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THE BIRTH OF WASILLA, ALASKA

By Coleen Mielke  2013
coleen_mielke@hotmail.com


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In January of 1916, the Alaska Railroad tracks were completed from Anchorage to Peters Creek; two months later, they reached Eklutna and the right-of-way was cleared as far as mile 15 of the Carle Wagon Road where a small railroad construction camp was set up. The construction camp was named Wasilla, after Dena'ina Chief Wasilla (1842-1907).

That fall, the government tried to sell land leases to promote the town site, but no one was interested, as a matter of fact, only one man (Harry Shough) attended the lease sale. Instead, Orville Herning built a small commercial warehouse on the railroad easement and Howard Wilmoth put up a small tent store.

On May 2, 1917, railroad tracks were laid to Wasilla. On June 20th, fifty Wasilla town site lots were sold to the public for $25 to $280 each. Herning bought three lots and built a 24' x 80' general store on Main Street. Wilmoth bought one lot and built another general store right across the street from Herning's.

On October 1, 1917, the citizens of Wasilla asked the Governor for $3,100 to build a school; two weeks later they got the money and Shorty Herbert was paid $45 to clear a 100' x 200' building site for the school. On November 22, 1917 the school was finished (built by O.J. Meehan) who was paid $736 for his labor.  On November 26, 1917 (less than 2 months after the first request for school funds), school officially opened in Wasilla with Miss Ora Dee Clark as the teacher.

MAIN STREET  WASILLA  6/20/1917
(you can see the RR tracks in the background)

Wasilla, Alaska 1917
  

On 6/20/1917, the first 50 building lots were sold to the public by

the Land and Industrial Department of the Alaska Engineering Commission


BLOCK
LOT
PURCHASER
PRICE
1
1
Orville G. Herning
$50
1
2
Orville G. Herning
$25
1
3
Thomas M. Cavney
$25
1
4
Richard Currier
$25
1
5
Harry C. Shough
$25
1
6
Josephine Ilat
$25
1
7
Clark E. Davis
$25
1
8
Harry R. Brown
$25
1
9
Alfred W. Lueders
$240
1
10
William A. Smith
$130
1
11
Clark E. Davis
$130
1
12
Henry Rohde
$155
1
13
Albert Lee
$160
1
14
Harry C. Shough
$190
1
15
John H. Finley and B. Killie
$190
1
16
Ernest J. Warner
$210
1
17
Ernest E. Hartman
$215
1
18
Orville G. Herning
$280
2
1
Howard W. Wilmoth
$260
2
2
Charles Carlson
$150
2
3
John A. Carmody
$160
2
4
Thomas D. Corlew
$175
2
5
Harry R. Brown
$175
2
6
Ernest J. Warner
$150
2
7
Charles H. Kidd
$125
2
8
Evan W. Edwards
$135
2
9
William A. Smith
$155
2
10
Otto H. Frisk and Iber Nearhouse
$280
2
11
Egbert McDonald
$75
2
12
George Zink
$50
2
13
Fred Nelson
$55
2
14
Louis Lawsen
$50
2
15
James E. Stone
$55
2
16
Joseph C. Brassel
$50
2
17
Lawrence F. Linden
$50
2
18
Oliver W. Evans
$140
3
1
Oscar Tryck
$130
3
2
Gus Swanson
$70
7
1
John Lunstedt
$250
7
2
Eser Wikholm
$140
7
3
Mathew W. Diedrick and Alfred Shyman
$110
7
4
John Hylin
$80
7
5
John McIlroy
$110
7
8
Matt Rooney
$55
7
9
Abe Reising
$60
7
10
Nell Beattie
$105
8
1
Christian Beck
$25
8
6
Edward M. Spaulding
$75
8
7
Eser Wikholm
$90


MAIN STREET   WASILLA, ALASKA 6/20/1917
Main Street Wasilla, Alaska 1917


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coleen_mielke@hotmail.com


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