Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Individuals: People with a Story

People with stories

Dedicated to those individuals whose stories rise above others. Some are heros. Some were visionaries. Some were simply at the right place at the right time. Some were notorious. All have stories that lead color and texture to the region’s history.

EXIT GLACIER: Yule Kilcher

This is Now and That Was Then:  Episode: 4
Relevance: ***

Yule Kilcher arrived in Seward in  the summer of 1938.  Impatient for the steamer that would take him to Kachemak Bay, he decided simply to walk.  Unfortunately, lying between Resurrection and Kachemak Bays was 100 miles and the unmapped, unexplored Harding Icefield.  This episode is framed around a 1992 National Park Service interview with Kilcher.

 

MT ALICE AND EVA

This is Now and That Was Then:  Episode 1
Relevance: ***

This episode introduces many notable personalities including Frank/Mary Lowell, their daughters (Alice and Eva), and John and Frank Ballaine.  The Ballaine brothers were responsible for the creation and development of Seward to be port for the territory. During this episode, Ballaine exclaims that this ‘Gateway to Alaska’ will contain “not less than 500,000 people.”

 

VICTOR CREEK: Harry Johnson, Photographer 

This is Now and That was Then:  Episode 5
Relevance: ***

Harry Johnson was a miner, a trapper, and a hardy outdoorsman. He also was famous for surviving a brutal bear attack. Johnson, however, is best remembered for his historic photography of the territory.

 

MOOSE PASS:  Ed Estes

This is Now and That was Then:  Episode 6
Relevance: ***

This is a story of Moose Pass patriarch, Ed Estes. This episode provides a glimpse into early Moose Pass life. Includes raw, rarely seen 6mm film footage.

A PRECIOUS JEWEL IN OUR RECOLLECTIONS:  President W. G. Harding

The Spaces Between: pgs 134-150
Relevance: ***

This account details President Warren G. Harding’s visit to Alaska. He enjoyed his time spent in Seward and away from the scandals waiting back in Washington. The town absolutely adored the President and were shocked when days later Harding would die from unexplained reasons.

 

 A SATANIC BRAIN AND DEGENERATE MIND:  William Dempsey

The Spaces Between: Pgs 68-83
Relevance: ***

Branded ‘one of the worst criminals in Alaska,’ William Dempsey gained notoriety when he shot and killed Seward Deputy Marshall Issac Evans. The legend deepened as, 20 years later, he escaped from prison never to be seen again.

 

NIGHT PATROL:  Mike Murphy

The Spaces Between: Pgs 214-222
Relevance: ***

When the 1964 Earthquake struck, Alaska State Trooper Mike Murphy was near Hope Jct. He was told to report to Seward and to determine casualties and needs of the community. It required herculean efforts for Murphy to walk / run the distance across broken roads and collapsed bridges. In Seward, he coordinated rescue operations for the community. Four years later he was mortally wounded in Vietnam.

THE SAMURAI MUSHER:  Jujiro Wada

Relevance: ***

Originally from Japan, Jujiro Wada became well known throughout Alaska at the turn of the century as a talented dog musher, knowledgable gold miner, indefatigable runner, and skillful businessman.  Wada, along with Seward’s Alfred Lowell, were tasked with blazing a route from Seward to the Interior gold fields… the route we now call the Iditarod Trail.

 

ALASKA DIGITAL ARCHIVES:  WARREN G HARDING

Relevance: ***

Photos:  Collection of primary source images of Warren G. Harding’s visit to Seward.

 

 NPS:  THE LOWELL FAMILY AND ALASKA’S FUR TRADE INDUSTRY

Relevance:  ***

The life and legacy of Frank Lowell, his family, and the early history of Seward.