Double Musky Inn
Girdwood, Alaska

by Michael R Dougherty
(California)

What follows is the true story of how the now world-famous Double Musky Inn, a Girdwood, Alaska landmark - got its start.

Julian "Moe" Maule was a huge, ex-lumber jack that my father Ray Dougherty met in Alaska back in the late 1950s, 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 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 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 pickup. 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 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 Inn 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. "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 Moe's 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, Alaska.

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, 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 its start." Or better yet, tell the story to everyone there. I bet they'll love it.

Update

I, last spoke with Julian Maule in 2022 and told him about this story. 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.


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Comments for Double Musky Inn
Girdwood, Alaska

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A Very Different Double Musky
by: Anonymous

From a construction hut.

Julian (Maule) would ski during the day and invite people over for pasta that Kay cooked in her outdoor stump kitchen while Julian poured "double muskies" danced and played the concertina.

Someone had a bright idea and said "you guys should build a restaurant".

The rest of the year we all pitched in to help Eddie Gendzwill and Bill and anyone else with building talent to build the Double Musky.

One problem.

Not enough paying customers...oops!

The 64 earthquake hit.

The ladies of Girdwood pitched in and cooked enough pasta to feed the Road Crew that was brought in to re-do the highway for as long as it took.

Many a polka was danced and many a song was sung as the Double Musky evolved.

Oh, if those walls could talk.

I was there through it all.

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Blueberry Picking and the Double Musky
by: Sena

Don and I learned to go blueberry picking on days that the Double Musky is open, so that we have that guilty pleasure of eating a great meal before heading home.

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Favorite After Skiing Treat
by: Rob

Back in the day I'd be on the first chair on the chair lift at Alyeska in the morning at around 9:30 and Ski till 9:30 at night.

Wore out and hungry I always looked forward to stopping at the Double Musky for a bite before heading back to Anchorage.

It would start something like this;

A pound of peel your own shrimp, followed by a 20 oz. pepper steak, a jalapeño cheese roll and a slice of Double Musky pie.

Sometimes a few of us would show up and there would be enough food on the table to feed a small army with no leftovers.

An almost Chinese style dinner. Help yourself to some shrimp, jambalaya, steak, some of this some of that.

Good times.

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Great Memories
by: David Algarin

Reminds me of the story my Dad told about when we were living on Lazy Mountain.

In the Seaman's old cabin (I was a baby, and Colleen Pettit used to babysit me, but that's another story if you don't know who she is).

He was digging a new outhouse, and got the great idea to "borrow" some dynamite from the Eklutna power project where he was working.

He dug a shallow hole, put the dynamite in, and rolled a huge bolder over it.

When he set the charge... and the bolder disappeared.

He was frantic, not knowing where the bolder had gone! He said he started running around, like a chicken with its head cut off.

Then he then heard a loud thump...

The bolder landed about ten feet from him.

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Memories of the Double musky and Julian and More
by: B.Huntley

Wow! As a youngster in the mid 60s to mid 70s, I remember frequently going to the Double Musky and playing the gut bucket when it was available, eating steaks, and drinking Pepsi.

My father and Julian were pretty darn good buddies, keeping in touch with Julian after he sold the Double Musky, and moved to Washington.

Anyway, 50 years later I remember J. Trautner and his ownership of the old Texaco station out on the highway, Dan Zantek and his wife, and glacier party golf and other goings-on in the area.

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A Half A Roll of TP
by: Michael Garner

Great video Mike!

Moe was ahead of his time, and knew that TP would be important. He started hoarding long before the next pandemic.

Wonderful story, and yes, everyone has to go visit the Double Musky sometime in their life.

One of the finest, and more colorful dining experiences in South Central Alaska.

Thanks for posting this. Cheers!

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Story Telling at its Best!
by: Cindy Pendleton

Mike, you would have so liked my hubby, Bob!

Bob was full of stories like this, Like Bob, you are a master "Teller of Tales".

I am still smiling over this one.

A Note from Mike

Cindy:

Thank you for your kind words.

As you know, I did meet Bob several times when he came to KTVA. He was a very creative man.

This video was shot when I first started telling the story of the Double Musky Inn. I tell the story much better now and there are more laughs.

Thank you

Mike

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Steak Dinner $5.95 and Polka Music
by: J. Trautner

Time: 1969

Place: Double Musky events.

On Saturday night when you walked into the Musky there was a chalk board on your left where you signed your name for a Steak Dinner.

When your name was called, you were given a steak which you cooked on the corner fire place in the main room. Along with your steak, you got french bread and a salad.

While you ate dinner, you were treated to Polka music by Dan Zantek (Polka Dan) who played the Concertina, Herman Hastreiter (The German) who played the Base and at other times the Zither.

Occasionally they had other stand-ins who played the Girdwood Base. This was a one string instrument affixed to the side of a washtub or Garbage Can. Polka Dan and Polka Yashu (John) still play at the October-Fest at Alyeska on occasion.

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Great Memories
by: Anonymous

Used to watch scary movies upstairs when I was a kid, while our parents (all Girdwood locals) would party downstairs in the bar.

I hated the bread because it was spicy, but as an adult I’m sure it’s magnificent.

Can’t wait to go back for a meal some day and relive those old times.

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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. My oldest son with me.

I was told not to miss the Double Musky.

We went as suggested.

Dinner at the Double Musky was delicious.

I will never forget our 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, and at least twice a month we would stop for dinner at the Double Musky.

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 60s until mid 70s.

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 leftover dynamite behind the Double Musky. And we used to sneak into the old abandon Tiger's 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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