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The Nomes - A Grand Excursion
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Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Well, I figured it was high time I got around to doing what I came back to Animation Source for (and for which I ever came to it in the first place)...sharing my knowledge of the real history and, where possible, tying it in with the Balto cartoon movies!

In this new topic, I shall endeavor to take you all on a grand junketing tour of "the three Nomes", as I call them; i.e. the fictional cartoon Nome (which we see in the Balto movies), the historical Nome (which I have studied and written about extensively), and the modern-day Nome (which I have personally visited and wandered around extensively).

This is going to be a fun topic, with lots of pictures - specifically comparing each Nome to its counterparts (all three where possible, but perhaps only one against another where a third comparative photograph doesn't present). These will not necessarily be exact, place-for-place comparisons either. Some will show you only similar views...perhaps even where the original Spielberg/Amblimation production team (and production designer) drew their inspirations for the first Balto movie, and which later carried over in the sequels (to varying degrees of success).

As the topic develops, I welcome comments, questions and discussion, and hope it will be a merry trip for everyone! Most of it will be posting a little later, but I wanted to get the intro and an enticement up early!

Sooooo...

Image

Above: The present-day sign welcoming visitors to Nome, which sits along Seppala Drive, along the Snake River, from the
Nome "airport" into town. The metal buckets at the feet of the sign are dredge buckets from the belt of a gold dredge.




And, bearing on the photo description above, in case anyone was wondering what sort of "airport" the modern-day Nome actually has (lol), allow me to show you an aerial photograph of the grand hub in all its glory! (That's the town of Nome in the distance, and the Bering Sea and the edge of the Norton Sound off to the right.)

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So...like a Nome raven, keep watching! 8)

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Author:  Balto-the-WOlf-Dog [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

That is neat. I look forward to more, and I look forward to the day I announce on final approch to that airpot's tower as a lisensed pilot in the left seat of a DC-3. Also, if I am correct, nome acctually has two airports, the municiple, which is depicted, and an international further out of town.

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Actually, no. Nome has just the one airport. Apart from a private strip on the edge of town, which looks more like a small plane graveyard than aught else. lol

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Okay...this is going to take a few posts or so to get through, as there are quite a few pics, and some basic info to say about each. Be patient, please, and enjoy.

Note also that, in most cases, what I will be going for is some basic comparative similarities between the three Nomes...views as presented by "camera angles" in the animated movies, as well as photos taken by me of modern Nome (or a few pulled from other sources), and historic photos of Nome from the 1899 through 1925 time period (the Nome Gold Rush through the Serum Run).

In cases where comparisons are drawn, the viewer's perspective (represented either by the "camera" in the movies, or else the cameras in the real photos) might not be exactly the same. In a few cases, it may actually be opposite angles. Sorry about that. I did the best I could. Plus, in most cases, we will not be visiting specific places IN each Nome. This is not a building-to-building tour...rather a look at the Nomes in general (except in a few instances).

Right...now on to it!


A. The "Main Drag"
Historically, the main thorofare of the real town of Nome--both in the past and in the present day--is called "Front Street". That is also the location of the business district of the town (and was, during the gold rush, also the location of the infamous "red light district", which featured all manner of vices...lol). It runs (and ran) parallel to the Nome beachfront, with only a row of buildings separating it from the beach itself (in modern Nome, there is also a seawall, made of granite boulders mined from nearby Cape Nome, underneath the row of buildings fronting the beach. It is meant to keep the business district from flooding during rough weather). In the cartoon version of Nome, that main thorofare is not identified by name. However, since it features so prominently in all three movies, we can presume that it is the same. You will note a few important differences between that unnamed main street in the cartoons, the historic Front Street, and its much wider (and straighter) modern counterpart: a) in the movies, the road is unpaved dirt (and snow & ice during the winter) during the serum run era; b) in the serum run era of the real Nome, Front Street was covered by wooden planking, and was known at the time as a "plank road" (a common means of providing some relief from open ground which could turn into a muddy mire in wet weather, and become a pock-marked, rut-ridden disaster when dry). You can clearly see the planks in most of the photos of Front Street taken after 1901 (when the plank road was installed...which included a raised plank sidewalk on either side...which DOES appear in the movies). More info about plank roads: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plank_road. Historic Front Street, prior to a destructive fire in 1934 (which wiped out a large portion of the old town), was rather crooked and irregular...with buildings jutting out haphazardly and causing it to be narrower in some places than others. c) Front Street in present-day Nome is paved macadam (black top), like most municipal roadways. It is also much wider and straighter than Front Street was in the past.

Here are some visual comparisons of Front Street. Note the similarity in buildings between cartoon and historic Nome! These are grouped in threes - cartoon first, then historical, then modern. With a small separating line between each grouping. Captions are provided, where necessary, for information. (I shouldn't think I need to describe the movie views...lol.)


Image

Image
Above: An elevated view of Front Street, looking northwest, in 1905. Note the planking on the road, and the
slightly-elevated plank walkways. Also note, in the top left corner, you can see just a bit of the Bering Sea!

Image
Above: Modern-day Front Street, looking southeast. The Bering Sea would be off to the right of this photo.






