Re: Exit Glacier Jukebox now available!

Exit Glacier Header

The Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Kenai Fjords National Park are proud to announce the completion of the Exit Glacier/Kenai Fjords National Park Project Jukebox, available online at http://jukebox.uaf.edu/exitglacier. People who visit the website can access oral, visual and map resources that offer a rich understanding of the history of how people have used Exit Glacier and the Resurrection River Valley.

This project highlights conversations with twenty-three long-term residents of Seward, Alaska about their lives, and traditional activities in the area around Exit Glacier from 1950-1980. The people interviewed are a diverse group, ranging from skiers, hikers and mountaineers, to snowmachiners, hunters, dogmushers, National Park Service managers, and construction workers on the road to Exit Glacier that now provides easy access to the glacier and park nature center. Other topics discussed in the interviews include: life in Seward and how it has changed; the 1964 Earthquake; construction of the road to Exit Glacier; changes in the glacier and the local animal populations; a snowmachine tour operation on Harding Icefield; hunting; and effects of the establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park in 1980.

During the interviews, people used colored pens to mark the areas they used on USGS maps. These maps are visible on this website as interactive Google maps.

Project Jukebox has helped preserve stories from aspects of Seward’s recent history that may not be well-known and have made them accessible to the public. The information discussed in these interviews will be of interest to both local Seward residents wanting to know more about land use activities in their community, as well as to visitors interested in better understanding the community. This project was supported by funding from the National Park Service.

For more information about this project, please contact:
Karen Brewster at the Project Jukebox Office, University of Alaska Fairbanks. karen.brewster@alaska.edu, (907) 474-6672. Shannon Kovac, Cultural Resource Manager, Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward, Alaska. shannon_kovac@nps.gov, (907) 422-0541.

Frederick C. Mears Collection: Alaskan Engineering Commission Photos

Our indexer Ulyana has finished describing all the photos of the Frederick C. Mears Papers, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

The Frederick C. Mears papers include over 500 photographs, with images centered on Alaskan Engineering Commission surveys and construction of the Government Railroad (or Alaska Railroad).  The National Geographic Magazine described Lieutenant Mears as “one of the young veterans of the Isthmian Canal construction.  As superintendent of the Panama Railroad, he relocated and reconstructed a large part of that line and operated it successfully” (“Alaska’s New Railway”, December 1915). The Alaskan Engineering Commission was authorized to proceed with the survey in 1914, and the route was selected by President Wilson in 1915.

The railroad construction in Alaska opened up its resources and provided a transportation venue through the land that was not easily accessible.  The railroad acted as the means of advancing through the Last Frontier, with the visions of economic development, settlement, and agricultural advancement proposed as an agent of change.  The early construction photographs that belong to Frederick C. Mears papers give a glimpse of the impassible terrain and the difficult task ahead.

12 horses moving engine to Riley Creek on hill over tunnel No. 1. (Frederick C. Mears Papers, UAF-1984-75-35)

12 horses moving engine to Riley Creek on hill over tunnel No. 1. (Frederick C. Mears Papers, UAF-1984-75-35)

New exhibits level 2

Check out the new exhibits on level 2!

Don’t forget to check out the film playing on level 3! Courtesy of the Alaska Film Archives.

Re: The Lost Gold Mine of Felix Pedro

Sure, everybody knows that Italian immigrant Felix Pedro (Felice Pedroni) made the gold strike that lead to the founding of Fairbanks, but how many people know that he found–and lost–a gold mine much earlier? While prospecting on the Tanana River,  Felix found gold, marked the spot, and then left in order to get more supplies. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to locate his gold discovery again, in part due to the geographically inaccurate maps available at the time.

To hear this story and to see other cool Golden Days-related exhibits, drop by the UAF Archives, located on Level 2 of the Rasmuson Library.

Nozzling and Shoaling in the Seventymile River Region: the Abraham and Lula Meinzer Photograph Collection

Our indexer Dee has finished describing all the photos of the Abraham and Lula Meinzer Photograph Collection, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

Abraham H. Meinzer (b. 1872) came to Alaska from Sandusky, Ohio, in the spring of 1898 to try his hand at mining.  We get to see nozzling, shoaling, and other hydraulic mining activities throughout in this collection of 46 photographs and real-photo postcards.  Also depicted are animals, cabins, dog teams, and people.

Men and dogs.  (Abraham and Lula Meinzer Photograph Collection, UAF-1995-260-43)

Men and dogs. (Abraham and Lula Meinzer Photograph Collection, UAF-1995-260-43)

I found it unfortunate that Abe is the only person identified in this collection.  We see him all dressed up in a short necktie and high-waisted pants, the fashion of that time.  But I want to know who the man with the bushy moustache is straddling the dall sheep!  And who’s that grinning woman donned in all black, standing outside a cabin in Eagle, Alaska — Lula, could this be you?  Abe lived in Eagle through at least 1914 and married Lula J. Meyers (1876-1968) sometime between 1910 and 1920, but we really don’t get to know them through these images.

What we do see is an important part of Alaska’s history of mining.  Hydraulic mining photos depicting nozzling, shoaling, sluicing, and more await you in this photograph collection.

Nozzling into elevator.  (Abraham and Lula Meinzer Photograph Collection, UAF-1995-260-2)

Nozzling into elevator. (Abraham and Lula Meinzer Photograph Collection, UAF-1995-260-2)

Russian Prince Sells Buildings to Alaska: Alaska Commercial Company Records, the Unalaska Station Legal Papers

Our indexer Dee has finished describing all the photos of the Alaska Commercial Company Records, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

Here we have a collection of seven building sale deeds.  Prince Dimitrii P. Maksutove, representative of the Russian American Company and late governor of the Russian colonies in America, signs and seals building deeds to the individual members of Hutchinson, Kohl and Company.  Alexei Pestchouroff, the commissioner representing the Russian government, conditionally approves the buildings but not the underlying land.

