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The speaker is a 62-year-old White man with a college education from Anchorage, Alaska; he was recorded in 1968.



County: Anchorage
State: AK

Commentary:
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska; its 291,826 residents make up forty percent of the state???s present-day population. Established in 1914 as a railroad construction port, the city was incorporated in 1920. While no longer the driving force of Anchorage???s economy, the Alaska Railroad (completed in 1923) continues to service over 500 miles of the state. In this segment the speaker discusses his family???s history, touching on the mining, lumber, and railroad industries.
Inf: The whole thing started, uh, as far as my family was concerned, was, uh, a new country and the mining, and, uh, when they, uh, the Great Alaskan Northern Railroad, which was a Canadian-English [sic], uh, outfit that come to, uh, Alaska to build a railroad into the mining fields in the interior of Alaska which was in the Fairbanks way. And that drew-, then they went bankrupt. And, and, uh, had to close the railroad. The railroad got as far as Kern Creek, which you???ll pass tomorrow down here going south [FW: Mm-hmm], so you???ll see Kern Creek. That???s as far as that old railroad went [FW: Mm-hmm]. And then, uh, s-, there was some mining up in Cache Creek, which is over here in the hills. That???s what made my family move to Susitna Station. My grandpa was a merchant in Iowa and he had money. He came with my folks, and I was with them.

FW: And you were how old then, by then?

Inf: I was about a little over a year old [FW: Oh, uh-huh]. And they, put, uh, in a sawmill at Susitna Station. Over here on the Susitna River to, uh, saw up lumber for the men to take up and mine and make slu-, sluice boxes and make boats and the things that you had to have to transport stuff to get up the river to, to do your mining.

FW: This is gold mining.

Inf: Gold mining [FW: Yeah]. And on your way to Seward tomorrow, you???ll also see along, uh, uh, the road that, uh, you???ll travel when you get over towards, uh, well, after you???ve turned around the end of the arm [FW: Yeah] and you???re starting up the hill, you look over on your left, and you???ll see what looks like it might have been an old ditch or an old trail over there. That???s the old road that used to come from Seward to, uh, to Hope and Sunrise on the other side of the inlet. They used mule teams on that road to bring, uh, uh, people over the hill to get to this Cook Inlet, to take people over to the ins-, river boats, and boats up the Susitna River where we live.

FW: I see.

Inf: That???s the way we got. [Radio noise] The, the, uh, the wintertime, the travel was over the Great Alaskan Northern Railroad by dog team, right down the railroad track, through the tunnels [FW: Mm-hmm] and over the hills into my neighbor???s backyard and around the end of this arm to get to Susitna Station over there [FW: Mm-hmm].

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