John Dexter came to the Seward Peninsula in the late 1800s to work at Omilak silver mine. He later opened Dexter Trading Post near Golovin, about 100 miles east of Nome. That historic place was Grand Central for finding out about possible gold deposits on the Seward Peninsula. Dexter dealt in provisions and information, grubstaking others to hopefully get a share of some of their profits. He also taught Native Alaskans how to pan for gold, which led to one of the first main discoveries along Ophir Creek.
Most of the geographic sites with Dexter’s name were likely inspired by him: Dexter Ridge, Dexter Creek, Dexter Peak, Point Dexter, and the small community of Dexter (the endpoint of the Wyatt Earp Dexter Challenge).
Additionally, there have been a few roadhouse/bars named for Dexter, which can get confusing for visitors. Here’s a quick description for sorting them out.
Wyatt Earp ran one of the fanciest bars in Nome in the early 1900s, leaving after a few seasons after making it rich off of the local miners. Dexter Saloon is said to have been named for Dexter Creek. This saloon is no longer standing, but the site is recognized by a sign at its former location, which is now occupied by Nome City Hall.
Historic site near Golovin opened by John Dexter where miners got their supplies and traded information. It’s where the “Three Lucky Swedes” stocked up (on supplies and help) after their big gold discovery on Anvil Creek in 1898. Also where Leonhard Seppala finished his long leg of the 1925 diptheria serum run. This building is still standing in Golovin, and was reportedly boarded up as is, with all its artifacts still inside.
Bar in Dexter, now closed. Located about 5 miles northeast of Nome, this was a favorite local hangout for many years. Because of the similar name, this establishment was often confused with the Dexter Saloon owned by Wyatt Earp.