1955 – 1958


Curry Hotel

As I begin to write this, I find a surprising sting of nostalgia. It's my 57th birthday in 2005; December 10th. Curry was not always a fond time in my life; possibly it's the reminder of the aging process which creates the mix of emotions. I've felt the urge to chronicle my life for years, this is perhaps the best time to start.

Somehow, this seems destined to be a cross between "Fried Green Tomatoes" and the original movie of "The Shining." Human dignity being what it is, it's questionable as to how many stories should be told.

This effort began with the uncovering of an old Alaska Railroad brochure. It had a picture of the original Anchorage Masonic Lodge, on 4th Avenue; the estimated date was the early 1920s. Being a Mason, myself, I scanned it and E-mailed it to the Masonic Grand Librarian, in Anchorage. They were quite glad to get it.

As an afterthought, I offered the original copy to the Alaska Museum of History and Art. It was amazingly well received. A variety of E-mails later, I discovered that Curry was quite the 'special' historical topic to many.

The result was a batch of requests for memories and pictures. Unfortunately, the available pictures simply didn't give an adequate rendering of Curry and its hotel. It can be said that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a creating a sketch can be worth a million memories – begin:

Mrs. Rause – first teacher
Virginia Pine – last teacher
Al and Ruth Yakasoff; daughter Carol – and her two daughters, Connie & Mary
The Kerricks, husband and wife
Hassle family, Laura Lee, the daughter
The Wolfords, Nina, (pronounced Nigh-nah) the daughter
McDonalds, "Mac" being the 'train master' and telegrapher; his wife being the Postmistress – and their daughter Jeanie Allen; with her young daughter.
Mr. George, the power-plant foreman
Jake and Serifa Wright – he was a railroad electrician. (When we left, Jake and Serifa took over the substitute hotel.)
Leo, the Filipino janitor and handyman.
ACS – Andy Anderson, Terry Bruce and Walter Vernon – if I remember correctly – the only ACS names I can remember
Jim and Linda Blakely – the handyman and his Mexican wife – add two young daughters, Christie and Maria.
Linda (Parakeet) the 'other' waitress – with the multi-colored hair
Brooks Family - Betsy, Chris, Jimmy and Scott
Fletchers – daughters Carol and Audrey
Felix family, Jimmy, Douglas and Dolores
The Rogers family – kids - Maryann, Marilee, ____(brother) and Scott
The Nikolai family - Anna, Veronica, and Carly
Johnny Barzoski – part of the transient Bridge-Building gang, Curry's first Scout Master and his Golden Labrador - Queenie.
Reverend Urban a Protestant minister
Margie Meyers – the traveling PHS nurse
Jerry Allen, the conductor
Cliff and Ollie Hudson – never to be forgotten

It should be remembered that Alaska was a Territory, until 1959; the last installment of the proverbial wild-wild-west. It's still America's "Last Frontier." Alaska is a land of extremes. Given that the Aleutian Islands extending into the eastern hemisphere, Alaska is the northern-most, western most and eastern-most state in the USA.

Not that much has changed about Alaska's sociology. Satellite technology has diminished Alaska as a haven for outlaws; that's for sure. Over time, drugs were added to the Alcoholism problem which has been a constant of the Alaskan history. It is still a magnet for the pioneering spirit.

With the oil discoveries, Alaska became one of the biggest of political hot-potatoes. Few appreciate that Alaska was nearly 'sold' to the British Petroleum Corporation, with their nearly successful purchase of the oil companies on the North Slope. With Alaska's economy being 75% oil-related, the proposed mergers would have constituted a 'virtual sale' of the largest State in the USA!

Since its purchase from Russia in 1867, Alaska has always been a political 'hotspot,' whether due to gold, furs, timber, fishing or war. Few remember that Alaska was invaded by the Japanese, during W.W. II. However 'modern' that some Alaskan cities may become, the Alaskan 'bush' will always be the place for the pioneer spirit. Certainly, that was true in the '50s.


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