The Way We Were

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

March 20, 1924

A floating city with myriads of twinkling of lights! That is what a fleet of halibut vessels appear to be on a dark night to an observer on the deck of a ship as it approaches the halibut banks anywhere in Alaska waters from Frederick Sound as far north as Kodiak, says the Ketchikan Examiner. The halibut fishermen work tirelessly all night long gathering in the silvery hordes. There is little sleep for them during the long voyages sometimes of many weeks duration, unless overtaken by stormy weather. But the halibut boats return to port heavily loaded with fish that bring them big returns. All fishing craft carry buoy lights, with three-volt globes having two dry cells in a container. A six-foot rubber tube is attached to the battery, making it waterproof. It is fastened to a bamboo pole, one at each end of a set of gear. There are many of these sets on each side of which is a row of large hooks. Flags fastened to the buoy lights enable the fisherman easily to locate them when the batteries are to be replaced. These sets of gear with their powerful little electric lights sometimes extend for three or four miles behind the halibut schooner. A fleet of boats will light up the waters for miles around.

March 18, 1949

About 30 young Petersburg boys were in Wrangell last Saturday evening to compete in a sports show with the local lads. They were accompanied by members of the Petersburg American Legion Post who sponsor them, and their trainer, Peter Sanstol. Phillip Kim from Petersburg opened the show with an exhibition of weight lifting. The second feature was an exhibition wrestling match between Wrangell’s Tiny Foreman, alias, “Terrible Tessie,” and Petersburg’s William Wagner. It was a draw between the two, but referee Bill Hunting was the victim of several falls.

March 20, 1974

The city of Wrangell can legally institute a sliding property tax rate if annexation of outlying areas is approved by the Alaska Boundary Commission, the city’s attorneys have ruled. The city council last week adopted a resolution to indicate the municipality plans to adjust taxes for residents who are not getting full services. The city originally had decided on a standard mill rate for all city residents, City Manager Herb McNabb said. He presented the revised plan to the city council for approval.

March 18, 1999

Last Wednesday, March 10, the familiar view of Elephant’s Nose suddenly disappeared. In its place at the city dock moved a formidable log ship with large cranes and crew, heavy with logs in its holding tank. The Panamanian ship, the Oriente Hope, began loading logs from a large floating raft of timber in the harbor, and within six days two more ships had come into the Wrangell port, each leaving with wood for the Asian market. According to Cliff Skillings from the Southeast Stevedoring office in Ketchikan, each of the large ships could carry a maximum of 3.5 million board feet of round logs. Their logs this time were principally hemlock and spruce, although one ship took all yellow cedar and then carried it south to a market in Washington state.


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