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August & Maria Aalto, August Aalto was born in Tampere, Finland on February 19, 1866. As a young man he was aware of the pressure to join the Russian army. He therefore made his way to China and eventually stowed away on a ship to California, arriving there in April 1887. He found employment with the expanding railroad system.

Maria Nyyssala was born in Lappajarvi, Finland in 1870. In 1891, she came to America, settling first in Eastern Canada where her aunt had a boarding house. She moved on to California where she eventually met August Aalto. They married in 1892 and settled in the small coastal town of Noya, near Fort Bragg. There were quite a number of Finnish people who took up residence in that area. The first three children of Maria and August, Lempi, Ilmi and Helmi were born in Fort Bragg. As the railroad pushed north, so did the Aaltos. They spent several months in the Kent, Washington area where Maria had relatives. In 1898, with the reports of gold in the Klondike, August headed north to Alaska. The family followed and set up housekeeping in Dyea. While there, Hilda, their fourth child was born. They did not stay long in Dyea, but moved to Douglas by 1900. Many other Finns had already arrived in this mining town. August worked as a blacksmith for the Treadwell Mining Company. In the next ten years, by 1910, August and Maria had four more daughters, Impi, Laina, Selma and Lillian. Maria kept very busy caring for her husband and eight children. After the Treadwell Mine ceased operation, August was employed by the Alaska-Juneau Mining Company as a machinist and blacksmith. Gold mining was a big business in this area at that time with mills operating in Juneau and Thane and also in the Berner's Bay area at the Jualin and Kensington mines. The fishing industry was also flourishing with many salmon canneries in the area. Juneau continued to grow as the activity expanded.

The Aalto children were all in the Douglas school system. Lempi, the oldest, at age 19 married Albert Edwards in 1912. Together they had eight children. One daughter did not live past age four however. Ilmi, the only son in the family, attended the University of Washington, graduating with a degree in Engineering. He did not return to Alaska. He later married and made his home in Washington. Three of the Aalto girls went to the Normal School in Bellingham, Washington where they received Teaching Certificates. Helmi and Impi taught school in several Alaska locations, including Douglas. Helmi married Ed Bach in 1925. They remained in Douglas raising their two sons. Impi was teaching in Petersburg when she died suddenly at the age of 41. Hilda attended Wilson Business College in Seattle. She returned to work at Behrends Department Store in Juneau. In 1925, she married Harry Helmes. They spent most of their life together in California. Laina went off to California to attend nursing school. She returned as a Registered Nurse. She worked in the hospital in Sitka and also at St. Ann's Hospital in Juneau. She married Waino Tapani and they made their home in Juneau. Selma did not make use of her teaching certificate. Instead she married Horace Plumb in 1925 and they made their home in the Seattle area. Their family included a son and a daughter. Many years later, during her senior years, Selma returned to the University of Washington to complete work for the degree which she had begun when she was much younger. Lillian, the youngest of the Aalto family worked for Behrends Department Store. In 1929, she and Robert Bonner were married. Robert was employed as a machinist for the A. J. mine. With the onset of the war in 1941, Robert felt he should seek a more stable employment. Many had left the mine. In January of 1942, Robert and Lillian, along with their son and daughter, moved to Seattle.

Maria Aalto passed away in 1946. August lived to the age of 92, spending his last several years living with daughter Helmi and Ed Bach in Douglas. He passed away in October, 1948. Both he and Maria are buried in the Douglas cemetery.


Anton Afric, Douglas Resident, Born in Austria on January 8, 1873, died December 8, 1937. He worked as a miner at the Treadwell Mine and later for the Alaska Juneau Gold Mining Company. He was a member of the Moose and Croation Lodges. An ad in a local newspaper refers to the Africh & Africh (sic) store and residence which he may have operated with his brother John Africh.