Included in this collection is a list of the seven deeded buildings noting the former function of each structure, with each deed describing the construction material and the approximate dimensions of the buildings.

The company members listed in the deeds are H. M. Hutchinson [Hayward Malcom Hutchinson] of Sitka; William Kohl of Victoria; Leopold Boscowitz of San Francisco; Lewis Sloss [Louis Sloss] of San Francisco; L. Girstle [Lewis Gerstle] of San Francisco; A. Wasserman [August Wassermann] of San Francisco; and John T. Hanson [Johan Hansen] of Sitka.

Hutchinson, Kohl and Company, which became the Alaska Commercial Company, played a remarkable part in the history of Alaska.  For a time, it was known as the Northern Commercial Company; it has been a major retailer for rural Alaska.

List of seven buildings sold to Hutchinson, Kohl and Company by Prince Dmitrii P. Maksutov.  (Alaska Commercial Company Records, UAF-1971-8-1)

List of seven buildings sold to Hutchinson, Kohl and Company by Prince Dmitrii P. Maksutov. (Alaska Commercial Company Records, UAF-1971-8-1)

Tips on preserving family films & photos

Our Library Development Officer suggested this helpful & interesting article from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/booming/tips-on-preserving-family-films-and-photos.html?pagewanted=1&src=recg

Thanks Suzanne! This is a handy resource.

With love and kisses: the Basil Clemons papers

Our indexer Dee has finished describing all the photos of the Basil Clemons papers, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

This is my house party. (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-3)

This is my house party. (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-3)

This collection consists of a mixture of photos and postcards, 130 in all.  Images primarily depict mining, streetscapes, and festive gatherings near Ruby, Long, Iditarod, and Flat, Alaska. There are also scenes of Fort Liscum, Valdez, and Anchorage, Alaska, and some photos taken in Seattle, Washington.

On 47 of the postcards and photos, Basil Clemons wrote personal notes to his family members, many of them written with warm affection and lovingly signed, “with love and kisses.”

I have to confess that I developed a deep fondness for Basil during the indexing of this collection.  Okay, a crush. I have a full-blown Basil crush.  How could I not after spending so much time reading through his loving notes, studying his photos, and then describing all these images photographed through his eyes?

He seemed to quickly immerse himself in the Alaska scene when he arrived in 1909.  He writes of mushing all through the night; he talks politics and the effects of elections on the construction of the Alaska Railroad; he mentions the parties he has attended.  He joined the U.S Army, training at Fort Liscum, and captured scenes of military men and parades, and writes of “Old Glory” and defending freedom against autocracy.

I love a good party, so my favorite images are of the social and civic gatherings he photographed, and they are profuse. He had a lifetime membership to the Arctic Brotherhood, and photographed festive gatherings related to this organization and other fraternal organizations.  There are group portraits taken at the harem-themed party, a necktie-and-apron party, a ship social, and even a “smoker” banquet with men shown sitting around a table, eating and smoking cigars.

I savored my time working on this collection, and fondly referred to my blocks of indexing times as my “Basil dates.” I was impressed with the passion and sense of adventure I imagined he had to have, wandering up to Alaska in his early twenties, traveling around and photographing Alaska natives, ice cutting, dogsled racing — all new and exciting people, events and things that he never saw before, growing up in Ridgeway, Texas.

If I were to write a postcard to Basil, I would express my gratitude and appreciation for the photos he’s left behind, and I myself would sign off with his signature closing, “with love and kisses!”

Ship social in Pioneers' Hall, Anchorage, Alaska.  (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-81)

Ship social in Pioneers’ Hall, Anchorage, Alaska. (Basil Clemons papers, UAF-1994-71-81)

So many trees, so much beauty: the A.C. Kuehl Photographs.

Our indexer Dee has finished describing all the photos of the A.C. Kuehl Photographs, which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives.  Here’s what she says:

During the indexing of this collection, I was on inanimate overload.  Trees, mountains, rivers, roads, more trees, bridges.  What do we have here?  More and more trees.  Oh, look, another.  Give me a living creature, I lamented.  There are very few human life forms depicted in this collection consisting of an album of 60 photographs taken along roadways in Alaska and the Yukon in 1943 and 1944.

This said, looking through these scenic views along the Alaska, Richardson, and Glenn Highways, and views of the Mentasta Lake region, I also felt a profound appreciation and pride for this great state.  This is home to me, and isn’t it a beautiful one? — the mind-blowing mountains, the meandering rivers.

Many photos lured me in, and I was struck by how little of Alaska I’ve actually seen.  This is a place I want to explore!  Camping near the Chickaloon River, bike touring the Glenn Highway: plans I now have to see what I haven’t of this vast state.

Once I got past all the spruce trees, I saw all the beauty this state possesses through these images Alfred C. Kuehl has captured.  What a lovely reminder.

Chickaloon River - Glenn Highway, Alaska.  (A.C. Kuehl Photographs, UAF-2009-1-50)

Chickaloon River – Glenn Highway, Alaska. (A.C. Kuehl Photographs, UAF-2009-1-50)

Alaska Film Archives YouTube Site Surpasses UAF YouTube Site

For a while now, UAF and AFA have been neck and neck as regards the number of subscribers to each site. Today the Alaska Film Archives moved pass UAF with 319 subscribers compared with 318 for UAF. UAF began their YouTube site on February 7,2007, more than two and a half years before AFA began on October 7, 2009. AFA has been well ahead of UAF in the number of views, with UAF having 427,836 views and AFA having 613,561 views. It can be safely said that the Alaska Film Archives YouTube site is the number one site at UAF, and perhaps even in the State of Alaska.