Sculptor: Frederick George Richard Roth
Balto, a favorite statue of children in Central
Park has one of the most facinating stories.
In January 1925 Nome, Alaska had a
terrible outbreak of diphtheria. The only
source of anti-toxin serum was Anchorage
which was 1000 miles away. Ice bound,
the city was effectively cut off from the
A train from Anchorage was able to reach
the city of Nenana which was still 667
miles away from Nome.
The only way to deliver the serum was
over the treacherous ice bound tundra
and the only means to this end was with
a musher and a dogsled team.
In blizzard conditions 20 teams with over
200 dogs traveled along the Iditarod mail
route in minus 50 degree temperatures
at roughly 6 miles an hour.
The world followed the events of this trek
to Nome over their radios and in newspaper
It was, however, the last musher, Gunnar
Kasson and his lead dog Balto, a black and
white Alaskan malamute who captured the
world's imagination by racing onward to
the stricken city in a record breaking
five days and seven hours.
Just a few days after the arrival of the
serum the epidemic that claimed five lives
was over. This was a gift of life to the 300
people who were exposed to the disease.
Located next to the Willowdell Arch and
mounted on top of a small rock outcropping,
this harnessed dog with a panting tongue
appeals to children who love to climb up
and sit on his back while their parents take
their photos. Years of stroking and caressing
have created a glowing sheen on his ears,
nose, body and tail. A bas-relief plaque on
the stone below shows the seven sled dogs
on their historic run with the inscribed
words Endurance Fidelity Intelligence.