). The second relay included many of the same drivers, and also faced harsh conditions. Gonangnan saw the signs of a storm brewing, and decided not to take the shortcut across the dangerous ice of the Sound. More units of serum were discovered around Juneau the same day. Both dogs collapsed with frostbite, with Evans having to take their place himself pulling the sled. Welch asked for half the serum to be delivered by aircraft from Fairbanks. While not sufficient to defeat the epidemic, the 300,000 units could hold it at bay until the larger shipment arrived. Seppala entered into a partnership with Elizabeth M. Ricker in Poland Spring, Maine, where many of his dogs went to live in retirement and contribute to their breeding program of Siberian sled dogs, including Togo who sired many litters. The storm system from Alaska hit the contiguous United States, bringing record lows to New York, and freezing the Hudson River. The song's lyrics during the opening titles of the film provide a back story for the point where the film begins: Sam McCord left Seattle in 1892 with George and Billy Pratt, "crossed the Yukon river" and "found the bonanza gold below that old white mountain just a little southeast of Nome." Togo led the team in a straight line through the dark, and they arrived at the roadhouse in Isaac's Point on the other side at 8 pm. With the news of the worsening epidemic, he decided to brave the storm and once again set out across the 20 miles (32 km) of exposed open ice of the Norton Sound.  At Governor Scott Bone's order, it was packed and handed to conductor Frank Knight, who arrived in Nenana on January 27. No new cases of diphtheria were diagnosed on January 28, but two new cases were diagnosed on January 29. The route then passed west 90 miles (140 km) over the Kaltag Portage to Unalakleet on the shore of Norton Sound.  Summers' employee, the Norwegian Leonhard Seppala, was chosen for the 630 mile (1,014 km) round trip from Nome to Nulato and back. After warming the serum by the fire and resting for four hours, Shannon dropped three dogs and left with the remaining 8. A detailed recounting of the people and events involved in the serum run, including the story of the native mushers and the local nurses who attended to the sick and dying, is given in the 2003 book, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic, by Gay and Laney Salisbury. He was mounted and placed on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Telephones and telegraphs turned the drivers back to their assigned roadhouses. Since the weather was improving, it would take time to prepare Rohn's team, and Balto and the other dogs were moving well, Kaasen pressed on the remaining 25 miles (40 km) to Nome, reaching Front Street at 5:30 am.  Togo, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, debuted on December 20, 2019 on Disney+. Seppala visited Togo, and was by his side when he was euthanized on December 5, 1929 at the age of 16. As an avid Esperantist, Omelka himself translated it into Esperanto with subsequent translations into German, Dutch, Frisian, Icelandic, Chinese and Japanese being published. During the Alaska gold rush, prospector George sends partner Sam to Seattle to bring his fiancée but when it turns out that she married another man, Sam returns with a pretty substitute, the â¦ Balto and the other dogs later became part of a sideshow and lived in horrible conditions until they were rescued by George Kimble, who organized a fundraising campaign by the children of Cleveland, Ohio. He arrived at 10 am; both dogs were dead. His stamina, loyalty, and intelligence could not be improved upon.  The Great Alaskan Race, a 2019 film, produced by Rebel Road Entertainment, is based on the serum run.  Thompson's editorials waxed virulent against those opposing using airplanes. I have it here!"(p207). One would start at Nenana and the other at Nome, and they would meet at Nulato. With his health advisor, Governor Bone concluded the cases in Nome were actually going down, and withheld permission, but preparations went ahead. Summers arranged for drivers along the last leg, including Seppala's colleague Gunnar Kaasen. The U.S. Public Health Service had located 1.1 million units of serum in West Coast hospitals which could be shipped to Seattle, and then transported to Alaska. Different proposals included flying a large aircraft 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from Seattle to Nome, carrying a plane to the edge of the pack ice via Navy ship and launching it, and the original plan of flying the serum from Fairbanks.  In all, Kaasen and Balto ran a total of 53 miles (85 km). "(p205) With the report of Gonangnan's progress on January 31, Welch believed the serum would arrive there in February. The last mail delivery by private dog sled under contract took place in 1938, and the last U.S. Post Office dog sled route closed in 1963.  The supply was wrapped in glass vials, then padded quilts, and finally a metallic cylinder weighing a little more than 20 pounds (9 kg). 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