Culture on the Last Frontier
The long winter nights were anything but dull in the boom towns of the North. Where entertainments were not available, the gold seekers made their own. Card playing, gambling and story telling filled many miners' evenings. In most towns a few musicians would form a band - no matter what the combination of instruments might be. When music was not an option, the evening might be spent in public readings of books, poetry, or newspapers. In the larger towns, dance halls, theatrical houses or large saloons became the center of activity, with entertainers of various capabilities being brought in for special engagements. Social clubs were formed as soon as a town sprang up. By 1900, Nome had the Knights of Pythias, Masonic Club, Arctic Brotherhood, Elks, Eagles, Nome Cotillion Club, Ladies Aid Society, Pioneer Dancing Club, Pastime Club, Loral Social Club, St. Mary's Guild, Nome Literary Society, 75 Club, Arctic Chiefs and numerous others. Each of these organizations held gala balls, masquerade balls, charity balls, dinners, dances, plays, readings, socials, concerts, Iectures and holiday celebrations. Issues of boom town newspapers were filled with social notes and reports of dinner parties, dances and the opening of new theaters and dance halls.
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