The Way We Were

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

May 3, 1923

Just after the Sentinel was issued last Thursday, word was received from Washington that the Wrangell breakwater had been included in the federal Rivers and Harbors Appropriation and that $50,000 was available this year. This is the most gratifying news that Wrangell has received lately. The breakwater is something that is most urgently needed, and will be of great benefit. As everyone who lives here knows, the Wrangell harbor opens to the northeast. A very large number of small fishing craft are in the habit of using this harbor during the winter season for lying by, but when high northerly or westerly winds blow the water becomes so rough that they are compelled to put to sea to their great peril and inconvenience. These exasperating conditions will be overcome by construction of the breakwater, which will create a smooth harbor in all winds.

April 30, 1948

Wrangell turned out to cast the highest vote in its history at the primary election held Tuesday. In the Wrangell precinct, 329 votes were cast; and in the Stikine precinct, 64 votes, making a total of 393 votes. When the absentee ballots are counted the figure will probably top the 400 mark. Wrangell’s two candidates for a Southeast seat in the territorial Legislature, Mrs. Doris M. Barnes and James Nolan, are making a showing of which any town can be proud. Mrs. Barnes is more than 400 votes ahead of any candidate on any ticket, having so far 2,680 against J. S. “Sim” MacKinnon of Juneau with 2,219.

May 4, 1973

Construction work on Wrangell’s airport is expected to begin Aug. 1, according to Alaska Public Works Commissioner George Easley. In a letter to Robert Wagnoner, president of Wrangell’s Chamber of Commerce, Easley said no date has been set to call for bids for the project. Although the construction plans and specifications for the airport project are being completed, Easley said advertising for bids will be determined by the availability of the federal funding. State matching funds for the project are available from a bond issue for airport construction approved by voters last year, Easley said. All of the project documents, including the environmental impact statement, have been completed and forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration for processing, the public works commissioner said.

April 30, 1998

Wrangell’s second annual Garnet Festival was a great success, according to coordinator Wilma Leslie, who said the week-long festival had all but one of its scheduled 30 events go on as planned. Large groups of participants attended most of the presentations and activities. On closing day, a large group gathered at Shakes Island where local Native dancers and singers were assembled to welcome the community’s first Native-carved canoe in more than 50 years. Launched for its first water voyage from Shoemaker Bay, the canoe, paddled by John Martin, Bruce Jamieson, Gary Stevens and Tony Marriott, glided into the Reliance dock and over to Shakes Island, using the same path as Tlingit Natives had for hundreds of years before.


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