The town of Iditarod was named after the
Iditarod River. Iditarod comes from the Athabascan word Haidilatna.
On Christmas Day 1908, prospectors John Beaton and W.A. "Bill" Dikeman found
gold on Otter Creek, a tributary to the Iditarod River. News of the find spread
and in the summer of 1909 miners arrived in the gold fields and built a small
camp that was later known as Flat. People and supplies traveled to the gold
fields by boat from the Yukon River, up the Innoko River, and up the Iditarod
River to the current town site, a short walk from Flat.
More gold was discovered and a massive stampede headed for Flat in 1910. The
steamboat Tanana arrived June 1, 1910, and the city of Iditarod was founded as a
head of navigation for all the surrounding gold fields, including Flat,
Discovery, Otter, Dikeman, and Willow Creek. Iditarod quickly became a bustling
boomtown, with hotels, cafés, brothels, three newspapers (only one would last
the year), a Miners and Merchants Bank, a mercantile store, electricity,
telephones, automobiles, and a light railway to Flat.
By 1930 the gold was gone and most of the miners had moved to Flat, taking many
of the buildings with them. Iditarod is now a ghost town. Only one cabin and a
handful of ruins remain, including the concrete bank vault from the Miners and
Merchants Bank. There is no remnant of the bank structure.