Lights along Alaska’s coast

The discovery of rich gold deposits in the upper Yukon River in the late 1890s brought a massive rise in the number of ships plying Alaska waters. Especially in Lynn Canal, a part of the Inside Passage. It was a safer route for ships to travel than the open ocean route to the west through […]

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Aunt Phil Alaska history series celebrates 10th anniversary!

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume One made its debut in Anchorage. I remember carrying a proof of the book to gift shops and bookstores in December 2005 to see if anyone wanted to stock my first-ever book on their shelves. To my amazement, just about every shop placed […]

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Gold brings Post Office to Circle City

While the Southeast town of Sitka claims the first U.S. Post Office established in America’s new possession of Alaska in 1867, Circle City – located on the banks of the Yukon River – holds the honor for the first post office in Alaska’s Interior, according to “Directory of Alaska Post Offices and Postmasters.” Circle City’s […]

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Dinosaurs roam Alaska grasslands

My 2-year-old grandson Aiden is crazy about dinosaurs. So much so that we decorated his birthday cake last weekend with small brontosaurus, nanosaurus and T-rex replicas. He received an abundance of dinosaur-themed gifts, too, including dino sippy cups, dino books, dino imprinted T-shirts and a multitude of dinosaur toys. I went to bed Sunday night […]

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Alaska’s first dog team relay run

Did you know, Balto the dog, the four-legged hero who helped deliver the diphtheria serum to Nome, wasn’t the first to make an epic medicine run in Alaska? One of Anchorage’s most respected doctors took on a similar task four years earlier. The year was 1921. Alaska Railroad doctor John Beeson got word that the […]

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Maternity suit ends with wedding bells

Long before marshals and judges brought law and order to Alaska’s Interior districts, miners made a point of policing themselves. When a wrong was perceived, a meeting of miners was called and both the offender and offendee could explain their sides of the matter. Then the miners would render a verdict and carry out the […]

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Archbishop of Vancouver Island murdered near Nulato

When Archbishop of Vancouver Island Charles John Seghers journeyed down the Yukon River in November 1886, he had no way of knowing he would never return to civilization. The Catholic priest, who originally came from Belgium, had spent many years doing missionary work in Canada and Alaska. Seghers first came to Alaska in 1873, as […]

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Give the gift of Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume Five!

Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume Five, the last book in this critically acclaimed Alaska history series, is chock full of stories from the Great Earthquake of 1964. I found true gold last year while sifting through the archives at the University of Alaska Consortium Library – firsthand accounts of people from all of the communities who […]

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Aunt Phil’s Trunk Volume Five is here!

After 10 years of research, the final volume in the Aunt Phil’s Trunk Alaska history series is making its debut this week. Copies now are available on my Website for $19.95, plus shipping – Click Here to Purchase! Volume Five features Alaska’s first 25 years of statehood. And just like the rest of the series, […]

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Anchorage’s first police chief murdered

In an effort to curb rampant crime in Anchorage in the early 1920s, the town’s newly formed city council officially created a police department in December 1920. The council then sifted through many applications, and settled on John “Jack” Sturgus as its first chief of police. The council told him to crack down on gambling […]

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