Bill & Gloria (Maki) Ahrensfeld, I was born in Diamondville, Wyoming on November 13, 1930 of Finnish parents. I lost my mother to tuberculosis when I was two. My dad and his parents moved to a farm near McCall, Idaho from where I attended a one room school house out in the country. I didn't speak English until the second grade as the first grade teacher was also Finnish. My second grade teacher kept me after school to learn English. To this day I still keep in touch with her.

My dad remarried and his wife didn't treat me well so I ran back to the farm. My grandparents were very poor so they thought about an orphanage for me. My maternal grandmother, Selma Maki, heard about this and she came down to Idaho to get me. We took a bus to Seattle, then caught the old Alaska Steamship Columbia. I arrived in Juneau on July 10, 1939, to a beautiful sunny day. We were met at the Alaska Steam dock by Patsy Ann, the town dog loved by everyone. I used to pet her whenever I saw her.

My grandmother Selma first arrived in Alaska in 1932, heading to Anchorage. She soon moved to Juneau where she was a cleaning lady at a friend's tavern called Matt's Place, located near the Cold Storage. Her two sons, Walter and Russell, worked at the AJ Gold Mine until it closed in 1944. In later years, my Uncle Russell was a projectionist at the 20th Century Theater until he moved to Idaho.

Selma nearly lost her life when a huge dirt slide came roaring across Gastineau Avenue, off Mt. Roberts on November 22, 1936, during a heavy rain storm. She was visiting a friend on Gastineau when the walls started closing in on her. She was very lucky. Matt's Place where she worked was located directly across from the slide so she and other volunteers helped serve food and liquid refreshments to the workers who were digging for survivors.

I lived with my grandmother Selma, her daughter Mary and her husband Bill, plus Walter and Russell on Gastineau Avenue until our home was built on Douglas Island, near the town of Douglas. Selma, or "Aiti" as we called her (Finnish for mother), worked then for the Alaska Laundry. She would walk to work across the Douglas Bridge to Juneau whenever possible.

Selma bought the Douglas beach property for $500 in the 30's. I helped her put in a dirt floor basement and clear many stumps off the land, by hand. She loved to garden, raised vegetables and had raspberry bushes. I would see her puttering in the garden even if it was raining. She was an amazing lady. She became a United States citizen on February 20, 1945.

Winters were very cold and fierce in the 40's. We would get the "Taku" winds that blew from all directions it seemed, but came off the Juneau Ice Field. The salt spray from Gastineau Channel would get so thick on the windows in the winter we could hardly see out. In many winters our water would freeze so we carried water from the neighbors or town. Waiting for the school bus in the winter was no fun. Sometimes they would cancel school and my friend and I would go back to the house and warm our feet in the old oil stove oven! We weren't allowed to wear pants in school, just going there.

There were a lot of Finns living in the Juneau- Douglas area in the 1940's and 1950's. I attended Douglas School until I graduated in 1950. There were eight of us in our senior class and three of us are still living here. Nancy (Niemi) Shanley, who grew up on Douglas Island is still one of my close friends. Our families kept close touch, visiting at a moment's notice as we didn't have phones.

Selma and her son Walter moved to Tenakee. Her reason was to help cure her rheumatism by soaking in the hot springs. It must have helped as she began to attend dances held at the Blue Moon Café. She later developed cancer and she passed away at the Sitka Pioneers Home in 1961.

After graduation, I worked temporarily at the Alaska Coastal Airlines office. While working at the Department of Taxation I met my future husband Bill Ahrensfeld. He had arrived in Juneau on December 10, 1950, being hired by Shell Simmons of Alaska Coastal as a mechanic. The airline operated from the downtown Juneau Seadrome using various aircrafts such as the Lockheed Vega, Bellanca, PBY, and Grumman Goose. They also used a Kingbird which flew to Tulsequah Mine in B.C.

Bill was born in Manhattan, New York on November 19, 1927 to German parents. His grandmother came from Austria. Before coming west he had worked for a sailmaker in City Island, N.Y. and was in the Army in the 40's, stationed in the Philippines. The west called him so he drove from New York to Seattle and worked for Boeing for a short time. He noticed an ad in the paper for a mechanic job in Juneau and was hired immediately.

