The Double Musky Inn, Girdwood, Alaska

by Michael R Dougherty
(California)

Double Musky Inn

Double Musky Inn

Double Musky Inn


What follows is the true story of how the now world famous Double Musky Inn, a Girdood, Alaska landmark - got it's start.

Julian "Moe" Maule was a huge, ex-lumber jack that my father Ray Dougherty met in Alaska back in the late 1950's and they quickly became best friends.

While Moe was a great big fellow with a booming voice and a robust laugh, my dad was short and stocky. Together, the two made an interesting pair.

One day, Moe bought some land in Girdwood, Alaska, just across the creek from what is now the Mt. Alyeska Resort. But back in the day when Moe purchased his land, there wasn't much there except the tiny town of Girdwood and some cabins.

Moe and my dad both liked to drink and laugh and the two had many adventures while doing both -

After Moe bought his Girdwood property, he decided that because he was once a lumberjack, he could clear the land himself and build a small cabin. My father had worked in his families lumber mill in Northern California, so he had lots of experience cutting down trees as well.

A case or two of beer, some chain saws, and Moe and dad began their adventure.

Then, after the trees were cleared, they needed to remove the tree stumps. My dad thought they were going to wrap a chain around each stump and pull them out with a pick up. But Moe had made other plans.

Moe had purchased a case of dynamite and thought it would be more fun for them if they placed a stick of dynamite under each stump and blew them up, one at a time. So, a drunk Moe, and Ray put a stick of dynamite under a stump, lit the fuse and headed for cover where they could watch the stump get launched into the air.

Somehow, the two drunks managed to survive their adventure, clear the Girdwood property and then build a small cabin.

At one point, our family lived in the completed cabin for several weeks. And each weekend, Moe and his wife and babies would visit.

Later on, when our family moved into our home in Anchorage. Moe and his clan, and my mom and dad, me, sister Anna and brother Tom would all meet up for a Saturday or Sunday at the Girdwood cabin.

One day we arrived at the homestead and noticed a new building sitting on the property, It was about the size of two outhouses.

To learn what the small building was, check out the short, funny video below where I tell the story. You'll be very glad you did. The story continues following the video.


Our story continues -

Some years later, Julian "Moe" Maule decided to build a bar for skiers. He named it the Double Musky Inn.

When you came into the Girdwood area, there was a fork in the road. If you turned right, you headed over a small bridge and on to Mount Alyeska. If you turned left you headed down a road where you'd spot occasional cabins. Moe's Double Musky is located there.

At the fork in the road was a small island with several trees. Moe's first business sign was nothing but an unpainted plywood board nailed to a tree. The following words were hand painted in black. "The Double Musky Inn - Booze, Beans, Bunks"

Oh, and one other thing - I've read stories about where the name "Double Musky" came from, but I know the real story.

One day I asked Moe where he came up with the name. Moe burst out in his characteristic big booming laugh and said "it was from a joke your dad and I came up with. We used to go into bars in Anchorage, go up to the bartender and order a "Double Musky with a beer chaser" said Moe with a big laugh. "But we just invented the name because we wanted to see what the bartender would do."

As Moe continued his story, he said "these bar tenders would say things like "lets see, isn't that a double shot of this, or that, with a dash of this or that." Moe laughed some more and said "it was so much fun when your dad and I would say "yes! That's it!" And these bar tenders would happily start mixing this concoction, serve it to us with a beer chaser and your dad and I would end up drunk from this stuff"

Years later, after our dad had passed away, my mom and I and my brother Tom were more than a little surprised when we learned that the Double Musky Inn had become world famous. I called our sister Anna who still lives in Alaska and said "I heard that the Double Musky Inn has become world famous?" We both knew that our dad would have loved it.

And to think, it all got started when Julian "Moe" Maule and my dad Ray Dougherty got drunk and cleared some land in Girdwood.

Today, the Double Musky Inn hosts a fine restaurant with customers that come from around the world.

If you live in Alaska, or anywhere on planet earth, the Double Musky Inn is a place you really need to include on your "bucket list."

And when you visit the Double Musky, take a moment to look around the place, inside and outside, and remember this story. And as you're sitting at the bar or enjoying your meal, you can smile and think to yourself, "I know the story of how this place got it's start." Or better yet, tell the story to everyone there. I bet they'll love it.

Update

On January 26, 2017 I spoke with Julian Maule on the phone. He will be 87 in May and is doing very well. I told him about this story and he loved it.

Then Julian told me that when it was time to say goodbye to the 2 seat outhouse, he gathered a crowd, put 3 sticks of dynamite on the roof and held them in place by covering them with moss.

Julian lit the fuse and moments later, the dynamite blew the 2 seat outhouse to smithereens to the cheers of the crowd.

Only in Alaska -

By the way, the video you watched earlier in this story, is from a live show I do -

The show is called "Humorous Stories from ALASKA... and beyond" and it's base on my book. You can get my book as a free gift when you join our Anchorage Memories Family.

To get your free book, check out Anchorage Memories Family - you'll be glad you did.

Comments for The Double Musky Inn, Girdwood, Alaska

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A Visit with My Son to The Double Musky
by: Eloise

I won a trip for 2 from Fairbanks to Alyeska for two nights. I took my oldest son with me.

I was told not to miss the Double Musky.

We went as suggested. At the Double Musky we noticed in the other section from where we were seated, was a party that included then Governor Knowles (D).

My son was 18 and most definitely a republican all the way. He had long hair that he kept in a ponytail with a baseball cap on. The 2 of us were seated at a booth near the door. My son informed me he wanted to keep his cap on and was not going to remove it.

It was no disrespect to me or other patrons, only disrespect to Democratic Gov Knowles due to a recent decision he had made and my son very much disagreed with. I had no problem with it although I should have I suppose.

When Gov Knowles left he had to walk by our table. Well you should have seen the look Gov Knowles gave my son. If looks could kill my son would have died right then and there.

After Knowles and his party left, my son made a comment about that look and was pleased about the reaction.

Then he removed his hat and our dinner went on.

Dinner at the Double Musky was delicious by the way!

I will never forget that whole experience. And I highly recommend dinner at The Double Musky.

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Swinging Juke Box
by: Ron

My wife and I would head for Homer once a week, at least twice a month we would stop for dinner. The Top sirloin was the best. I hope the swinging juke box is there. Great place to visit.

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Favorite Place to Eat in Alaska
by: Megan Clapper

My mouth always waters to eat at this wonderful, yummy cool place! Booking a place to stay after is always FUN too!

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Early Alyeska Memories
by: Bruce Ficke

I spent a lot of time at the Double Musky in the 60's until mid 70's.

Had adventures with Julian,Katherine, Suzie,Julie,Danny and young Katherine. Good Friends and lots of fond memories.

Thanks for sharing this, I think Danny and I found the left over dynamite behind the Double Musky. And we used to sneak into the old abandon Tigers Den next door.

Early Alyeska days were great.


A Note from Mike

Bruce, thank you for posting your comment. I skied at Alyeska with Julian (Moe) back in the day of the old Poma lift. My mom and dad were watching us ski and Moe fell.

Later, at the bottom of the hill, my dad said, "when Moe fell, the entire mountain shook."



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