Special moments recalled in Random Anchorage Memories from the early days of our town, up through the 1970s.
“Thank you for these great stories and memories. I truly enjoy Anchorage memories.”
by Becky Leonard
After arriving in Anchorage, I went to the Fur Rendezvous and was looking at all the musher's dogs.
A fellow came up to me, and we engaged in conversation.
I admired and patted his dogs and asked him if he mushed. He grinned and said, “A little.”
As I was leaving, a bystander approached me and asked if I knew George. I said, “George who?” The bystander said, “George Attla. You were just talking to him.”
Later, to my surprise, I learned who he was.
My friend from East high, Bill Anton and I decided we would watch the sled dog races on top of the Seidenverg and Kay's building.
It was cold to say the least and after about a half hour we decided to warm up at Hewitt's drug store on 4th Avenue.
Stiff and cold, and feeling like I was about 90 years old instead of 15, we climbed down off the roof.
We watched all the Rondys from street level after that.
by Helen Hulbert
We used to watch the live coverage of the Anchorage fur Rendezvous sled dog races on our black and white TV.
We cheered for our favorite teams as the sled dogs ran by.
The parade was always fun to watch and wasn't there a spelling bee in the morning? Seems like there was always someone I knew in either the spelling bee or the parade.
Homegrown Anchorage, Alaska fun in the old days!
by Jeff Colwell
My grandfather was a junior engineer on the Panama Canal in the early 1900s. Later, they sent him to Alaska to help complete the Alaska Railroad.
Coming out of Seward as the lead engineer, he had 85 men behind him when he landed at Ship Creek. You could only see three houses in Anchorage at the time.
They named Colwell street on Government Hill after my grandfather.
Born in Kern, Alaska near Alyeska, my father was a locomotive engineer for 36 years with the Alaska Railroad.
I came along in 1950.
Then in 1973 I got a gig going to the airport every night at 10:30 and picking up the NBC Nightly News videotape that came in on Northwest Air for KENI-TV (now KTUU). Satellite delivered television eventually replaced me.
Later, I ran the American Top 40 with Casey Casum for KENI radio for 9 years on Sunday afternoons.
I love Anchorage, Alaska. What a great place to grow up.
by Sam DeLozier
One of the men who worked for my dad John DeLozier at Alaska Towing and Wrecking introduced me to Anchorage motorcycle racing when I was a boy.
Bill was his name and he came from the Southern California desert racing scene. He came to Anchorage in 1969 to work for my dad.
He would go to motorcycle races on the weekends and even took me along one day.
Hooked since day one, my first race bike was a 1966 BSA 442 Victor. A bike I bought from bill.
We would go to different racetracks around Anchorage, but my greatest memories were racing on the mud flats out on Knik Arm off the old Seward highway.
I had some great crashes and I won my first race on a 1970 Husqvarna 250. What a time.
Back in 1975, Binky became an orphaned cub near Cape Beaufort on the North Slope of Alaska.
When Binky came to the Alaska Zoo, Mike of Anchorage Memories went to the Zoo with KTVA channel 11 reported Tom Miller to get video of the cute little polar bear cub.
At the zoo, they let Mike inside a small enclosure with the cub.
“Binky was just this tiny ball of white fur and was very curious about me and my video camera. At one point I sat the camera down on the floor and Binky came up and licked the front of the lens. That remarkable footage became part of the 6 o’clock news.”
Some years later, Mike and his family visited the zoo and went to see Binky, who was now full-grown and weighed 1,200 pounds. Mike remembered Binky, but was sure that Binky didn’t remember him.
“Sitting here with my coffee in hand, I started thinking about a long time ago.
I used to wait in my bedroom until “The Scotty Ferguson Show” would come on the radio on KFQD.
The music was so good, and I really got a kick out of his commercials. There was the soft drink teem, whose jingle I can still sing, and there was “Gerald McBoing Boing”.
I remember when his show ended, Gardner Ted Armstrong would follow. I listened to Ruben Gaines all the time, he had a way of making you feel things were good.
It was a wonderful time to grow up in Alaska.”
Random Anchorage Memories include this one:
“My family enjoyed meals at Gwennies and Nikko Gardens and your interview was interesting.
I didn't know the background of the owner. I remember when the current location of Gwennies was once a Japanese or Chinese restaurant (we lived on Barbara Dr., across Spenard Rd from the current location).
We also used the Mukluk Telegraph to contact friends who homesteaded at Sunshine near Talkeetna.”
You'll enjoy this interview with Gwennie, talking about her Anchorage restaurants.
by Wayne Hearne
Between the years 1966 and 1984, the White Spot Café changed locations at least 3 times.
I first ate there when it was near the corner of 4th and C streets.
The final location I knew of was in the Army recruiting building on 4th and A street.
I would come to town just to eat a perfect burger and fries lunch. If they had moved again, I would park my truck, and walk downtown searching for them. Thank goodness I always found it.
