Tag Archives: steamboats

S. S. Nenana

oie_22193644K9uupFSWFrom the September-October issue of Alaskan History Magazine:

At one period in Alaskan history, there were over 300 flat-bottomed sternwheelers navigating on the Yukon River and its tributaries. These sternwheelers were essential in the development of the history of Alaska. Of all these lifelines of the rivers, only one remains, the Steamer SS Nenana, located in Pioneer Park in Fairbanks. The wooden-hulled, western rivers-style steam sternwheel passenger boat Nenana is one of only three steam-powered passenger sternwheelers of any kind left in the U.S., and the only large wooden hulled sternwheeler. She is a living museum of history that must be preserved for perpetuity.

oie_22193533uv0oBLYkShe was built and operated by the Alaska Railroad. With the completion of the railroad from Seward to Fairbanks in 1923, a way to haul freight to the villages and towns was needed. On September 16, 1922, the War Department deactivated the steamers General Jeff C. Davis, and General J. Jacobs from the U.S. Army and made them available to the Alaska Railroad free of charge by Executive Order.

The article about the SS Nenana is by Patricia De Nardo Schmidt, who came to Alaska in 1959, growing up in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and living in Fairbanks since 1969. Patricia watched the history of Fairbanks being lost over the years as buildings were being demolished or falling into ruin and collapse, and when she heard the Steamer SS Nenana was closed to the public in March of 2018 and in danger of being demolished she knew she had to take action. Joining with others who had the same interest in saving the Alaskan steamship, the group Friends of SS Nenana was formed.

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SS Nenana being built, 1932. [1968-013-025 Bill Berry Coll. [Property Pioneers of AK Museum of Fairbanks.]

For more information about Friends of SS Nenana or how to get involved, go to their website (friendsofssnenana.com) or their Facebook page: Friends of SS Nenana. Donations to help support the SS Nenana can also be made through these sites or the North Star Community Foundation SS Nenana page (www.nscfundalaska.org/FSSN).

National Historic Landmark  https://www.nps.gov/places/nenana.htm

Sept:Oct cover smallThe Sept-Oct issue of Alaskan History Magazine, which also features articles about Josephine Crumrine’s sled dog menu covers for The Alaska Steamship Company, the unprecedented luxury cruise of railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman and his carefully selected passenger list of scientists and artists, the story of sea otters in the Aleutian Islands, the history of Alaska’s flag, and an excerpt from Josiah E. Spurr’s 1896 expedition to map and chart the interior of Alaska for the USGS.  The issue can be ordered from the Alaskan History Magazine website.

 

From Our Pages

May-June 220 pixels wideIn the May-June, 2019 issue of Alaskan History Magazine a photo feature focuses on the intrepid pioneer photographers who captured images of our past while working with bulky cameras in the northland’s adverse and often dangerous conditions. In this first of a series of posts relating to the magazine I’m sharing an excerpt from that article in the magazine – and expanding on it to include related photos and links to more information. In the example below on Clarence L. Andrews, the text and the photo of “Anarok’s wife” appeared in the magazine, while the photographs of Andrews, his book covers, and the steamer ‘Monarch’ did not. Also added are the links to the publications he photographed for, and Andrews’ papers at the UAA/APU Consortium Library in Anchorage.

Clarence Leroy Andrews

Clarence Leroy Andrews

Clarence Leroy Andrews came to Alaska in 1897 as part of a climbing expedition to Mt. St. Elias. He spent time in Sitka, in Skagway during the gold rush, in Eagle as a customs agent, 1904-1906. Between 1923 and 1929, he traveled throughout the Arctic as a surveyor for the School and Reindeer Service for the Alaska Bureau of Education.

Andrews was a journalist and photographer for the Alaska-Yukon Magazine and for Juneau’s Alaska Daily Empire (published from 1912-1926). In his later years, Andrews wrote numerous books and articles about Alaska and the Eskimos.

Anaroc's wife, Kivalina 1924 C.L. Andrews

Anarok’s Wife, Kivalina. 1924. [C.L. Andrews papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage. uaa-hmc-0059-27]

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The Monarch steamer on the Yukon River at Eagle, Alaska, 1904.
Clarence Leroy Andrews papers, 1892-1946. UAA-HMC-0059

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Andrews’ many books on early Alaska can often be found at eBay, Amazon, and similar online booksellers.