Museum Memories

It’s not Texas! This is our neighboring community of Chitina, up the Copper River and the photograph was likely taken in the early 1900’s. Chitina was a railroad junction town, even though the railroad was never extended to Fairbanks, the Copper River and Northwestern remained, until the Alaska Railroad was completed in 1923, the only route to the Interior other than the government wagon road out of Valdez.

Chitina was reached by rail in October of 1910 and immediately sprang into life as a small and bustling Alaskan City. In November, the Chitina-Tonsina road was completed and the Orr Stage Lines soon inaugurated wagon service. Matched teams of six white horses met the northbound trains from Cordova and carried passengers and freight on into the Interior. Mail contracts were let the same month. The Hotel Chitina, one of the finest hostelries in early Alaska, was finished in November and was advertised as ready to serve interior travelers.

And the cattle, well … you tell us?