He used his paper to write scathing editorials. 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. 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. Wetzler contacted Tom Parson, an agent of the Northern Commercial Company, which contracted to deliver mail between Fairbanks and Unalakleet. The mail route from Nenana to Nome spanned 674 miles (1,085 km) in total. His journey, fraught with white-out storms, was the longest by 200 miles [320 km] and included a traverse across perilous Norton Sound â where he saved his team and driver in a courageous swim through ice floes..  The temperature was â62 Â°F (â52 Â°C). According to Togo's musher, Leonhard Seppala, who was also Balto's owner, Balto was a scrub freight dog that he left behind when he set out on the trip. The position is now known as Leonhard Seppala's Honorary Musher, the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award is given to the musher who provides the best dog care while still remaining competitive, and the Leonhard Seppala Heritage Grant is an Iditarod scholarship. The 1.1 million units had left Seattle on January 31, and were not due by dog sled until February 8. On February 1, the number of cases in Nome rose to 28. As an avid Esperantist, Omelka himself translated it into Esperanto with subsequent translations into German, Dutch, Frisian, Icelandic, Chinese and Japanese being published. The only planes operating in Alaska in 1925 were three vintage Standard J biplanes belonging to Bennet Rodebaugh's Fairbanks Airplane company (later Wien Air Alaska) The aircraft were dismantled for the winter, had open cockpits, and had water-cooled engines that were unreliable in cold weather. 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¦ While the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which runs more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Anchorage to Nome is actually based on the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, it has many traditions that commemorate the race to deliver the serum to Nome, especially Seppala and Togo. From November to July, the port on the southern shore of the Seward Peninsula of the Bering Sea was icebound and inaccessible by steamship. Seppala turned around and reached Ungalik with the serum after dark. Ed Rohn believed that Kaasen and the relay was halted at Solomon, so he was sleeping.  Thompson's editorials waxed virulent against those opposing using airplanes. 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. Shannon and his team arrived in bad shape at 11 am, and handed over the serum. " Because the pictures and video of Kaasen and Balto taken in Nome were recreated hours after their arrival once the sun had risen, speculation still exists as to whether Balto's position as lead dog was genuine, or was staged or exaggerated for media purposes. Gunnar Kaasen and his team became celebrities and toured the West Coast from February 1925 to February 1926, and even starred in a 30-minute film entitled Balto's Race to Nome. All participants in the dogsleds received letters of commendation from President Calvin Coolidge, and the Senate stopped work to recognize the event. Summers arranged for drivers along the last leg, including Seppala's colleague Gunnar Kaasen. After warming the serum by the fire and resting for four hours, Shannon dropped three dogs and left with the remaining 8. In 1899 Alaska, miners have to protect themselves from a phony legal team trying to steal their gold claims. Mayor Maynard proposed flying the antitoxin by aircraft. Gonangnan saw the signs of a storm brewing, and decided not to take the shortcut across the dangerous ice of the Sound. Mushers (in order) and the distances they covered. The team rested, and departed at 2 am into the full power of the storm. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease. 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 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. 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. 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. While no count exists, the estimate based on weight is roughly 125,000 units, enough to treat 4 to 6 patients. The serum arrived on February 15. The U.S. Navy moved a minesweeper north from Seattle, and the Signal Corps were ordered to light fires to guide the planes. Each musher during the first relay received a gold medal from the H. K. Mulford Company. 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. "North to Alaska" is a 1960 hit song recorded by Johnny Horton that was featured in the movie of the same name.  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 Central Park statue of Balto was modeled after Balto, but shows him wearing Togo's colors (awards). Horton died in an automobile accident 5 November 1960 shortly after the song was released. The trip from Nulato to Nome normally took 30 days, although the record was nine. 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). (pp47â48) Realizing that an epidemic was imminent, that same evening, Welch called Mayor George Maynard to arrange an emergency town council meeting. According to the National Park Service, in 1960 Seppala said: I never had a better dog than Togo. He reached Minto at 3 am, with parts of his face black from frostbite. In New England Seppala's team of Siberian huskies ran in many races, easily defeating the local Chinooks of Arthur Walden. Olsen was blown off the trail, and suffered severe frostbite in his hands while putting blankets on his dogs. 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. He arrived at Bluff on February 1 at 7 pm in poor shape. In 1925, diphtheria swept through the small Alaskan town of Nome. After descending to the next roadhouse in Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen on February 1 at 3 pm. 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. They took the shortcut across the Norton Sound, and headed toward Shaktoolik. Not the least of which: Balto is limited to seconds on screen. Margaret Curran from the Solomon roadhouse was infected, which raised fears that the disease might spread from patrons of the roadhouse to other communities.  In all, Kaasen and Balto ran a total of 53 miles (85 km). The death toll from diphtheria in Nome is officially listed as either 5, 6, or 7, but Welch later estimated there were probably at least 100 additional cases among "the Eskimo camps outside the city. Messages were left at Solomon and Point Safety before the lines went dead. 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. In February 1924, the first winter aircraft flight in Alaska had been conducted between Fairbanks and McGrath by Carl Eielson, who flew a reliable De Havilland DH-4 issued by the U.S. Post Office on eight experimental trips. The winds after Solomon were so severe that his sled flipped over and he almost lost the cylinder containing the serum when it fell off and became buried in the snow.  