Bill owned a Cessna 120 when he first arrived in Juneau. He swept me off my feet by giving me my very first plane ride over Mendenhall Glacier! We used to take quick trips to Skagway and on June 2, 1951 we developed there and were married by a commissioner at the Presbyterian Manse.

Since we have been married, we have owned several small planes. Bill has restored both a Super Cub and an Aeronca Sedan. We've flown to many beaches, hiked up on Taku Glacier and visited many communities in Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory and British Columbia.

In 1978, I hiked the Chilkoot trail with our daughter Kayla and friends. It took us 5 days to hike 33 miles and the elevation on the pass was 3550 feet. Scenery was fantastic, but once is enough!

Bill retired from Alaska Airlines after working 42 years as an A and E mechanic. We have raised two children, Kurt Walter and Kayla Miriam. They have blessed us with six grandchildren. Kurt is a civil engineer and lives in Kirkland, Washington and Kayla is an artist and works as a framer in a Juneau gallery. My father passed away in the 40's.

Bill belongs to the Elks and the Eagles and I have belonged to the Gastineau Philatelic Society since 1970. We both belong to the Moose and the Pioneers, for which I was Auxiliary president in 1982. I have been here 61 years and Bill for 50; we are glad that we saw Juneau when it was the small friendly town of earlier years. One thing that will never change is the fantastic scenery of this area, especially in Atlin, B.C. where our log cabin "Huvila" (Finnish for summer place) awaits our return to the shores of the scenic and peaceful Lake Atlin.


Ruth Coffin Allman, Ruth Coffin Allman was born August 17, 1905, in Boston, Massachusetts. She died on September 22, 1989, in Juneau. She was a graduate of the University of Washington School of Music.

Ruth came to Alaska in the early thirties to join her aunt Grace Bishop, who had married Judge James Wickersham. Ruth taught music and art in the Juneau public schools from kindergarten to high school. She was one of the organizers of the first Southeast Alaska Music Festival in 1934. Judge Wickersham died in 1939. In 1949, Ruth married Jack Allman, an early day newspaperman. They set up housekeeping at mining cabins in the bush. Ruth brought her sterling silver and Lenox china, and on the first day of every month the Allmans donned clean wool shirts and socks and dined at a lace covered table to celebrate another anniversary.

Ruth and Jack eventually established Tongass Lodge at Excursion Inlet. There Ruth experimented with Native berry recipes and jams and developed many of her sourdough recipes. She was made an honorary member of the Eagle Clan of the Tlingit, and given the name Kut'aan-Sa-Wu- St'aan which means "waiting for summer to come."

Ruth nursed Jack in the Wickersham residence until his death from cancer in 1953. She again became a caregiver in the 1960s when Mrs. Wickersham was terminally ill. It was then Ruth had to face losing the Wickersham House and breaking up the judge's collection, or finding a way to pay Grace's hospital bills and hold on to what she knew was an important part of Alaska's history.

Out of this dilemma, the House of Wickersham as an historical site was born. She opened the house to paying visitors, set the dining room table with linen and fine china, and served coffee from a family silver service. Ruth made her famous "flaming sourdoughs" from her own starter. For two hours guests were transported in elegance back to a more colorful time as Ruth entertained them with stories of her uncle. Since the judge was active in the early foundation of Alaska's law and education, Ruth's story telling amounted to an oral history of the state.

Ruth enthusiastically shared this living history with thousands of visitors for over 25 years. In so doing, she preserved Judge Wickersham's memorabilia, the largest and finest collection of Alaskana, historical books, diaries and documents as well as early artifacts and treasures dating back to Russian-American days.

In 1961, Ruth was named Juneau's Woman of the Year. The U.S. Coast Guard gave her their special award for "outstanding unselfish voluntary commitment." They also made her an official Coast Guard Mother, which pleased her enormously.

