The Alaska Film Archives at University of Alaska Fairbanks is preserving the Wally Wellenstein Collection of 16mm films, generously donated by the family of the well-known Anchorage architect.
Wallace J. Wellenstein (1921-2012) was an avid downhill skier, who created the first volunteer ski patrol in the Anchorage area. He enjoyed travel and hunting throughout Alaska. From the 1960s to 1980s, his firm, Wellenstein Architectural Consultants, designed buildings across Alaska, including the Arctic Valley Ski Lodge northeast of Anchorage.
The movies he made were a record of his life in the North, and he shared the films with relatives in Minnesota so that they could follow along in his adventures.
The family of Mr. Wellenstein donated original films as well as digital copies, thereby greatly aiding in the film archives’ mission to make films available for viewing, now and into the future. Original films have been placed in the film archives climate-controlled film vault, and digital files are being maintained according to the library’s digital preservation plan.
The Alaska Film Archives has posted several clips from the collection to its Youtube channel, with scenes ranging from statehood celebrations in 1958 to a variety of Anchorage commercial signs in the 1970s.