The History of Council

Council is located at the terminus of the Nome/Council road, 60 miles northeast of Nome. It lies on left bank of the Niukluk River. It lies at approximately 64 54' N Latitude, 163 40' W Longitude (Sec. 11, T007S, R025W, Kateel River Meridian). The community is located in the Cape Nome Recording District. The area encompasses 22 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.

Historically, this was a fish camp for the Fish River Tribe, who originally lived 12 miles downstream. Council's history is synonymous with the gold rush period. Gold was first discovered in the area by Daniel B. Libby and party in 1897. By 1898, there were 50 log houses. The gold found at Ophir Creek was the second richest claim in the world. During the summers of 1897-99, the population of "Council City" was estimated at 15,000. It had a hotel, wooden boardwalks, a 20-bed hospital, a post office and numerous bars. The discovery of more gold at Nome in 1900 caused many of the boomers to leave Council. However, the population during 1910 was 686. The depletion of gold, the flu epidemic of 1918, the depression, and World War II all contributed to the decline of the population. By 1950, only nine people remained. The post office was closed in 1953. Today, the community is not occupied year-round.

To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online

History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development