The following information is part
of a book called ALASKA's HISTORIC ROADHOUSES, a 1974 publication
(pages 40-49) by the Office of Statewide Cultural Programs, Alaska Division
of Parks, Department of Natural Resources. Many thanks go to its principal
investigator: Michael E. Smith for making this information available.
EARLY IDITAROD TRAIL ROADHOUSES
order of the Alaska Road Commission, the Iditarod trail was surveyed and
blazed by W. L. Goodwin with a crew of nine men and six teams of seven dogs
each. After a voyage from Seattle, they left Nome on November 9, 1910
arriving at Seward on February 25, 1911. The men who established the trail
received $3.50 a day out of which they paid 50¢ a day for food, the same
rates for workers on the Richardson Road. This trail was most heavily
used during the winter, with the mail, medical supplies and other goods delivered
by dog sled. The first mail contract over the Iditarod Trail was awarded
to Colonel H. E. Revelle of Seward in 1914.
Besides surveying and blazing the 958 mile trail, Goodwin was also charged
with locating sites for roadhouses. A log of distances was kept, measured
by attached cyclometers to the sides of the sleds. As most of the distance,
about 180 miles, from Susitna Station to Seward was over the right-of-way
of the Alaska Northern Railway, where roadhouses averaged about 12 miles
apart, part of Goodwin's orders were already fulfilled. Thus roadhouses listed
along the Iditarod Trail are those from Knik to Nome. With the completion
of the Alaska Railroad in 1923, Nenana became the departure point for travelers
heading for Iditarod and Nome. The Iditarod Trail consequently fell into disuse.