In 1976, Ruth wrote the book "Alaska Sourdough, the Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan." It is a marvel of recipes and anecdotes, lovingly handwritten and illustrated by Ruth herself, and is still one of the top selling Alaska books.

In 1984, the State bought the House of Wickersham, making it Alaska's first historical home. Today the Wickersham Society is the custodian of Ruth Allman's legacy.


Gustaf & Hulda Almquist, My parents, Gustaf Edward Almquist and Hulda Frederika (Welin) Almquist, were born in Sweden. They came to the United States at separate times in 1902, to Ellis Island, New York. My father had relatives living in Connecticut so they were on the East Coast until 1905. The humid weather in the summer bothered my father, so they went to Seattle, Washington, and were married there in 1905. My father was a tailor, having learned the trade in Sweden. Seattle was a comparatively small town at that time. My parents were married for 15 years before I was born, and I am their only child.

I lived with my parents in the Beach Drive home for the first five years of my life and then in 1926, they decided to move to Juneau, Alaska. They had two friends here that influenced their move, Anna Jenson and Ida Foss, who owned the Snow White Laundry which was located on South Franklin Street next to the Juneau Cold Storage. As of this writing in the year 2000, this space is the empty lot on the south side of the downtown parking garage.

We lived in a number of places in Juneau-the first one being the Cliff Apartments, close to where the State Office Building is now. The Sorby Apartments on South Franklin Street was another residence location, and I can remember my father walking me to the Fifth Street School during the Taku wind storms. We had to duck into doorways all the way to escape being blown over during the violent gusts of wind that occurred those days. Before we left Juneau for a few years in 1930, I lived in a house very close to the Fifth Street School. It is still being occupied and is on Seward Street across from the Capitol Building and a couple of houses up the street from the Masonic Temple.

When I was in the fifth grade, my parents decided to go back to Seattle. We returned to our Beach Drive home in Seattle. I graduated from the West Seattle High School in 1938.

My father had already returned to Juneau, so the day after my graduation my mother and I were on a steamship headed for Alaska. I had hoped to go to the U. of Washington, but it was during the Depression and money was scarce so I went to work in the U.S. Forest Service office in the Federal Building as a Clerk-Typist. This was followed by a year with the Federal Disbursing Office and then with the Alaska Game Commission.

In 1938, I met Dean Williams and we started dating. This was an "off and on" relationship for four years after which we became engaged. World War II was on at that time and the Army Signal Corps sent Dean to Nome. After a year, he returned to Juneau and we were married in the Northern Light Presbyterian Church which was then located on the corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets. The wedding reception was held in the Baranof Hotel which was only a few years old in 1943.

The Army reassigned Dean to Juneau so he worked in the Federal Building for a year. At that time, the Alaska Communications System took care of Western Union telegram business in addition to the military communications. We rented an apartment near Ninth Street and lived there for a year before the Army sent Dean out in the Aleutians to Attu and Adak. For economic reasons, I moved back with my parents, who were then living on Distin Avenue (behind the Governor's Mansion). After his Army discharge in December 1945, we moved into our home which we bought from Dean's parents at 1401 Martin Road and are still living at that address in the year 2000.

For the first year of our marriage I did not work. Then when Dean was in the Aleutians I worked for the State Unemployment Compensation Commission (a division of the Department of Labor). In March 1947, I quit working as I was pregnant. Our first child, Janice, was born in 1947 at St. Ann's Hospital (now St. Ann's Nursing Home). A son, Gordon, was born four years later in 1951. I was a "stay-at-home mom" until the fall of 1958, when both children were in school full-time. I applied and got the job as a Secretary for the Juneau Chamber of Commerce who had their office in the Municipal Building at that time. Worked there for a year and then spent one year working for the Boy Scout Office. The following year I went back to the Chamber of Commerce and spent the years from 1960 to 1969 working there. Following this employment, I worked one year for a brokerage firm, First Securities. then back to the Chamber again and was employed by them until 1980, when the visitor information section was transferred to the new Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. I spent ten years with the Bureau as the Volunteer Coordinator (a paid position) until my retirement in 1990, when I reached the age of 70.