Image

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Above: A view of Front Street in 1900, the second and last year of the Nome Gold Rush. This was before the installation
of the plank road...and I think you can see just why they did install it. Historic accounts talk of men, dogs and
horses being sunk DEEP into the mud, and the road being pock-marked with footprints, hoof prints, and ruts
created by wagon and automobile wheels. In such slick and often gooey, sticky mud, it was often easy to
loose one's shoes, or to slip and take a fall right into the mire. Wagons, carriages and automobiles could
also get bogged down and even hopelessly stuck in the mud, thus becoming a hazard to other traffic.

Image
Above: A view of modern-day Front Street looking northwest.






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Above: As the caption in the photo indicates, this is Front Street on April 21st, 1907. Even in the spring, Nome could get bogged down in heavy snows, and clearing it proved quite a chore!






(continued...)

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Image

Image
Above: A composite, panoramic view (composed of four very-carefully framed, end-to-end photographs) of Nome taken in 1910.
This view looks south, with the Bering Sea to the right.






Image
Above: Mr. Simpson's mail team pulls up to the Nome post office. Next to it is Mr. Gundersen's General Store.

Image
Above: Horse & wagon in front of the Northwestern Commercial Company on Front Street, circa 1905. Note the
alleyway and stacked supplies next to the building. Also note the excellent view of the plank road and elevated plank walkway.

Image
Above: Just off of modern-day Front Street is the Nome Senior Center, a gathering place for Nome's senior
citizens. It is said that one can visit with the old Native Alaskans there when they are having a meal and, with the right
enticements, hear some great stories of the past.






Image
Above: Nome's post office, run by the postmaster, Mr. Conner.

Image
Above: Historic Nome's post office, with the real Balto's team pulled up in front of it for a publicity shot.
Note the basic similarities between this building and the fictional Nome's post office!






(continued...)

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Image

Image
Above: Front Street in Nome after a winter storm, circa 1920s.






B. Other Sections of Nome
Nome was more than just Front Street of course! It may surprise you to learn, however, that historic Nome of the past was actually larger (by much) than modern-day Nome. Even in spite of two devastating fires which ravaged the town (one in 1905, during which much of the damaged section was rebuilt, and another in 1934, when much of the historical sections were destroyed and lost forever), Nome survived. By the end of the gold rush in 1900, however, when thousands of people abandoned Nome, a lot of buildings sat unoccupied and left pretty much as-is, even with much of the furnishings and bric-a-brac abandoned with them. Many Native Alaskans and other Nome citizens simply took up residence in those abandoned buildings, or updated them for other purposes.

Image
Above: Balto negotiates some ice along the Nome waterfront during a race in town.

Image
Above: Arrival of Wilford Hoggatt, governor of the (then) U.S. Military District of Alaska, at the Nome beachfront in late July, 1906.






Image
Above: The boys approach the hospital in town.

Image
Above: The front entrance to Nome's Maynard-Columbus Hospital. This picture
was probably taken around the time of the serum run in 1925.






Image

Image
Above: A dogsled team racing through the streets of Nome, with a double-lead. The dog on the left lead position looks a
lot like the historic Balto, but its markings are a bit different, and the photo has never been identified as showing Balto's team.






(That's all for now...yours truly is a bit tired! Will post more a bit later! And there are more great things to see!)

Author:  Balto-the-WOlf-Dog [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Wow, they acctually kept the archetecture quit accurate. And only one airport huh? Thats intersting, both Flight simulaters I own, both usually very accurate (one even recognizes the building in which Pinnicle Aviation, my flight school, resides) claim there is one. Now im interested. To google!

Edit:
Oh wow. My memory failed. There isnt an international listed, there is a regional, the one you depicted, the one I thought was international, and a muni, the one you mentioned. What threw me off was that your picture depicted a single runway, which is why I identified it as the muni. The international thing was a mixup on my part between international and regional.

Anyway, very interesting. The archetecture shown in the movie is acctually much closer to the period archetecture then I would have imagined. Perhaps they did more research then I gave them credit.

Unfortunately, my experiance with Nome, Alaska in general, and flying in it is entirely simulator based, as of now I have never been to Alaska. However I do have a photography excursion planned for the near future between Nome, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.

Author:  Mighty [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Oh wow, this is quite fascinating! I never realized how similar the backgrounds in the movie were to the real thing.

Author:  Wingrunner [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Those are some pretty cool pictures, Jersey. I really like the ones where you show the cartoon version of the town and then the real town and how similar some of those pictures are.

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Balto-the-WOlf-Dog wrote:
And only one airport huh? Thats intersting, both Flight simulaters I own, both usually very accurate (one even recognizes the building in which Pinnicle Aviation, my flight school, resides) claim there is one. Now im interested. To google!

Edit:
Oh wow. My memory failed. There isnt an international listed, there is a regional, the one you depicted, the one I thought was international, and a muni, the one you mentioned. What threw me off was that your picture depicted a single runway, which is why I identified it as the muni. The international thing was a mixup on my part between international and regional.

Unfortunately, my experiance with Nome, Alaska in general, and flying in it is entirely simulator based, as of now I have never been to Alaska. However I do have a photography excursion planned for the near future between Nome, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.

