Random Anchorage Memories

Special moments recalled in Random Anchorage Memories from the early days of our town, up through the 1970s.

George Who?

random anchorage memoriesGeorge Attla and his dog team

“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.”

Becky Leonard


You'll love this fun story about George Attla and the 1969 Anchorage Fur Rendezvous sled dog race.

Take a look at "A Penney's Worth of Mush" and enjoy.

Random Anchorage Memories

My Family History in Anchorage

4th avenueA great place to grow up

by Jeff Colwell

My grandfather was a junior engineer on the Panama Canal in the early 1900s. He was sent 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. Only three houses could be seen in Anchorage at the time.

Colwell street on Government Hill is named for him.

My father was born in Kern, Alaska near Alyeska. he 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.

Remembering Tent City Days

tent city celebrationMary of Anchorage Memories

Back in the early 1990s (or there about) Anchor town decided to remember and celebrate it's humble beginnings.

A new, temporary tent city was created near Ship Creek where visitors walked over sawdust covered “streets” and shopped at their favorite stores, which were set up in tents and other fun looking temporary structures.

The new tent city was a far cry from the crude original town back in 1914, but it was a fun “tip of the hat” to those early pioneers that gave our town it's start.

Visitors to this new “Tent City” enjoyed their day and imagined what it might have been like for those brave souls who helped carve out what would become the modern city of Anchorage, Alaska.


at the Alaska Zoo

polar bear named binkyBinky holding a tennis shoe

Back in 1975, Binky was an orphaned cub who was found near Cape Beaufort on the North Slope of Alaska.

When Binky was brought to the Alaska Zoo, Mike of Anchorage Memories was sent to the Zoo with KTVA channel 11 reported Tom Miller to get video of the cute little polar bear cub.

At the zoo, Mike was let 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 was seen that evening on 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.

Anchorage Radio Memories

anchorage radio memoriesDo you remember?

“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.”


Gwennies, Nikko Garden

and Mukluk Telegraph

gwennie's old alaska restaurantAn Anchorage favorite

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.”  



Take a look at Gwennies Restaurant – In Her Own Words and remember when.

Random Anchorage Memories

He Had

State License #1

4th avenue 19444th Avenue Anchorage circa 1944

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.”


Listening To

Anchorage Radio

chilkoot charlie recording by ruben gainesChilkoot Charlie told by Ruben Gaines

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.


Take a look at Rubin Gaines and Chilkoot Charlie and enjoy.

Random Anchorage Memories

In The First Class

At East High School

front of east anchorage high schoolEast High School, Anchorage

And “Peanuts” sent us these Random Anchorage Memories:

I arrived in Anchorage with my family the summer of 1961, and we lived on Ft Richardson.

My brother was in the first graduating class of 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 burgers at Bert's Drugstore and also at A&W in Mt View.”


Sneaking on to the

Russian Jack

Prison Farm

alcan highway 1956Mom and Dad on the Alcan 1956

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.

nunaka valley subdivision 1956Our Nunaka Valley Home 1956

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 of course, not necessarily for the acquisition of food, but perhaps more for the daring challenge of not getting caught.

Later the Russian Jack Prison Farm was abandoned, and became a golf course at Russian Jack Park.

Random Anchorage Memories


Movie Theaters

first movie theater in AnchorageEmpress Movie Theatre on 4th Avenue

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 matinees 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.

Click on the following link.

Random Anchorage Memories

Merrill Field

During World War II

tower at merrill fieldMerrill Field Tower

Random Anchorage Memories received this from George:

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 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, film of a hangar that burned and other things. Those were interesting times, blackouts and all!”


Being on the

KoKo the KENI Klown

TV Show

tv test patternOld TV Test Pattern

“My sister Betty and I belonged to The Salvation Army Church in Anchorage.

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.

We were all interviewed on TV and got to watch the cartoons.

It was a fun learning experience to see behind the scenes of a TV show.

Everyone there was really nice.”


Share Your

Random Anchorage Memories

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

Click on the following link to get started.

What Are Your Short Anchorage Memories?

You know, those small memories about 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.

Anchorage Memories VIP Club

“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.”



anchorage alaska


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