The Way We Were

From the Sentinel 100, 7, 50 and 25 years ago

July 12, 1923

The presidential party arrived in Wrangell early Monday morning on the transport Henderson, under a convoy of two torpedo boats. The moment the distinguished visitor stepped onto Grant’s float they were greeted by the reception committee headed by Acting Mayor George H. Barnes. Without any delay, the party marched to the courthouse, where, standing at the foot of the steps, President Warren G. Harding was officially welcomed by the Rev. Robert Joseph Diven. After expressing his pleasure at being in Alaska, and in Wrangell, the president said he was not going to make a speech at this time regarding any proposed measures for Alaska, but would wait until he had seen more and been more fully advised regarding the conditions in the north and the needs of the people here. The keynote of his address was the single word: “Understanding.” He said there were not many troubles, wrongs or evils that could not be remediated by understanding, and that he had come to Alaska as an “apostle of understanding.” Understanding, he said, is what the world and the nation most need. The president expressed his pleasure at seeing the American Legion in evidence, and at the conclusion of his remarks there was prolonged applause.

July 9, 1948

Plans for the construction of a children’s playground are now in the final stage and the Women’s Civic Club is hoping to commence actual work on the project shortly. The project was given a go-ahead signal when the city council and the school board both gave permission for use of the corner of the school grounds in the rear of the Adventist Church as a playground. The Civic Club is planning on graveling this section and installing swings, teeter-totters, a jungle gym, sand box and adding more equipment as it can be made or purchased. A fence will be built on the street side to keep children off the street. Being in the corner of the school grounds, the playfield will not interfere with the present baseball field at the side of the school.

July 13, 1973

The city council on Tuesday set parking regulations for Wrangell Wharf, approved the sale of 12 lots of a Zimovia Highway subdivision, discussed the feasibility of raising fees for city cemetery plots and backed an Alaska Wood Products’ request for a variance from federal regulations regarding smoke emissions. In other action Tuesday, the council heard a report from the city manager that the new city barn on Zimovia Highway is nearing completion inside and should be occupied by early September. The old barn at the front of Front Street will be used for storage.

July 9, 1998

The annual Fourth of July celebration in Wrangell had a surprise added attraction this year. During the later afternoon, the newest Alaska Marine Highway System vessel, the Kennicott, pulled unexpectedly into port and remained docked for several hours, allowing residents to view for the first time the state’s newest fleet addition. The 382-foot-long ship was on its sea trials trip, preparing to replace the familiar Malaspina, which had provided the full route service for travelers between Bellingham, Washington, and Skagway since 1963. The older ship is now scheduled to run as a day-boat between Juneau and Skagway this summer.


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