Judge James Wickersham

Nome’s early years were plagued with fighting over mining claims, jury fixing, and embezzlement of public funds – corruption that went to the highest levels of government. In 1901, Judge Wickersham arrived to set things in order. Living in the Golden Gate Hotel on Front Street, he presided over many important cases, and detailed his observations in personal diaries, often in folksy prose. “I am satisfied that he is, to use a mining camp expression, ‘so crooked that his blood only circulates once a year’,” Wickersham wrote about one offender. Wickersham went on to become a State representative, and is credited with laying the groundwork for Statehood, the Alaska Railroad, the University of Alaska and the Alaska public school system, as well as the naming of Fairbanks.

Getting There

Latitude: 64.496458
Longitude: -165.399767