The Way We Were

From the Sentinel 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago

May 25, 1922

Dr. Edward T. Mathes, mayor of Bellingham, Washington, who has been in Wrangell this week, is of the opinion that the biggest thing that Alaska has to sell is her scenery, and that by capitalizing on her scenery the same as done in Europe, Alaska could easily develop a tourist business that would run into millions annually. Since his arrival here, Dr. Mathes has met several old acquaintances. Yesterday he was a dinner guest at the home of his friends, Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Kyle at the Standard Oil Station.

May 23, 1947

Al Ritchie, operator of the Ritchie Transportation Co. on the Stikine River, is “postmaster” of a mail system that probably could happen only on the Stikine. Lone trappers and prospectors along the river get their letters and postcards via the “potato system.” As the riverboat churns up the river and passes some such residence, a deckhand ties the letter or postcard to a potato and heaves it ashore. The “customer” on shore eagerly makes the catch, unties the letter – and is a potato ahead. Observers didn’t report on how the system works in reverse. Anyway, with the rise in airmail rates pending, it is presumed the Ritchie air mail system will also have to go up -- it’ll take two potatoes instead of one. Sort of a potato airmail sandwich.

May 26, 1972

With the prospect of a filling station-garage and car sales complex on the land, councilmen Tuesday voted to move the site of the proposed new city library again. The library, for which the state presumably will provide up to $66,000, has led a peripatetic existence since it was learned last year that state money would be available to build it. Originally the city planned to put the library on two municipally owned lots on the downtown fill area. Then plans were changed and it was decided the facility should go on the site of what is now the Second Avenue playground next to the present library building. Last February, in a surprise move, councilmen again voted for the fill lots and it was decided that was where the library ultimately would be. The council voted 3-2 for passage of a motion that the library site be changed to land now occupied by the old city gymnasium. The city has long been planning to raze the old gymnasium.

May 22, 1997

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced that the beam trawl directed sidestripe fishery in District 8, which opened at 3 a.m. Wednesday, May 21, will close at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 22, unless closed earlier by emergency order. For the May fishing period, the fishery will occur under the following restrictions: Each fisherman shall submit completed logbook sheets with each landing. The sheets will be placed in a sealed envelope provided by the department and stapled to the fish ticket at the time of landing. The department will contact each processor regularly to obtain harvest information by species. Shrimp caught but not landed must be reported on the fish ticket. This includes bycatch discarded at sea, catch not accepted by the processors, and any commercial harvest retained for personal use. Logbooks can be obtained from department offices in Wrangell or Petersburg. A guideline harvest level of 50,000 pounds of sidestripe shrimp will be allowed from District 8. Once it is achieved, additional directed sidestripe shrimp fishing in District 8 will not be allowed until May 1, 1998.


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