History

Without a Trace – An Alaska Tragedy

Without a Trace – An Alaska Tragedy

On the east side of Anchorage in the Wonderpark area of town sits a decaying gas station. Time and elements have chiseled away at paint and trim. Vandals have destroyed the showroom windows plus a good portion of the interior. Someone lit a tire on fire in one of the garage stalls blackening the walls. In a few more years I have the nagging suspicion Yeager’s Service Station will be gone without a trace.

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Fleas, Refrigerators and Fur Fish

Fleas, Refrigerators and Fur Fish

Moran made it as far as Juneau where he found an Eskimo who spoke no English. Charlie Pastolik bought the icebox for “$100, two fox furs and a piece of ivory.” But that wasn’t the end of Moran’s Alaskan adventure. In addition to his broadcasts on NBC, he hacked 300 pounds of “Arctic ice” from the Mendenhall Glacier—which was quite a feat since the Arctic Circle was 1,000 miles to the north—and collected two fleas from the back of Pastolik’s husky which he secreted in a matchbox. From Juneau he went directly to Hollywood where he pitched Paramount Pictures on using the fleas in a movie.

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The Master Pilot

The Master Pilot

Troy yelled for me to open the door and jump. Everything was blinding white outside. It was like leaping into a freezer. Wind instantly froze tears in my eyes. Smoke or steam rose from the propeller area and I thought the plane was on fire. Snow quickly came up to my waist and the real possibility of sinking further petrified me. All was quiet except for the wind and popping of our aircraft strobe.

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The Trading Post

The Trading Post

The Trading Post, as it was known from 1935 to the beginning of WWII, bustled with activity when the commissary/grocery store opened in 1936. In that first year only, instead of U.S. dollars the government issued scrip, called bingles, monthly to the new colonists. The amount distributed was based on the size of their family.

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WWII Brings the Military to Anchorage

WWII Brings the Military to Anchorage

“…after the outbreak of the war, a blackout went into effect. Cars drove with parking lights only, and on the base all windows were painted black with only a small slit in the center for daylight. In the face of a shortage of black paint, residents improvised and dissolved phonograph records in acetone and used the result as a paint substitute.”

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Hack! Pack! Crack! Stack!

Hack! Pack! Crack! Stack!

I used a National Guard re-enlistment bonus to buy a new Stihl chainsaw, a peavey, an axe, and a splitting maul. My friends in the National Guard gave me a hard time. They had heard of people re-enlisting to get money to buy a new car but never a new chainsaw.

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Connecting Scammon Bay

Connecting Scammon Bay

  We circled the village of Scammon Bay, which sprawled across a hillside near the Bering Sea coast. The airstrip looked good for landing the Cessna, but I could see people standing nearby. I wondered why they were waiting there. It was July 1972. I led RCA Alascom’s...

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Cold Case McCarthy

Cold Case McCarthy

Graphic words paint an ugly picture through microfilmed newspaper accounts on the demise of Rose Levine-Silberg. The established town ‘prostitute’ was found bludgeoned to death in her combination McCarthy cabin / business called ‘Chili Con Carne Parlor.’

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Sled Dog Mail

Sled Dog Mail

Delivering the mail to Alaska has always presented a formidable challenge to the U.S. Postal Service. Letters, parcels, and supplies from the “Lower 48 states” often took weeks or months to reach their destinations. Steamships transported Alaska bound mail north from...

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Narrow Escape

Narrow Escape

The most publicized Alaskan picture is without a shadow of a doubt, a sled with a dog team pulling it. It is rather fascinating to sit in a sled and ride over a good trail. Many a Cheechako would give a great deal just to own a dog team as a pleasurable hobby. But...

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