Balto and the Legacy of the Serum Run | From the 1925 “Serum Run” to the Iditarod of Today
"On a visit to Los Angeles, Cleveland businessman George Kimble discovered the dogs displayed in a "dime" museum and noticed that they were ill and mistreated. He knew the famous story of Balto and was outraged at seeing this degradation. He struck a deal with the dogs’ owner, Sam Houston, to buy them for $2,000 and bring them to Cleveland — but Kimble had only two weeks to raise the money. Now there was another race: to save Balto.
A Balto Fund was established. Across the nation, radio broadcasts appealed for donations. Headlines in the Cleveland Plain Dealer told of the push to rescue the heroes. Cleveland’s response was explosive. Schoolchildren collected coins in buckets; factory workers passed their hats; and hotels, stores and visitors donated what they could to the Balto Fund. The Western Reserve Kennel Club gave a much needed financial boost. The people responded generously. In just 10 days the headlines read, “City Smashes Over Top With Balto’s Fund! Huskies to Be Shipped From Coast at Once!”
On March 19, 1927, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland and given a hero’s welcome in a triumphant parade through Public Square. The dogs were then taken to the Brookside Zoo (now the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo) to live out their lives in dignity. It was said that 15,000 people visited the dogs on their first day at the zoo.
Balto died on March 14, 1933, at the age of 14. The husky’s body was mounted and is now housed at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History.”