Solomon’s Unique History
Solomon was settled by Inupiaq Eskimos of the Fish River Tribe and was noted on maps as “Erok” in 1900. Erok was a summer fish camp for the Fish River Tribe and later became a permanent settlement. The original site was situated in the delta of the Solomon River but later moved to a place known as Jerusalem Hill. Solomon was a fast growing community in the gold rush days of 1899 and 1900 when gold fever was the instigation for expansion on the Seward Peninsula. During the big strike for gold there were anywhere from three to seven enormous dredges scouring the Solomon area for the precious yellow metal. By 1904, this gold rush boom town was the supply center for the Solomon River miners, and was the third largest Seward Peninsula town. After the gold mine rush Solomon returned to a predominately Alaska Native community of subsistence reindeer herders and miners.
In 1939, The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was responsible for instructing the children of the Solomon area. The BIA school opened in 1940 and remained in operation until 1956 when administrators closed the facility in a cost saving effort. Many families had moved the surrounding communities in order to continue their children’s education.
Five decades later, the Village of Solomon applied for and received a U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration grant to renovate the abandoned BIA schoolhouse into a viable community center and tourism venture. The Solomon Bed & Breakfast was a remarkable project envisioned by the Village of Solomon’s tribal council, community at large and many individuals. After three summers of renovations the vision came true and opened its doors in 2006.
Things To Do
The Solomon Bed & Breakfast is located near the Iditarod trail between the White Mountain and Safety checkpoints offering a quiet retreat setting with four guest rooms, each with a private bathroom and patio. Guests have access to a state of the art kitchen and dining hall for a continental breakfast. They also have access to wireless internet throughout the building, the barbecue grill and use of the canoes and kayaks.
In the summer, visitors can watch for unique migratory birds int he Safety Sounds/Solomon Delta for magnificent photo opportunities and view historic gold mining dredges around the Solomon area.
In the winter, we welcome the Iditarod fans in March where they’ll enjoy the same quiet retreat setting with access to a satellite phone and daily transportation to and from Nome/Solomon to enjoy local Iditarod festivities. The Bed & Breakfast is open the 2nd Saturday of March for about 10 days.
Last Train to Nowhere
The gold rush during the summers of 1899 and 1900 brought thousands of people to the Solomon area. by 1904 Solomon had seven saloons, a post office, a ferry dock, horse stables, a school house and was the southern terminus of a narrow gauge railroad. The Council City and Solomon City Rail Road intended on laying tracks to the gold mine town of Council but fell 20 miles short of that goal when they went bankrupt in 1907. They did provide limited service to miners in the Solomon River from 1904-1907, with runs from the Bonanza channel to the East Fork of the Solomon River. In 1913, the railroad was washed out by storms and the remains of the train can still be seen in Solomon next to the Bonanza Bridge and is the world renowned “Last Train to Nowhere”.
In 2002 the Solomon Native Corporation partnered with the State of Alaska to apply protective coating to prevent further damage to the steam engines and build a boardwalk so viewers can walk near the historic train engines. The steam engines were originally used in New York City and were barged all the way to Solomon at the turn of the century.
About the Village of Solomon
The Village of Solomon, a federally recognized tribe in Alaska, owns and operates the Solomon Bed & Breakfast. The tribe is governed by a seven member traditional council that conducts tribal government affairs on behalf of their tribal membership. Its primary purpose is to design and implement programs to increase the quality of life and well being of the tribe.