The Anchorage I Remember

by Richard Braucht

Providence Hospital Circa 1939

Providence Hospital Circa 1939

My dad was a dozer operator and came to Anchorage in 1940 to work on the Elmendorf expansion.

His plan was to work the one summer then go back to Washington.

He discovered the fishing paradise Alaska is and never left. He wrote to my Mom and said get on the boat (the only way to get there).

I was born in the old Providence hospital in January 1942 when it was brand new.

Due to the population boom, there was a housing shortage in Anchorage, so we spent my first winter in a tent at the tent city where the Lions park is in Mountain View.

Then we bought a house on 13th and F streets.
I could go on and on like this, but instead I’ll list the memories I remember.

My kindergarten friends and I walked from 13th Avenue to Central school on 5th ave in the dead of winter. Quite a trek. No buses, no adults.

Going with my Mom to the Federal building to stand in line to make an out-of-state phone call.

Driving through Elmendorf and Fort Richardson to get to Palmer. Gravel road.

Swimming at the Spa (guest pass only. Membership was too expensive).

Roller skating at the Roller rink on 6th ave.

My delinquent buddies and I were on 4th avenue Saturday afternoon selling Anchorage Times. We also got paid by the bar patrons to wipe the chalk marks off of parked cars that the meter maid put on, so she could ticket them an hour later. That would fund an afternoon at the Empress for Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy and popcorn.

The hardware stores got TV sets before the station was built, and we would stand outside the window and marvel that a picture could be on it.

Mount Spur eruption. Dark as night in the middle of the day. The Anchorage times gave us paper carriers face masks to wear.

Watching the original Loussac auditorium burn down (started by a volunteer fireman who only got paid by the fire).

Hitchhiking to Spenard lake just about every day we could. The whole city was there in warm weather.

We moved to Spenard. Double shifted at Anchorage high while they built East.

I have a ton more, but for now “That’s all folks”.

What are your Anchorage memories?

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