Tag Archives: anniversary

Happy Marmot Day


Alaska Railroad Centennial

Nenana: Where River Meets Rail, and Past Meets Future”; Charcoal drawing by Noah Nolywaika

2023 is the Centennial year for the Alaska Railroad. U.S. President Warren G. Harding presided over the completion ceremony on July 15, 1923, by driving in the golden spike.

“Alaska Railroad: 100 Years Strong”; Oil painting by William Chase

This past weekend, the annual Alaska Railroad print signing took place at the Anchorage Depot. The tradition of a yearly AKRR print was started back in 1979.

This year, Nenana artist Noah Nolywaika was on hand to sign his charcoal drawing of the Nenana Depot, where the railroad was officially completed 100 years ago. William Chase was also there with his painting of the locomotives throughout the railroad’s history, including Engine No. 1. That historic steam engine now sits outside the historic Anchorage Depot.

Prints and posters are available through the Alaska Railroad’s website.


Happy Winter Solstice

Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives; Photo credit: P.S. Hunt

The above photo was taken at noon of the Winter Solstice in ’98, as in 1898. P.S. Hunt arrived in Alaska that summer from San Jose, California. It would appear that Hunt named the cabin after his previous hometown.


Way to go Chicken!!

The Chicken, Alaska weather station continues to impress. -63F is the coldest I have ever experienced in Fairbanks.

It was -41F at the cabin on Tuesday morning.


“Every Man Knew” by David Conklin; Photo credit: Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

Collision at Bootleggers Cove

Engine #553 meets Engine #901 at Bootleggers Cove

The only head on collision in Alaska Railroad history happened on this date in 1943. The northbound freight train coming up from Seward met the southbound passenger train on its way to Whittier at 8:45 am at Bootleggers Cove, just west of downtown Anchorage. Minor injuries were reported, but no deaths. One rail car partially overturned, but the rest remained on the tracks.

Engine 553 climbs aboard Engine 901

The Cove:

During Prohibition, Anchorage had some strict liquor laws. The new town of Anchorage, was a bit of a pet project for then President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson sectioned off the city in grids and auctioned the parcels off to residents. One catch: If anyone who purchased parcels were caught with alcohol, the parcels would be repossessed. The rail line ran between the new residential area and the tidal flats. There was a cove below the rail and between Chester Creek and Ship Creek that was a favorite landing spot for bootleggers and their booty, because it was out of sight of the authorities. Thus the renaming of the cove to Bootleggers Cove.


First Snow

Sunday brought the first snowfall to the Fairbanks area. That is slightly more than two weeks later than average, and the 6th latest first snowfall in the past 119 years of record keeping. That said, there is no long term trend with the statistic.

The snow falls when it wants to.


Happy Birthday Guadalupe

Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established on this date in 1972. As I’ve said before on here, GMNP is one of my favorite National Parks. My trip there, which involved some serious dirt roading in a ’73 Beetle, was completely spur of the moment and unplanned. I brought back a Bug full of memories when I found this gem in Texas.


’67 Flood

Aerial photo of Fairbanks after the Chena River overflowed its banks

This week is the 55th Anniversary of the Great Flood of 1967 that hit Fairbanks. The first half of August that year saw near continuous rainfall, that eventually was too much for the Chena and Tanana Rivers to hold back.

Downtown Fairbanks in August of 1967

At its peak, 95% of Fairbanks was under water. Over 6000 homes and businesses were a total loss, and as many sustained damage. Eight people lost their lives due to the flooding.


Ten Years of Bearcam

The Katmai Bearcam; Image credit: explore.org

This week is the anniversary of the Katmai Bearcam. It went online 10 years ago as a partnership between The National Park Service and explore.org.

This access to the Brooks Falls Bears has led to the worldwide celebration of Fat Bear Week, and has certainly brought awareness to the rather independent lives of these bears of Katmai.

15,393 people went through NPS orientation at Brooks Falls in 2021. That same year, 10.9 million people tuned into the bearcam online.


Happy 4th of July