Alaskan Roadhouses

a possible coverMy current writing project is a book chronicling the old roadhouses of Alaska, and I’ve been sharing progress reports at a site I created for the book which is titled, as the book will probably be titled, Alaskan Roadhouses. From the earliest tent-style roadhouses to today’s picturesque roadside lodges, Alaskan roadhouses are a colorful reminder of the state’s past, and many are still an important part of Alaska’s transportation network. With this new book I plan to share the history of these iconic Alaskan structures.

Sourdough RHAs I wrote in a post at the site last week, there is really “no way a complete compilation would ever be possible, as the vagaries of time have swallowed up numerous once notable roadhouses. Trails have been shifted and moved by rivers changing course, or by men doing the same, and the roadhouses have shifted and moved with them. Locations have been reported for many years which eventually proved to be wrong, confusing historians and those who would record the often very sparse details.”

This book won’t be an easy one to research and write, but when it is finished I hope it will prove to be a worthwhile addition to the colorful history of our great state.

 

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About Helen Hegener

I write books about Alaskan history, and titles currently available include Alaskan Roadhouses, The First Iditarod, The All Alaska Sweepstakes, The Yukon Quest Trail, The Matanuska Colony Barns, and others. I am currently researching and writing a book on the early history and construction of the Alaska Railroad. You can contact me via email at helenhegener@gmail.com
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5 Responses to Alaskan Roadhouses

  1. I’m happy you’re writing about these. I’ve been trying to discover information on the one I stayed at for 2 weeks in 1964. It was owned by Al Druckemiller and his wife. Al’s grave site is in Tok. ( http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=29483360) Al and his wife saved my family in the fall of ’64. There is a chapter in my life about them: my memories of their courage, selflessness, hospitality and their “lodge.” In all my searching, I’ve never located their lodge/roadhouse (online.) It’s a mystery for me that perhaps you will solve. Thanks for your work!

    • Helen says:

      Since you posted this last week I’ve been trying to figure out why the name Al Druckemiller was familiar to me, and while going through some old boxes of photos last night I found the answer: We knew Al when we lived in Cordova in 1973. We met him through a friend named Jim Locke, who owned a fishing boat named “Prosperity,” and we spent many hours with the two of them in the Cordova small boat harbor, drinking coffee, mending nets, and sometimes even fishing. Good times, great memories.

      • Oh!!!! And I’ve been working on my story to do with him. I thought I’d write it first person present and I began to recall more. I called up my folks and asked them questions I hadn’t thought of before that and I remembered–I did–his wife’s name was Jean. They are the heroes of this particular episode I’m writing about. I also saw on the net Al and Jean Druckemiller were quoted in Fairbanks paper as the owners of Riverside Inn. But I cannot find the place online. Mom says we went off the Alcan at milepost 41. Dad recalls it as being Milepost 81. I can’t find that either. But perhaps that’s where the Riverside Inn was ???

      • The Riverside Inn was not that huge place…no. It was a two-story place and there was a 200-ft drop off to the river in back of it according to my folks. Rustic like a roadhouse.

  2. Rose Kareem says:

    the riverside lodge is actually no longer in existence. my family and I live on what used to be the property. The lodge was long abandoned when my family bought is, and being in sad disarray, it was torn down and the original building materials used for what are now the family cabins. I have been searching long and hard to find (any!) information on what once was an amazing lodge in a beautiful place, which I now call home. If you know anyone who stayed there (or has any old photos), please let me know!

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