Juneau had a population of about 5-6,000 when I first arrived so I have seen many changes over the years. Being a territory, the government entity was very minimal and was housed in a small building on Seward Street (approximately in the location of the Simpson Building where Rainbow Foods is now). The Native children went to the Government School on Willoughby Avenue. I can remember in my grade school days that some of the children would change schools frequently because it was hard to determine just how much the percentage was for each one between the white and native races.

The Taku winds played a big part in the weather during the winter. The gusts were tremendous. Many windows were broken and sand and pieces of buildings were blown down the street. Occasionally, there were injuries during the worst storms. I can remember the snow being piled up in the middle of the street on South Franklin, sometimes six feet or higher. Snow removal then was a far cry from today's efficient operations.

The Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine was in full operation and we liked to see the miners with lamps on their heads coming down the trail from the vicinity of the mill in the evening. Unfortunately, gold was then about $35 an ounce and the mine was a low-grade producer so they didn't make the big money they would have when gold got to around $400 an ounce.

The Mendenhall Glacier area has changed considerably. We used to have picnics about where the Forest Service Observatory is now and the glacier was very close.

The people living in Juneau in the 20's and 30's didn't have the opportunities we have today to live or have cabins on the waterfront-mainly because the road system went only as far as Auke Lake. My parents did have a cabin where the U. of Alaska Southeast is located now with a magnificent view of the Mendenhall Glacier across Auke Lake. The blueberry bushes were thick in that area and my mother loved to pick them and made delicious pies.

Tourists were coming to Juneau at that time on the Alaska Steamship boats such as the Yukon, Baranof, Alaska, etc. and the Admiral Line. Later the Northland Transportation Company added to the fleet of ships with two or three smaller vessels. The gift shops were not visible as they are today, but the Natives would spread their moccasins, totem poles, beaded work, and other handmade items on the wooden sidewalks in front of the stores on So. Franklin Street. A beautiful pair of moccasins could be bought for $7 in the 1920s and the early part of 1930s.

Juneau has been my home for many years and I am glad my parents brought me to this great land when I was a small girl. Living here has been rewarding and I feel I have had experiences that never would have been possible living in another part of the United States


Bert and Gina Alstead, I was born in Juneau on September 14, 1941, two months before Pearl Harbor and the ensuing World War. I was one of three girls born to Eulalia "Pat" Archer and Karl Alstead. Mom came to Juneau during the Depression from Oregon to live with her father's sister, her Aunt Opal and Uncle Bill Douglas and she subsequently met my Dad. He was born in Tacoma, Washington to Norwegian immigrants, Gina and Bert Alstead (changed formally from Alvestad in 1942).

Gina came to Tacoma from Norway to marry Bert Alstead. They had been young sweethearts, and he told me that when he left her in Norway, he wept. But it was three years before he could send for her. The daughter of an itinerant minister who traveled the fjords of Norway, she was 18 when they were married. Her sister, Anna, married Pete Hildre and formed that Scandinavian family unit in Juneau, as well.

My grandfather brought his small family to Juneau in 1918, during World War I to take over a fishing vessel from his brother. When they arrived on a steamship in Juneau, Grandma said she took one look at the rainy, dark, dreary day and told Grandpa she was going right back to Tacoma. But as she said, they stayed. Until his retirement many years later, he fished halibut on his boat the F/V Thelma. Grandmother was a housewife, and they lived in one of the former Kennedy Street mine workers' houses above the Chicken Yard just off of Starr Hill.

Grandma lost several children, and one, Christine, to the 1918 influenza epidemic. Dad's only surviving sibling was my Aunt Judy. She married W.L. "Bud" Nance and together they ran the Five and Dime Store on Front Street for many years, and also the future Juneau Drug Store and Totem Gift Shop. They had one daughter, Lorraine.

