in the Nome Census Area
- Area Type
- Place of Interest
- Current Population
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- Community's Judicial District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
Geography and Climate
- Mary's Igloo is located on the northwest bank of the Kuzitrin River, on the Seward Peninsula, northeast of Nome. It lies 40 miles southeast of Teller.
- The climate of Mary's Igloo is both continental and maritime. Temperatures range from -9 to 57 °F; extremes from -65 to 99 °F have been recorded. Annual precipitation averages 11 inches, with 50 inches of snowfall.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Natives of "Kauwerak," as the village was originally called, were Inupiaq Eskimos known as Kauweramiuts. This village was originally located about 15 miles downriver. By 1900, Kauwerak was abandoned, and most Natives moved to Teller or Nome because of the schools and employment opportunities. Some settled at the present site, which they called "Aukvaunlook," meaning "black whale." During the gold prospecting boom, non-Natives renamed the village "Mary's Igloo," after an Eskimo woman named Mary, who welcomed miners, trappers, and other newcomers into her home for coffee. Supplies for the gold fields upriver were transferred onto river boats here. A post office and store were opened in 1901. By 1910, Mary's Igloo had become a large mixed community of Eskimos, white traders, miners, innkeepers, missionaries, and support crews for barges. The flu epidemic of 1918-19 and a tuberculosis epidemic two years later devastated the community. A Catholic orphanage, "Our Lady of Lourdes Mission," was opened at nearby Pilgrim Springs in 1918 by Father Bellarmine Lafortune. A Lutheran orphanage was built at nearby New Igloo. The BIA school closed in 1948 and the Alaska Native school was closed in 1952 for lack of students. The post office and store also closed in 1952.
- Mary's Igloo is a summer fish camp; many traditional villagers live in Teller.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Mary's Igloo
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Number of Commercial Fishing Permit Holders
- Number of Commercial Fishing Permits Issued
- CDQ Participant
- Mary's Igloo can be reached by riverboat in the summer and by trails in winter. Snow machines and dog teams use the established path to Teller.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District