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Ingvard Berner Sverdrup

Among the first men to arrive in Nome in the spring of I 899 was I. B. Sverdrup, of Valdez, formerly of San Francisco. The people who came down the Yukon over the ice were the first arrivals in that memorable year, but when Mr. Sverdrup landed from the steamer there were not more than ten tents in the camp. Since this early date he has been identified with the Nome country, but has spent most of the winters in San Francisco. He is extensively interested in mining in the vicinity of Nome, owning among other valuable properties, No. 6 Dexter Creek, which he has successfully operated. He was in Nome during the winter of 1902-1903, and took active part in the promotion of out-door sports, being one of the organizers of the ski club. He was prominent in the construction and management of the skating rink. In these enterprises he was prompted by the desire to see the sequestered sojourners of this new Northland provided with wholesome, healthful amusement. Having lived during the days of his boyhood and early manhood in Northern Europe he was familiar with the winter out-door sports in high latitudes, and believed that their introduction in Nome would be beneficial to the "cabin'd, cribbed and confined" miners who were patiently waiting for the long winter to pass. This was the inception of the most popular winter sport of Nome. Men, women and children have learned the art of skiing, and include it in exercise for pastime, or utilize their knowledge of the use of the ski in traveling over the country.

Mr. Sverdrup was born in the northern part of Norway December 24, 1864, and educated at Trondhjeim. His father was a merchant, and the family, which emigrated from Schleswig to Norway in 1 620, is prominent in the political, educational and scientific affairs of Norwegian history. Prof. George Sverdrup helped to frame the Constitution of 1814, and Captain Otto Sverdrup, a cousin of the subject of this sketch, was commander of the Fram in Nansen's first polar expedition. He accompanied Nansen twice in Arctic voyages, and in 1 900 was at the head of an expedition which entered the Arctic region through Baffin's Bay, and is accredited with having accomplished the most valuable scientific work of any of the explorers in the Frozen Sea.

Mr. Sverdrup came to America in 1888, and located in San Francisco, where he conducted a grocery business for ten years. In 1898 he went to Valdez, Alaska, thence to Nome in 1899. He is a courteous gentleman, unvarying urbanity being a conspicuous trait of his character, and is the possessor of those qualities of mind and heart which create the esteem and friendship of those who know him.

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.





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