BALTO'S TRUE STORY

History of the 1925 Nome Serum Run

Balto Seppala Municipal Park



True, it's neither a monument nor a statue, but it was worth including here anyway as a curiosity.  This is the entrance sign for Balto Seppala municipal park in Anchorage, Alaska.  There is nothing particularly special about the park...it is one of the many public-use parks dotted across the Anchorage metropolitan landscape, and has a small gravel parking area and open fields for sports and other forms of recreation.  I thought the sign was interesting for two reasons - firstly (and most importantly) because it is the one municipal park in Anchorage which pays tribute to two heroes of the serum run (the dog Balto, and musher Leonhard Seppala), and secondly, because it happens to share my oft-used online screen name. 


This park is located in a residential section of southwestern Anchorage (near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and accessible from West Northern Lights Boulevard), and is bordered by West 32nd Avenue, Wisconsin Street, Milky Way Drive, and Arcturus Circle.


The Sled Dog Statue In Anchorage - NOT Balto!



I've included this one in order to dispel one of the most frustrating myths held by the general public...the notion that the above-pictured statue portrays Balto.  It most definitely does not.  Not only has one of the forum members of this site confirmed that through conversation with officials of the city of Anchorage, Alaska (where this statue, and its monument, reside), but my own thorough analysis of the statue and monument when I was in Anchorage confirms that fact.  Forum member "Coaster" updated a topic there, about the statue and monument, with this information:

"
Update: I got a response for Anchorage on July 3rd. Below is the response I received:

This is the information I’ve been able to find on the statute at 4th and D Street in Anchorage:

It was sculpted by Jacque and Mary Regat in 1989 and is entitled “Racing in the Footsteps of a Legend”. It was based on a concept by Bill Devine and dedicated to the memory of David Green who was a famous furrier in Anchorage. His store, David Green Master Furrier, is just down the street.

The statute is dedicated to all dog mushers and their heroic dogs. It commemorates Fur Roundezvous, our winter celebration in Anchorage, at which time the World Sled Dog Race is held and the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, which is held in February.
"

Indeed, after a photographic analysis of the statue and monument in May of 2008, here is what I came up with (in addition to the above picture):



Details:

 

 

So, indeed, while the statue does pay tribute to ALL sled dogs and their mushers, it most definitely has nothing specifically to do with the 1925 Nome serum run or Balto.  Even though some Anchorage tourist information (both in print and on the web) makes the claim that the statue is Balto (which does a disservice to the purpose and commemorative effort of the statue and monument).  Located on the north end of the city, in the downtown area, at 4th Avenue and D Street, it also happens to mark the ceremonial starting point of the annual Iditarod dogsled race.  So there is no direct connection to Balto in this statue, nor was it designed to represent him specifically.