Norwegian Roald Amundsen loved the Arctic and spent his life on expeditions that made him the stuff of legends. He was a hero to many, especially young boys who also longed for such adventure. Amundsen landed in Nome in 1906 on the tail-end of his three-year voyage through the Northwest Passage. He followed up that feat by leading the first expedition to reach the South Pole in 1911. He returned to the Seward Peninsula in 1926 on the 348-foot dirigible the Norge, after landing it at the North Pole.
"If only you knew how splendid it is up there, that's where I want to die,” Amundsen told a journalist in 1928. Shortly thereafter, the Arctic did claim his life when his plane crashed into the Arctic Ocean while on a rescue mission to find his friend (and designer of the Norge) Umberto Nobile. A bust of Amundsen is outside Nome City Hall, near the sign marking the site of Wyatt Earp’s Dexter Saloon. It’s one of four identical busts of Amundsen found throughout the world (Norway, Nunavut Canada, Tasmania and Alaska).