Never trust a computer program...especially a game. lol That's just like you cannot trust that movie "Fourth Kind". Most Nome citizens hate the way their town and its people are portrayed there, which is not very accurate to begin with. Much less the stuff presented in the movie not being very factual.

"Muni"? Remember, we're not all amateur aviators. lol


Mightybalto1925 wrote:
Oh wow, this is quite fascinating! I never realized how similar the backgrounds in the movie were to the real thing.

In some ways, yes. lol But there are plenty of discrepancies too.


Wingrunner wrote:
Those are some pretty cool pictures, Jersey. I really like the ones where you show the cartoon version of the town and then the real town and how similar some of those pictures are.

Thanks! Well, much more to come!

Author:  Balto-the-WOlf-Dog [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

JerseyCaptain wrote:
Balto-the-WOlf-Dog wrote:
And only one airport huh? Thats intersting, both Flight simulaters I own, both usually very accurate (one even recognizes the building in which Pinnicle Aviation, my flight school, resides) claim there is one. Now im interested. To google!

Edit:
Oh wow. My memory failed. There isnt an international listed, there is a regional, the one you depicted, the one I thought was international, and a muni, the one you mentioned. What threw me off was that your picture depicted a single runway, which is why I identified it as the muni. The international thing was a mixup on my part between international and regional.

Unfortunately, my experiance with Nome, Alaska in general, and flying in it is entirely simulator based, as of now I have never been to Alaska. However I do have a photography excursion planned for the near future between Nome, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.

Never trust a computer program...especially a game. lol That's just like you cannot trust that movie "Fourth Kind". Most Nome citizens hate the way their town and its people are portrayed there, which is not very accurate to begin with. Much less the stuff presented in the movie not being very factual.

"Muni"? Remember, we're not all amateur aviators. lol




I was the one mistaken, the program was correct. Though what you said is true of 99% of games, flight simulators have to be accurate. Like I said, X-Plane is accurate down to the parking spaces used by my flight school at my home municiple.

as far as the airport thing goes, the order of scale, increasing is: Municiple, Regional, International

Muni is shorthand for municiple airport, a small, usually single runway airport that supports small private and charter aircraft. I belive the airport you depicted is regional, but i would have to check. I am also unsure of the support regional airports. The next step up, international, is a massive commerical airport with several runways. They support primarily comercial aircraft, and are generally found in major cities. (LA, San Diego, New York, Anchorage, etc) the only exception to that I know is Palm Springs international, but thats most likely because Palm Springs, though not exactly major, is a massive tourist destination.

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

Balto-the-WOlf-Dog wrote:
...as far as the airport thing goes, the order of scale, increasing is: Municiple, Regional, International

Muni is shorthand for municiple airport, a small, usually single runway airport that supports small private and charter aircraft. I belive the airport you depicted is regional, but i would have to check. I am also unsure of the support regional airports. The next step up, international, is a massive commerical airport with several runways. They support primarily comercial aircraft, and are generally found in major cities. (LA, San Diego, New York, Anchorage, etc) the only exception to that I know is Palm Springs international, but thats most likely because Palm Springs, though not exactly major, is a massive tourist destination.

Just a courtesy note here (no offense intended): it's "municipal". :wink:

Incidentally, this should be of some help if you are that determined to sort out the status of the Nome airport: http://www.airnav.com/airport/PAOM

But let's end that particular discussion. It's kind of off-topic. Thanks!

Author:  BaltoSeppala [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

NewYorkBaltoFan wrote:
The hospital shot may be my favorite. They simplified it a lot but overall they did a good job with it.

As far as the plank road, I knew about it after reading the Cruelest Miles but I always found some humor in it as it reminds me of a boardwalk which is synonymous with warm weather, summer hot spots and not small towns in the northern part of Alaska.

Yeah, the hospital is nice. And you'll see there are a couple of other features of either historic Nome and, actually, MODERN Nome which they incorporated into the fictional cartoon Nome. lol A mish-mosh of the past and present. That's coming...

Plank roads were all the rage in the U.S. in the nineteenth century, and a good part of the U.S. was criss-crossed with them (they are mentioned frequently in the history of the American Civil War...as are the far less-comfortably traveled "corduroy roads"). These were a quick and easy way of laying road before the advent of hot tar macadam (black top). Even though paving existed in urban environments in the nineteeth and early twentieth centuries (those who did so were called "paviors"), it was usually cement walkways rather than roads, which were usually either dirt or cobblestone. It was uncommon in the extreme to see a paved road before the twentieth century. And before that, in the country and rural environments, paving was simply impractical and prohibitively expensive.

Author:  Balto-the-WOlf-Dog [ Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Nomes - A Grand Excursion

JerseyCaptain wrote:
Just a courtesy note here (no offense intended): it's "municipal". :wink:

But let's end that particular discussion. It's kind of off-topic. Thanks!


Noted, my spelling has neer been preticularly good, also I made this post at about 3:00 am.

Anyway, this is really an iteresting topic and I am amazed by just how close the movie has been so far. I kind of assumed the guessed it, but it looks like they did their research

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