Grandma's home was warm and inviting with an oil stove in the living room, a bowl of bread rising next to it and signs of Norwegian handicrafts all around. We spent many hours near the warmth of that stove while she taught Margie and me how to knit. One of Grandma's favorite stories was the time they discovered smoke in their home. It was during prohibition and they had beer brewing in a crock. When the firemen came through the house to attend to the smoke, Grandma stood in front of the crock holding her skirt out to either side to hide the still. The firemen never suspected a thing.

Grandma and Grandpa were both musical. Grandpa enjoyed sitting in his wing-back chair, puffing his pipe, listening to classical music at the radio every Sunday. We were "hooshed" if Margie and I became too noisy. In earlier years, my grandparents rolled back the carpet and provided musical gatherings for young fishermen and
friends. Grandpa played violin and Grandma guitar with their neighbor Mrs. Knute Hildre, who played piano.

During my youth I thought all grandparents sounded like mine, whose words were spoken with heavy accents. I discovered later, when my Mother's mother came to Juneau for the birth of my younger sister Mary, in 1949, that wasn't the case. I still strongly relate foreign accents to my grandparents, who provided profound support to me and to my sisters. They were good people who lived long and full lives in their adopted community while supporting its activities such as the Elks Club, where Grandpa enjoyed playing cards with his cronies, and the Resurrection Lutheran Church, whose lectern Bible bears their names as donors.

My parents, Pat and Karl, met in high school where he was yell king and played the tuba, and she created dance programs and other art work. He boxed groceries at Behrends Department Store and Mom waited tables at Percy's Café. Before she married Dad, Shell Simmons, the future partner with Ben Benecke in Alaska Coastal Airlines, took her up in his plane doing barrel rolls "just to hear me scream," she said. And also to get her to say yes to a date. He helped my parents elope by flying the wedding party to Taku Lodge, and they remained lifelong friends.

After a few years of living in a miner's house farther down Kennedy Street from Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad moved to a two story apartment building on Gold Street across from St. Ann's Hospital and kitty-corner from the teacherage on Sixth Street. We lived above another well known Juneau family, the Doogans. Mom was a housewife who sewed our clothes, as well as her own, and school costumes. She belonged to one of the many sewing clubs popular at that time. She also took us on picnics and berry picking excursions, typed for a poet, and created wonderful winter window decorations for various Juneau businesses during the Christmas holidays. She received many first prizes for her efforts.

Margie and I viewed much of neighborhood life from our upstairs windows. I often watched the nuns walking briskly back and forth between the Cathedral of the Nativity and St. Anns, through the hospital's lawn and vegetable and flower gardens. Once in a while a neighbor boy, Ricky Smith, threw rocks at the crab apple trees so the apples would fall on the street side of the fence. But the groundskeeper, who always seemed to lie in wait, came at us with arms waving, yelling at Rick's attempts. The church bell peeled from the steeple on a regular basis.

The view from the south windows overlooked the Russian Orthodox Church, downtown and the Channel before the Mendenhall Apartments were built on Fourth Street in the early 1950's, blocking our view. Those front windows also provided an eye view of the memorable pulp mill fire, and we watched as large pieces of ash floated over the house. We also ducked when the fighter squadron of P51s that came through Juneau one year flew over town several times and seemingly right at those front windows.

Wood planked sidewalks lined the gravel hills and cross streets. Every foot or so, raised wood pieces were attached to one of the planks to catch descending heels on the steep hills during icy winter conditions. These same hills were roped off for sledding in the winter. The best ride was getting a good start at Seventh Street and sailing down all the Gold Street hills to Second Street yelling "Clear the track!" The momentum gained sent sledders part way up Gastineau Avenue on the other end. When the streets were paved in the early 50's, we roller skated right down the middle of the smooth streets. Biking was much easier, too.

