The Way We Were

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

Feb. 1, 1923

When Charles Gearing and party came down the Stikine last week, they reached the government cabin at the head of the trail, tired and worn out from the trip. It was at night and the weather was cold. Upon entering the cabin they found to their disappointment that there was no stove, so they had to build a fire outside. This week the Wrangell Commercial Club bought a stove for the cabin which will be installed by Mr. Gearing. The Commercial Club will send the bill to the Forest Service and will no doubt be reimbursed for their expenditure.

Jan. 30, 1948

No, the town of Wrangell has not acquired a new fire truck – that is, not unless George Gunderson, proprietor of City Motor Service, has sold the fire department that nice, new fire-engine-red, 1948 half-ton Dodge pickup since this reporter last talked to him. The new Dodge arrived on the Alaska last Friday and the body design has that “new look” of a full-front radiator grill, unlimited visibility and streamlined fenders which form into the doors as new features that look outstanding on the new model.

Feb. 2, 1973

Four persons, three of them children, became American citizens in a brief ceremony conducted Thursday afternoon at the Wrangell High School gym. The naturalization ceremony was attended by students. Annie Marjorie Armstrong of Canada, and Jennifer Jean Riach, Margaret Elizabeth Riach and Ernest William Riach of Korea were the candidates for citizenship. Mrs. Armstrong is the wife of City Councilman R.H. Armstrong and a resident of Wrangell for 21 years, coming here from her native Canada. The Three Riach youngsters are the adopted children of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Riach. Riach is a music teacher at the high school. Presiding Judge Thomas E. Stewart presided at the ceremony, which began with the presentation of the flags of the U.S., the state and the city of Wrangell by the American Legion. The Rev. Rupert Lapthorn of the First Presbyterian Church gave the invocation. Taking note of the students in the audience, Judge Stewart said: “It is fitting that the youth of the community be present to share in this ceremony. The presence of the student body adds greatly to the significance of this hour.” He urged his audience to think of themselves as citizens of the world as well of this nation, as brothers and sisters to all.

Feb. 5, 1998

As Alaska celebrates the 25th anniversary of its marine highway system, the milestone brings back memories to many travelers, Wrangellites, and particularly to those involved in the actual building of the ships. Wrangell’s Willy Eyon was one of these employed as a linesman during the building of the Malaspina, Matanuska and Taku in the Puget Sound Bridge and Drydock Co.’s dock in the early 1960s. According to Eyon, all designs and measurements from the baseline or the center of the ship were done without the use of computers or the advanced technology used today. Eyon said, “Everything was on the floor. I was happy to be a part of the original construction. I think the future of the highway system will include faster ships, especially the inter-island routes. Other parts of the world are already using hydrofoil and hovercrafts. Everyone wants to travel faster.”


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