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Iditarod photos: Ghost town of Ophir

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  • Updated: May 31, 2016
  • Published March 6, 2013

Ophir isn't one of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race's bustling checkpoints, though it used to be quite a beehive of activity. Ophir, population 0, took it's name from a nearby placer creek when gold miners swarmed the area just after the turn of the century.

The creek was reportedly named by Bible-reading prospectors for the lost country of Ophir, the source of King Solomon's gold. And many artifacts remain from those gold-mining days of the early 1900s. It was never a big city. According to Wikipedia, Ophir's population peaked at 122 in 1910.

As late as 1949, there were eight mining operations near Ophir, including two dredges. But low $35-an-ounce gold prices winnowed them down to none by about 1955. Some new operations have started in the area more recently, prompted by much higher gold prices.

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