Anvil City Square is a large open green space in the heart of Nome, and is considered the community’s “crown jewel.” It’s where you’ll find locals gathering all through the year: celebrating 4th of July with activities like the blanket toss, participating in the Iditarod snow sculpting contest, and searching for color in the stark white snow during the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Anvil City Square is also a must-see for visitors, who often take their pictures with the world’s largest gold pan and with statues of the Three Lucky Swedes.
Points of interest in and around Anvil City Square:
Life-size bronze statues of the “Three Lucky Swedes” – Meet John, Erik and Jafet, three lucky Scandinavians (one was from Norway and two from Sweden), who didn’t really know how to mine but got rich from a great gold discovery in nearby Anvil Creek. These three were responsible for the early Stampede to Nome – when thousands of miners descended on the town, making it for a time the largest city in Alaska.
Statues of the two Inupiaq boys – The Nome Beltz Native Youth Leadership Organization funded the placement of an additional bronze statue in Anvil City Square, celebrating the contributions of two young Inupiaq boys to Nome’s history. Oral tradition credits Constantine Uparazuck and Gabriel Adams with showing the Three Lucky Swedes where they could find gold in this area.
Giant Gold Pan – If you try your luck panning for gold in the icy cold waters of the Seward Peninsula, rest assured you won’t need a pan this large. The 18-foot high Alaska-sized version makes a great photo backdrop.
Old St. Joe’s Hall – This is one of Nome’s oldest standing buildings and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While it’s not always open, you can still check out the Gothic architecture and steeple, which remains a notable landmark for travelers in and out of Nome.
Umiak display – The frames of two umiaks (walrus-skin boats) rest upside down on wooden risers, similar to how they were stored by Natives in between hunting seasons. Interpretive signs describe the engineering, construction process and utility of these handmade watercraft.
Playground – Nome recently invested in a large, new playground in the northeast corner of the square, designed for children from 2-12. Two “spring riders” in the shape of a salmon and a bear are especially fun for the kids.
Dredge buckets – Dozens of old-time dredges worked the land around Nome, excavating the earth with large buckets and sorting through the material to extract gold. You’ll see lots of these old machines abandoned in and around the city. Their buckets make unique flowerpots, as you can see in Anvil City Square.
Photo tip: Angle it right and you can get a photo of the Three Lucky Swedes and the gold pan with Anvil Mountain and Anvil Rock in the background.