Forget-Me-Not Alaska - A Gallery of Long Gone Alaska
It is said that one should not live in the past. Surely it can't hurt to take a peek back once in a while....
This collection of paintings is a small gathering of favorite places of mine. These special spots no longer exist, except in old photos and warm memories. I hope that you enjoy them. Perhaps you won't remember them specifically, but maybe - just maybe, they'll help you to conjure up some memories of your own.
This is my bouquet of forget-me-nots. What would you gather up in yours?
Please remember that these images are copyrighted.
(A set of 8 postcard images is available under "postcards" in the "Shop Online" section. Some of the originals will be available for sale in the watercolor originals section in the "Shop Online" section in the coming weeks. Please contact me if you are interested in an original that is not yet posted.)
Eklutna Flats, Glenn Hwy, Alaska circa 1962
This was the view when driving from Anchorage to Palmer and back, four radio towers and Sleeping Lady off in the distance. Each June they seem to float amidst a sea of wild iris. The FAA removed the towers when the Native Land Claims Settlement was enacted in the '70s. I remember thinking how much nicer the view would be without those towers in the way.
Now, I kinda miss them.
Homer, Ak, 1960s
Before They Paved the Road
Homer has to be one of the prettiest spots in Alaska. Dusty old Pioneer Avenue was once the main drag through this picturesque little seaport. Everything that seemed important for a town was found along this street. Surely, the residents must have cheered its paving! However, for those of us who loved to visit the nostalgic little Alaska town at " the end of the road", it was a definite sense of loss.
The Birdhouse, Seward Hwy, Alaska circa 1970
One of the most beloved watering holes in Alaska, the Birdhouse was known for its ptarmigan caller, boneless chicken dinners (hard boiled eggs), and walls crammed with business cards - a must see for tourists and locals alike. It burned to the ground one weekend in the '90s.
Grown men wept.
Old Portage Townsite, circa 1975
This little town sat at the end of Turnagain Arm. Hardly more than a whistle stop for the railroad, it featured a sign that read, "Portage, Alaska - 11 Friendly People, 1 Old Sorehead". After the '64 quake sank the land a couple of feet, the town was abandoned. The tips of the buildings remain barely visible today.
The Original Knik River Bridge, Palmer, AK circa 1962
Few people know this beauty of construction was built in the early 20th century. In the summer, the supports shimmered in the sunlight, giving it the look of sparkling lace against a backdrop of endless mountains. At some point in the late 60's, a newer, stronger bridge was built. The older one is still standing but is unusable and hidden from view.
Our Point of View Lodge, Kenai Lake, AK circa 1968
Built in 1955 by Ken and Pauline Lancaster, this lodge sat perched on a mountainside overlooking Kenai Lake near the "Y". It was just far enough from Anchorage for a nice drive. Though somewhat perilous to reach, the meal and the view were well worth the steep drive up and down. It burned to the ground in the mid '70s. These days its difficult to spot the old oneway gravel driveway. However, the memories of the lodge are still there,
right above the lake.
Rabbit Creek Inn, Anchorage, AK circa 1958
One of the best places to eat and celebrate in the 50's and 60's, the Rabbit Creek Inn saw countless weddings and birthdays. Rabbits on the lawn (and on the menu) were the reason for its name, along with the creek that flowed by it. The view of Cook Inlet was spectacular. The Inn burned to the ground in the late '80s, and today the land is used as a sendoff point for rehabilitated birds.
Fourth Avenue Good Friday Earthquake, Anchorage, AK circa 1964
This watercolor was done from an iconic photo taken in the aftermath of the
'64 earthquake. The tremblor that shook Alaska measured 9.2 and lasted some 4 minutes. 139 people died that day, making it the worst disaster in Alaska's history.
Today, there are virtually no visible reminders of the devastation in downtown Anchorage. But just ask anyone who lived through it and they will be able to tell you about their experience, most likely in vivid detail.
Earthquake Park, Anchorage, AK circa 1967
A chunk of land west of Turnagain Subdivision was set aside so that all would remember the devastation of the '64 quake. A trip to the park meant going down a long staircase from the parking lot, and meandering through monolithic like clay upheavals and topsy turvy trees still growing in the mounds of twisted earth. The park was an awesome reminder of Mother Nature's force. Since then, Mother Nature has also shown that time does indeed, heal all wounds.
Today all you see is a forest of spruce and alders.
Nikko Garden, Anchorage, AK circa 1960's
Built by George Kimura, this restaurant was considered to be the finest Japanese dining in Alaska, if not the entire west coast. The outside was not much to look at, but the interior was like stepping into another world, complete with a dry stream bed and a bridge to cross to get to the tables. Separate rooms were also available for a more private setting. Nikko Garden burned to the ground in 1979. The restaurant reopened later in the Denali Towers. The food was still terrific but it seemed to lack the same atmosphere of the original place, Ironically, another popular restaurant thrives on the same Spenard Road site today - A McDonald's.
Sportsman's Lodge, Cooper Landing, AK circa 1968
This was the view of the Kenai River from behind the lodge, where you would wait to be ferried over to the Russian River and prime salmon fishing. Many a fish tale was shared in the bar at the lodge. The lodge was torn down and replaced with a big parking lot for the evergrowing crowd of fishing hopefuls in the '90's.
"Reflections" symbolizes the person who was lured to the wilderness by the quest for riches, and found instead, another timeless treasure - the land itself.
Hopefully, this type of hardy soul hasn't actually disappeared from our wild and wonderful frontier state, but is merely dressed in a different way.