Alaska Short Stories

Featuring true life stories, submitted by visitors to Anchorage Memories.

Alaska Short Stories -


Alaska Roads

Lead to Adventure



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Imagine being on the road in the picture above.

It leads to all kinds of adventure in the Great Land known as Alaska. Was your adventure in Anchorage, or was it somewhere else in this amazing state?

Share your real life Alaska short stories by submitting them here right now.




By Michael R Dougherty


With a 16mm film can clutched tightly under my left arm and a 357 magnum in my shaky right hand,

I was ready for action as I nervously made my way to the KTVA channel 11 TV station film processor located in the all but empty basement of what was left of the downtown McKinley building following the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake.


"This is hilarious! Very well written" Karla






Two of the wall hanging clocks were banging against the wall.

So I made my two kids promise not to move and I ran into the living room and put both of the clocks on the floor.

In returning to my doorway I looked out the front window and saw the school across the street going up and down with the ground waves. It was not only amazing but scary for the ground under our house was also doing the same thing.

When the 1964 earthquake struck Cordova, Alaska, the harbor dropped 7 feet.

Richard Hohnbaum was a school teacher and this is his amazing story.






Soon we could hear people shouting in the distance, and everyone knew it was a Musher. No, two Mushers were battling for position.

In 1969, JC Penney's in Anchorage, Alaska sponsored sled dog racing favorite George Attla, "the Huslia Hustler" in his bid to win that year's Fur Rendezvous sled dog race championship... Author Marci Peterson was there.





Ice the Savior

I wedged myself into my bunk and tried to stay in it. My bunk is located fore and aft on the passage way from the galley to the wheelhouse.

Sleep is out of the question.

As the boat climbs a large swell my feet hit the bottom end of the bunk and then when we cascade from the top of the wave to the bottom my head hits the top end of the bunk.

The Captain may be sleeping but I doubt it.

Skip is on watch and hanging on to the wood steering wheel, Johnny is in the galley hanging on to the table.

The marine radio is on and the U.S. Naval Air Station in Kodiak has just stated that the wind speed has reached 128 miles per hour.

This is going to be a very long night.






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The Big Alaska Earthquake

Gary tried to get through the door into the porch adjoining the kitchen. Through the kitchen windows we could see him hanging desperately onto the doorknob.

The door would swing inward, but as soon as he would try to let go and get over to us, the door would swing outward, which it was NOT designed to do! I remember screaming, "Get inside, Gary!"

At first we could see those snowbanks and our car outside of the windows, but just as Gary got inside suddenly we were plunged into blackness.

Then we could see outside again. Daddy yelled that we had been underground.







A real diary

from a trip down the Alcan highway

towing a trailer

from Anchorage, Alaska

to Spokane, Washington


June 25, 1947

Roads are so muddy that we'll be stuck if we hit much of a hill. Boys are at their solitaire again. Just had a blow out in one of our new tires. When off, found the wheel was broken. Gas at Fort Nelson and wheel welded at garage so fixed lunch while waiting.


Hope we never have another muddy hill like we just came over - skidded so - I'm still shaking.






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Your free Anchorage Memories VIP Newsletter brings you monthly nostalgic stories and pictures of Anchorage back in the day. Plus you receive a free Alaska book when you join! Check out Anchorage Memories VIP right now.


My Alaska Commercial Fishing Adventure

By the end of every day, I knew what being tired to the bone felt like. I usually wolfed down some dinner, then headed for my skinny bunk.

One day as we were looking for salmon, the skipper saw a large school and told us to set out the net. But we ended up getting our net snagged on a reef.

Even though it was the skipper's fault, he flew into a rage. And since I was standing in front of him, he reached out, grabbed my shirt, jerked me closer and started to punch me in my face.

I quickly pulled back my fist to defend myself. There I was, just 16 years old, out to sea with no where to go and about to get beaten up by my crazy skipper.








We were near the nonexistent entrance of the boat harbor trying to lasso another boat when the northeastern wave hit us and drove us sideways into the southwestern wave and the combination of two forces generated a giant whirlpool.

We were now going backwards with the main engine in full forward position in this swirling vortex with about a ten degree list. The skipper told me to go down and drive that wedge back into the throttle which I did in record time. The skipper had the wheel hard over to no avail.

There was a red house on the hill just north of the city dock that had been washed from its foundation and was floating along with all the other flotsam only this house had somehow managed to enter the swirling vortex inside of the Fortress.

It started to break up and disappeared right before our eyes. We could look right down into this black hole.






You'll laugh when author Michael R Dougherty and his brother Tom meet two scoundrels from an Alaska fish cannery and a large Halibut nearly sinks their plans to be the next "Kings of Sole".




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Alaska Short Stories


The Great Land, as Alaska is often called, is a vast place with many different people, places and looks.

The beauty of nature is everywhere, and so is adventure, the hardship of living off the land, and the challenge of building a life in the last frontier.

The Alaska Short Stories featured on this page of Anchorage Memories, reflect all that this Great Land has to offer. From those who drove the "Alcan" to come to the 49th state, to people who sought adventure, or imagined building a new business, a new life or making a dream come true.

These stories will take your imagination to new places where you'll experience the Alaska that the authors lived. From the deck of a commercial fishing boat, to riding out the 1964 earthquake and everything in between.

When you read these stories, you'll see what being an Alaskan really means to the people of this special place.

These stories are short and excellent lunch time reads.

So take a few minutes or more and read these Alaska short stories and let the words of the authors transport you to a new adventure in a far off land called Alaska.





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