Our family didn't own a car until after I'd left for college, so one of my favorite happenings was when my Uncle Bud and/or Aunt Judy would stop by in their Willie's Jeep to take us for a ride "out the road." They not only took us, but any number of kids we were playing with at the time. Aunt Judy often took us swimming at Lena Beach, and I admired the way she would swim far out and then float and let the tide take her back to shore. She also took us on winter, moonlit nights to ice skate on Auke Lake's dark ice near a bonfire burning on shore.

Our home was very centrally located. It was a block from the then Federal Building, with its busy post office and the Territorial museum upstairs. It was also just a block from the grade and high schools and one block up and one west to the steep steps and narrow path leading down to the Evergreen Bowl where two pools, tennis courts, picnic tables and covered play area were located. I learned to swim there in the small pool. In order to swim in the "big" pool you were required to swim the width of it. Brownie Day Camp was held every summer in the Bowl, as well as end of school and summer church picnics.

On rainy days we often signed ourselves into the hushed museum where, under the watchful eye of the curator, Mr. Keithahn, we marveled at all the mysterious sights. These included the figure of President Lincoln in his top hat sculpted from a log, the many stuffed animals-most especially the bear-and the bright blue trade beads and other native artifacts laying in glass cases.

We also walked to the new Juneau Memorial Library (now the City Museum) where Dale DeArmond helped us find books to read. Before that, the library was housed across the street upstairs in the old City Hall where the kindly, white-haired librarian greeted my mother, Margie and me at story hour. The best part of story hour, though, was afterwards when one of the firemen would slide down the brass pole for us.

Margie and I always looked forward to Dad's return from his long absences on the sea. When we were young, if the fishing season was successful, he brought home gifts. Mom always got a "heads-up" that Dad's boat was headed into town from the local phone operator who, atop "Telephone Hill," commanded a straight-on view of Gastineau Channel. Hearing this exciting news we waited seemingly endlessly until the boat had tied up, unloaded fish at the Cold Storage and Dad finally made it home, lugging his nap sack over his shoulder. Sometimes we dressed up and walked to town past Tlingit women selling moccasins and other crafts, past the noisy, fishy-smelling Cold Storage, and towards the City Dock to meet Dad's boat. We didn't care about his crusty beard or the creosote and fish smell emanating from him. We were just grateful to have him home. It took one harrowing trip through the Gulf of Alaska before he decided to give up fishing. Mom must have been pleased, for she was primarily a single parent most of the time due to Dad's long absences, because in those days, when fishing was so good, boats could be out for months at a time. Dad usually came home on the one day the fleet didn't fish, July 4, which was also his birthday.

In 1955, local town life as we knew it changed when our family moved to a new prefabricated home of our own on Glacier Avenue. That year I attended 8th grade at Mt. Jumbo School in Douglas, part of the new school district consolidation efforts. In 1958, the new high school opened on Glacier Avenue, just a few yards from our home. Prior to that, we walked to the old high school in town. In high school, I enjoyed several traditional activities including the school rally for the first basketball game of the season with a snake dance of students through town and ending in the Evergreen Bowl with a bonfire. I enjoyed participating in choir and with the J-Bird staff and led the Pep Club Drill Team my senior year. Many of us attended the almost weekly school dances with music from a jukebox. A favorite tradition was Senior Sneak day when the seniors picked a day and place before graduation, to play hooky, with the sanction of the administration. I graduated in 1960, in a class of 79, the last one of under 100 students.

I enjoyed high school, forming many friendships that last to today. Those included my future husband, Roger Grummett, whom I met on those bus rides to and from eighth grade in Douglas and for whose team, the "Vampires," coached by Mr. Bill Overstreet, I was one of three cheerleaders. The other two were Kay Ghiglione, whose father was construction engineer for the old Douglas Bridge, and Kay Dilg, whose mother Belle, ran Belle's Café for many years. Roger's father, Stanley Grummett, came to Juneau to work for the mine and to play on their baseball team, and who, in 1933, managed an agency that was to become the Grummett Insurance Agency.