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. 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. " 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. The bass singing portion is done by Rusty Goodman.  Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.. The batch from Seattle arrived on board the Admiral Watson on February 7. The first musher in the relay was "Wild Bill" Shannon, who was handed the 20 pounds (9 kg) package at the train station in Nenana on January 27 at 9:00 pm AKST by night.  The supply was wrapped in glass vials, then padded quilts, and finally a metallic cylinder weighing a little more than 20 pounds (9 kg). The bill allowed private aviation companies to bid on mail delivery contracts. Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Willem Dafoe to star in Disney adventure movie 'Togo' (exclusive)", Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1925_serum_run_to_Nome&oldid=1004401272, Articles needing additional references from September 2020, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2014, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2020, Articles needing POV-check from August 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 2 February 2021, at 12:17. Musher Ed Rohn, who was supposed to take the Serum the final leg into Nome, was asleep expecting Kaasen to be held up waiting out the blizzard. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan sent a letter of recognition to Charlie Evans, Edgar Nollner, and Bill McCarty, the only remaining survivors. The temperature in Nome was a relatively warm â20 Â°F (â29 Â°C), but in Shaktoolik the temperature was estimated at â30 Â°F (â34 Â°C), and the gale force winds causing a wind chill of â85 Â°F (â65 Â°C). Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is a popular tourist attraction in both New York City's Central Park and downtown Anchorage, Alaska, but it was Togo's team who ran the farthest, 260 miles (420 km), while Balto and his team covered 55 miles (89 km). A sixth death, probably unrelated to diphtheria, was widely reported as a new outbreak of the disease. Balto became famous, but the unsung hero was Leonhard Seppala's Siberian Husky, Togo. He arrived at 10 am; both dogs were dead. Forty-three new cases were diagnosed in 1926, but they were easily managed with the fresh supply of serum. 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 ½ days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from a developing epidemic..  Poems and letters from children poured in, and spontaneous fundraising campaigns sprang up around the country. 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 three dogs died shortly after Shannon returned for them, and a fourth may have died as well. 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. The nearest stores of medicine were hundreds of miles away, across the stateâs snowy interior. 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 temperature had warmed slightly, but at â62 Â°F (â52 Â°C), was dropping again. The relay has been immortalized in various media. He also suffered frostbite when he had to use his bare hands to feel for the cylinder. Kaasen was supposed to hand off the serum to Rohn at Port Safety, but Rohn had gone to sleep and Kaasen decided to keep going to Nome. Both dogs collapsed with frostbite, with Evans having to take their place himself pulling the sled. He had previously made the run from Nome to Nulato in a record-breaking four days, won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes three times, and had become something of a legend for his athletic ability and rapport with his Siberian huskies. (footnotes, pp 235, 243). The serum! The serum en route was sufficient to treat 30 people.  Summers' employee, the Norwegian Leonhard Seppala, was chosen for the 630 mile (1,014 km) round trip from Nome to Nulato and back. While not sufficient to defeat the epidemic, the 300,000 units could hold it at bay until the larger shipment arrived. The serum race helped spur the Kelly Act, which was signed into law on February 2.  A previous influenza pandemic of the so-called "Spanish flu" had hit the area in 1918 and 1919 and wiped out about 50 percent of the native population of Nome, and 8 percent of the native population of Alaska. A fifth death occurred on January 30. 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. "(p205) With the report of Gonangnan's progress on January 31, Welch believed the serum would arrive there in February. 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. , There is much controversy surrounding Balto's role in this race and the statue in Central Park. It crossed the barren Alaska Interior, following the Tanana River for 137 miles (220 km) to the village Tanana at the junction with the Yukon River, and then following the Yukon for 230 miles (370 km) to Kaltag. 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.. During the night the temperature dropped to â40 Â°F (â40 Â°C), and the wind increased to storm force (at least 65 mph [105 km/h]). The team ran across the ice while following the shoreline. 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. He was mounted and placed on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Seppala still believed he had more than 100 mi (160 km) to the original relay point in Nulato to go and had raced to get off the Norton Sound before the storm hit. Seppala was not there, but Henry Ivanoff was waiting just in case. Seppala visited Togo, and was by his side when he was euthanized on December 5, 1929 at the age of 16. Despite jogging alongside the sled to keep warm, Shannon developed hypothermia. "North to Alaska" is a 1960 hit song recorded by Johnny Horton that was featured in the movie of the same name. The 1925 Nome Serum Run saved thousands of Alaskans from diphtheria. Between a haunting soundtrack, scenic setting in Nome, Alaska, decent performances by the cast, and script that handles the subject of alien abduction in a serious and severe way, the movie creates a powerfully eerie atmosphere. 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. 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. The wind chill was â70 Â°F (â57 Â°C). The two races follow the same route from Ruby to Nome. Train tours in Alaska can also be combined with car rentals and with bus tours to round out your Alaska travel experience. 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 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." 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