The Solomon Roadhouse
Solomon Travel Blog› entry 26 of 38 › view all entries
The Solomon area, thirty miles east of Nome, boomed with thousands of people during the gold rush in the summers of 1899 and 1900. Three large dredges worked the nearby Solomon River. The Solomon Roadhouse was built in 1904 when the town had grown by thousands more and boasted seven bars, a ferry terminal, post office, and rail line. In 1913 the rail line was washed out by storms and in 1918 a flu epidemic struck. A school had been constructed in 1940 but World War II saw many families leave the area. The school and post office were closed down in 1956. The Solomon Roadhouse operated until the 1970s. Today, just three families live in Solomon year round. I stopped to explore the proud building on my way out to Council camp to do some more work on our other helicopter.
The front entrance was caved in but a sagging plank was propped to the back door which was wide open and led to the kitchen. The floor was littered with debris but tested solid. Ceiling panels hung loose in random splintered sheets. One white porcelain stove laid on the floor, fallen-over backwards and another squatted beside a wooden countertop of weathered gray boards which supported a sink and several empty drawers with glass knobs. Above the sink, a shattered window provided a clean view to the south - yellow flat tundra that was edged bright green where the Solomon River made an easy meander toward Norton Sound about a mile away.
I made my way into the main room which looked as though it once served as both a general store and a restaurant.
A door led into another room which had two antiquated wringer washing machines. The wind howled through the building too loudly for me to tell if the stairs creaked as I eased to the second level. Several private rooms lined its hallway while a spacious bunkhouse took up the south end - its walls lined with several thin-metal bed frames.
I spent about half an hour exploring the structure that has stood for a hundred and fourteen years. Un-restored, the roadhouse provided a nostalgic and educational peek into one of the bygone eras of the ongoing quest for Alaska gold. The Solomon Roadhouse was nominated into the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.