Dad fished with my Grandpa Bert until the 1950's, when he attended school in Washington to receive his master-engineer license. He ran the M/V Grizzly Bear for the Fish and Wildlife Service until his death in 1967. Grandma followed in 1968, and Grandpa in 1972.

When my younger sister, Mary, began school, Mom went to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, eventually becoming secretary to various directors. She remarried after my father's death to Claude Rogers, who was a former bush pilot and road engineer for the federal government. She retired and moved with him to Anchorage and split her time between that town and Yuma, Arizona, until her death in 1991.

My cousin, Lorraine Nance, married Roger Boyden and they became parents of a daughter, Wendy. Tragically, Roger died in a diving accident on Twin Lakes when Wendy was very young. Lorraine's father, Bud, died January 1994, and her mother, Judy, in April 1999. Lorraine married John Lichelot in 1998, in Austin, Texas, where they now reside.

My sister Margie married Air Force Captain Dale Shackelford after meeting him in Brindisi, Italy, where she taught for the U.S. Department of Defense. They settled in his hometown of Fresno, California, where they raised two children, David and Gina. After his early death, she returned to teaching elementary school there.

My sister Mary married Bob Carlton of Yakima, Washington, a widower with three young children, Kristi, Flint, and Shawn. She has worked there for two churches and more recently a health care agency. They now divide their time between Yakima and Yuma, Arizona.

In 2000, Roger and I celebrated 36 years of marriage and living, working and volunteering in this wonderful community our families served so well. We've raised two children, John and Stacy, who've given us three grandchildren, Jack, George and Mitchell. Like their forebears, our children work and reside in Juneau.


George E. Anderson, Douglas Resident, Born in Bodie, California on July 22, 1882, died on January 30, 1901. He moved to Douglas in 1889 when he was six years old. He worked at Trteadwell at the time of his death which was caused by an explosion at the 700 Foot Mine. It was said that his funeral was the largest on Douglas Island. He is buried in Douglas City Cemetery.


Dr. Jacob P. Anderson, Alaska botanist and legislator. Anderson was born at Glenwood, Utah, in 1874 and at the age of two moved to Nebraska. In 1897 he moved to Iowa where he graduated from the State College at Ames. In 1914 he came to Alaska s Special Assistant at the Agricultural Experiment Station at Sitka. He moved to Juneau in 1917 and for many years operated a florist shop and greenhouse. In 1937 and 1939 he served in the House of Representatives of the Alaska Legislature and in 1939 Governor Troy appointed him Director of the Census for Alaska. The University of Alaska honored him with a Doctor of Science degree in 1940. In 1941 Dr. Anderson returned to Iowa state College to become Assistant Curator of the Herbarium. He was Alaska's foremost botanist and wrote extensively on this subject as well as collecting more than 20,000 specimens in the territory. He died at Rochester, Minnesota, February 16, 1953. Mount Anderson - the most northerly peak in the chain extending along the eastern side of Douglas Island, 4.3 miles northwest of Juneau. Elevation 2616 feet. Named for Dr. Jacob P. Anderson.


Nells Anderson and Maria Newman Anderson, Douglas Resident, Born in Ornestaad, Sweden on October 8, 1872, died on July 13, 1928. Hes married Nels Anderson in 1895 and moved to Juneau in 1897 and to Douglas in 1904. Nels worked for the Treadwell as a foreman of the Ready Bullion Mine. He was mayor of Douglas in 1925. Maria Anderson is buried in the Douglas Odd Fellows Cemetery.


Michael B. Archer and Sarah Anne Archer, Douglas Resident, Born in Flintstone, England on 1846, died on October 25, 1904. He was married to Michael B. Archer who was the Treadwell marshall in 1910. She owned a store in Union City which was located west of the current Douglas Bridge. They also had a small dairy in 1903. Sarah Anne Archer is buried in the Douglas City Cemeter

 

 
 

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