The Way We Were

May 19, 1921

The U.S. Fisheries Service boat Auklet made an emergency trip to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, during the week for the merchants of Wrangell. The Auklet left here early Saturday morning and returned yesterday morning. Needed supplies such as flour, sugar, eggs and meat were brought back from the Canadian port. Mrs. Neville accompanied Captain Neville on the trip, which was made by special permission of the government. A union strike has stopped loading of ships at U.S. West Coast ports, significantly reducing flow of goods to Alaska. The Northwestern, which has a non-union crew, left Seattle for Alaska at 9 p.m. Tuesday night with 380 passengers and a large quantity of freight. The ship will not stop in Wrangell.

May 17, 1946

The City Council at its last meeting gave city employees a five percent salary increase. Present salaries are as follows: police chief, $210 per month; fire chief, $100 per month; street and water supervisor, building inspector and fire marshal, $273 per month; health officer, $25; librarian, $32.50; city clerk, $250.00; assessor, city attorney and magistrate, $150; light plant superintendent, $341.25; first assistant at the light plant, $275; second assistant, $236.25; common labor and truck drivers, $1.10 per hour. Salaried employees receive two weeks paid vacation a year.

May 21, 1971

Automotive Parts and Equipment Co. of Anchorage will open a branch store in Wrangell in mid-June, a representative of the firm said here yesterday. Jack Bussard, of Ketchikan, sales representative for the chain, said the Wrangell store will carry a full line of automotive, marine and industrial hardware and be located in a store in the Waters Building on Front Street. Jim Wright, a member of the firm’s Ketchikan branch sales staff for the past 2 ½ years, will manage the Wrangell outlet, Bussard said. Automotive Parts and Equipment Co. has outlets in Anchorage, Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Fairbanks, Palmer, Kenai and Seattle. Bussard said the decision to open the Wrangell branch came as a result of expanding mail and phone orders from Wrangell customers.

May 16, 1996

Amid all the high school graduates this month, only one rated her very own ceremony. Clara Benjamin, 85, received her GED last Thursday after two years of studying and 69 years after having quit school because of family obligations. About 60 friends and relatives showed up in the hospital lobby May 9 to watch Mrs. Benjamin accept her diploma. Her son, Bryant, presented her with a sweatshirt proclaiming her one of the “Class of ‘96.” “When I started my senior year at Missoula High School, my mother became ill with polio, so I quit school to care for my two younger brothers,” Mrs. Benjamin said. “Now I realize I should have returned to school later but never thought of it then. … When I was a patient at Wrangell Hospital, Cinda told me about a GED course where I could study to receive a high school diploma.” Mrs. Benjamin added, “I had trouble with math — still my hardest subject.”


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