The White Spot has been an Anchorage, Alaska favorite since 1959.
“My father went to Anchorage in the late 40s.
My understanding is he worked on building the railroad. He became an Electrician and opened Anchorage Electric sometime in the 50s. State License #1.
We were raised and lived all those years with this company. Dad did commercial and industrial. Did work on the North Star Elementary school after the earthquake, Elmendorf work and helped electrify villages along the Yukon. As kids and teenagers we often joined him.”
“In 1959-1961 my father was assigned to Fort Richardson.
Around dinner time There was a regular radio program, probably out of Anchorage, that preceded or followed announcements from people on the grid to homesteaders beyond routine contact. “For Bob & Sue on Triple Creek: Arrived safely, baby boy 7 lbs 6, mom doing fine. Home on the 13th.”
I am looking for any details on the program that followed, something like Tales of the Tundra, Jack London-like Sourdough stories, read by a man over a background of Claire d’Lune or other mood music.
Great stories and a favorite memory… can you please provide any details of those programs?”
A Note From Anchorage Memories
The “bush communication” radio program Jim asked about was called “North Winds”.
The show that followed North Winds was hosted by a favorite Anchorage radio personality named Rubin Gaines.
You'll enjoy this look at Anchorage radio personality Rubin Gaines.
And “Peanuts” sent us these Random Anchorage Memories:
“I arrived in Anchorage with my family in the summer of 1961, and we lived on Ft Richardson.
My brother was in the first graduating class at East Anchorage High School in 1962. In the Fall of 1961, East and West double-shifted at Anchorage High School.
My mother worked at the Betty Faris Dress Shop. Access was from the street, but the shop was in the Anchorage Westward Hotel building.
We liked the burgers at Bert's Drugstore and also at A&W in Mt View.”
By David Lucas
I came up to Anchorage with my family (dad, mom, and my sister) when I was 8, by car after an exciting transit of the Alcan Highway.
We arrived in Anchorage on June 20, 1956.
We lived in a small house in Nunaka Valley near DeBarr road and Boniface Parkway.
As I grew older and became a little bolder, and naturally exploring around the surrounding countryside, I and some of my friends discovered a spring to the west of Boniface Parkway, in what, of course is now Russian Jack Park.
Extending our exploration a little further west, we stumbled upon a fascinating place, the City Prison Farm.
Not knowing what it really was, we were timid about revealing our presence there and never did.
On subsequent visits, I confess we may have filched a carrot or potato or two from the fields, even with the prisoners performing their work nearby.
This was probably done, not necessarily for the acquisition of food, but perhaps more for the daring challenge of getting away unseen.
Later the abandoned Russian Jack Prison Farm became a golf course at Russian Jack Park.
“When I was young, I was an avid watcher at the Empress and 4th Ave.
When the Empress closed, and I got a bit older, I added the Denali theater.
The 4th Avenue Theater had Saturday matinées with old black and white western Cliff Hangers.
The Denali always had a double feature.
I loved those Anchorage movie theaters.”
Visit this fun look at Anchorage movie theaters from a past edition of your Anchorage Memories VIP Newsletter and remember when.
“We lived across from Merrill field during WWII, and they were building a new control tower.
We were the last house on 5th Avenue as you were heading toward Mt. View.
The army guards would give us kids an occasional candy bar or comic book and mom would give them a cup of hot coffee. Dad was an Alaska Airlines radio man and worked across the street.
I have some 16mm movies dad took of an airshow where the planes would dive at balloons and break them. Also, a film of a hangar that burned and other things. Those were interesting times, blackouts and all!”
My sister Betty and I attended the Salvation Army Church.
We were “Sunbeams”, which was like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.
I was a student at Denali Elementary school, and in the 2nd or 3rd grade, the Sunbeams were guests on KoKo The KENI Klown Show.
I remember going down the stairs to the KENI TV studio in the 4th Avenue Theater. Not only that, but I remember the lights, boom microphone, cameras and the KoKo the KENI Klown set. It was small.
They interviewed all of us on TV and we watched cartoons.
It was a fun learning experience to see behind the scenes of a TV show.
Everyone there was really nice.”
You can share your short memories of Anchorage with us right here.
If your memories fall within the years of 1915 up through the 1970s, we're interested.
Just include one memory in an email.
You can also attach several pictures to your e-mail.
Remember those little memories of your days in Anchorage, Alaska.
Maybe you went bowling, to see a performance at the Sidney Lawrence Auditorium, enjoyed a favorite restaurant or have fun memories of your neighborhood.
How about your school days, a favorite shop or watching a local show on TV?
Those are perfect memories to share here on this fun page.
“My sister sent me the Anchorage Memories VIP Newsletter a few weeks ago.
And I want to thank you for the connection to my past. I grew up in Anchorage and left for college in 1967.
My last visit to Anchorage was for a West high school class reunion over 20 years ago.
So, thanks for putting all this together.”
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