Wacky weather warms Alaska winter

The wacky weather across the Continental United States this winter is really crazy. While those who live in the Midwest and East Coast dig out from the 2014 Snowcropolis, Alaskans are seeing one of the warmest January’s on record. And as the thermometer hovers in the mid-40s across much of the state, the melting snow […]

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The Voice of the Yukon

Robert Service would have been the first to call what he wrote verse – and he advised young men to “write verse, not poetry – the public wants verse.” Although this Englishman of Scottish ancestry spent most of his life in the New World in Canada, Alaskans adopted the poet of the Yukon, too. For […]

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First Anchorage mayor faced weighty issues

With all the recent talk about the nation’s leading lawmakers, and politics in general, I started thinking about the early movers and shakers in Alaska history. They had huge problems to deal with, too. For instance, Anchorage’s first mayor, elected on Nov. 29, 1920, bore the responsibility of governing a railroad town after five years […]

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Happy Russian Orthodox Christmas!

Many Alaska Native families will celebrate the Russian Orthodox Christmas this next week, beginning on January 7. This observation of Christ’s birth began after Christmas celebrations were banned following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Russian families turned decorating trees and giving presents into New Year’s traditions. Alaska’s First People have a long history with the […]

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Santa visits rural Alaska villages

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a marvelous Christmas with family and friends. Thought you might enjoy this short note about Operation Santa Claus, which began in 1956. Alaska’s Air National Guard received a request from St. Mary’s Mission for toys for its children that year. Spring floods meant a dismal […]

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Aunt Phil’s Trunk Goes Digital!

It’s happened! All four books in the Aunt Phil’s Trunk Alaska history series now are available as e-pubs. It took a lot of research, determination and help from e-book experts, but the series launched as e-books last week.   Anyone interested in the getting the series in e-book formats – including for Nook, Kindle, iPhone […]

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Girdwood settles on Crow Creek

  Kudos to Girdwood! The rustic little ski town near Crow Creek south of Anchorage was named in the top 25 of the World’s Best Ski Towns by National Geographic! Like many of Alaska’s towns, Girdwood can trace its roots to the gold rush era more than 100 years ago. As news of Alaska gold […]

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Trappers help economy throughout Alaska History

Trappers helped to build the economy throughout Alaska history. These adventurous souls didn’t search the creek beds and mountains for golden riches. Instead they chose to make their fortunes through trapping furs. From early in the fall to the close of trapping season in April, many trappers traveled miles and miles of trap lines with […]

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Miners’ Code ruled the Last Frontier

Prior to the arrival of sheriffs and judges to the Far North, a practical application of frontier democracy called the Miners’ Code ruled the Last Frontier. Each camp decided matters of common concern by majority vote and meted out justice to fit the crime. When a situation came along that necessitated a meeting, the miners […]

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Petroglyphs found in Alaska history

Not only is Alaska history steeped in fur trading, whale harvesting and gold mining. It also has drawings on rocks that are usually associated with primitive people in exotic far-away lands. Greek for rock carving, petroglyphs are among many enigmas of science. Because their true meanings are elusive, they remain a mysterious link to a […]

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Alaska military history spurred by WW II

Soldiers who arrived in Anchorage in 1940 had to chop trees and make a space in the wilderness on which to build Fort Richardson. Soldiers can be seen here exercising in front of their tents. This week we give thanks to all the U.S. military folks who served, are serving and will serve in the […]

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Inmate No. 594 has ties to Alaska history

                              Before he became well known around the country, one of America’s most famous prison inmates had ties to Alaska history. He dug gold nuggets out of a mine in Juneau during 1908. But justice proved swift and sure after he […]

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Historian Laurel Bill writes for Alaska Magazine!

Great news – Historian Laurel Bill now will have awesome Alaska history stories appearing in future issues of Alaska Magazine. Her first articles about Alaska Natives appear in the November and December 2013 issues. Several more articles will appear in the esteemed magazine throughout 2014. By Laurel Bill AuntPhilsTrunk@gmail.com Alaska history

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Mother Nature Rocks Alaska’s Past, Shapes Its Future

On April 2, 1836, the whole coast of Southeast Alaska shook when an earthquake triggered a series of waves that threatened to wipe out the entire town of Sitka. It happened near the Feast of the Annunciation. Bishop Veniaminoff, in charge of the Russian Church at the time, ordained, that in order to give thanks […]

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