A few days after surviving an Aug. 2, 1967, crash in this single-engine Maule Rocket, Dane Parks poses near the front end of the wreckage. (Photo courtesy

Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 3

This is Part Three of a three-part story of an airplane crash more than a half-century ago.

A few days after surviving an Aug. 2, 1967, crash in this single-engine Maule Rocket, Dane Parks poses near the front end of the wreckage. (Photo courtesy
In the early 1890s, one of the few men willing to stand up against the bullying and brutality of Alex Ryan was the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Alexander Yaroshevich. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)

Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 1

This is a complex tale of a changing Kenai and of four men — not just the two dead ones — and their perhaps inevitable fatal collision.

In the early 1890s, one of the few men willing to stand up against the bullying and brutality of Alex Ryan was the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Alexander Yaroshevich. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)
Four-year-old Lowell Fair indicates the backseat of the Fair family stationwagon during a 1972 photo-op set up by his father. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)

Sometimes you just gotta laugh

This is the story of one of my favorite family photographs.

Four-year-old Lowell Fair indicates the backseat of the Fair family stationwagon during a 1972 photo-op set up by his father. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
Dr. Elmer Gaede relaxes at home a few weeks after his airplane crash. His facial hair and glasses hide much of his scarring. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)

Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 1

Part 1 of a three-part story of a single-engine airplane crash more than a half-century ago.

Dr. Elmer Gaede relaxes at home a few weeks after his airplane crash. His facial hair and glasses hide much of his scarring. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)
In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.

One man’s misfortune becomes my family’s good fortune

Without his misfortune, almost everything changes for me.

In 1964, two years after the Fairs moved to their homestead at the end of Forest Lane, Calvin Fair took this photo from neighbor Dan France’s SuperCub. Note the dearth of large trees in the foreground, where the 1947 Kenai Burn wiped out much of the hillside forest. (Courtesy Fair Family Collection.
This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of ancestry.com)

When the Kenai had just one full-time dentist, Part 1

Wagner graduated from dental school at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco.

This is the 1908 birth certificate of Russell Martin Wagner. (Certificate courtesy of ancestry.com)
Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)

When the Kenai had just one full-time Dentist, Part 2

Part One discussed how Dr. Russell Wagner, the Kenai Peninsula’s only full-time dentist in 1960.

Russell Wagner graduated from the dental school within the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco in the spring of 1931. Shortly thereafter, he made his first trip to Seward. (Photo courtesy of college archives)
Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.

The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part two

Syrian-born David Hassan Sleem settled in Seward in 1903.

Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.

The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part one

Most people, if they have heard of D.H. Sleem at all, know the name because of his Alaska maps.

Anchorage Museum of History and Art
Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
Walter and Beverly Christensen are shown in a newspaper photo in their Clam Gulch store and post office, probably in the 1960s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)

From Nomadic Life to Stability

The Journey of Beverly Christensen — Part 3

Walter and Beverly Christensen are shown in a newspaper photo in their Clam Gulch store and post office, probably in the 1960s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)
Ed Haun entertains tourists w saw—In this 1972 photo, 87-year-old Ed Haun entertains tourists on his porch with musical abilities on a handsaw. (Courtesy of the Hope and Sunrise Historical Society)

How ‘Red Hat’ fits in

How the life of a man long since dead has jarred loose and clarified a nearly 50-year-old memory.

Ed Haun entertains tourists w saw—In this 1972 photo, 87-year-old Ed Haun entertains tourists on his porch with musical abilities on a handsaw. (Courtesy of the Hope and Sunrise Historical Society)
Cooper Landing characters (from left): “Little Jim” Dunmire, Harold and Gary Davis, Beverly and Joe Sabrowski, and “Big Jim” O’Brien, circa 1940s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)

From nomadic life to stability

The journey of Beverly Christensen — Part Two

Cooper Landing characters (from left): “Little Jim” Dunmire, Harold and Gary Davis, Beverly and Joe Sabrowski, and “Big Jim” O’Brien, circa 1940s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)
Beverly Christensen speaks at a historical society meeting, circa 1980s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)

From Nomadic Life to Stability: The Journey of Beverly Christensen—Part One

Christensen spent most of her final decades in long, peaceful stints in Cohoe and Clam Gulch.

Beverly Christensen speaks at a historical society meeting, circa 1980s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)
This enlarged section of Dr. David H. Sleem’s 1910 map of the Kenai Mining District shows the Shackleford Cabin just above the Kenai River outlet on lower Kenai Lake. The stream entering the lake at the far right is Quartz Creek.

A tale of two Shacklefords, in a way — part two

New facts intruded upon my easy solution to the origins of the eponymously named creek and cabin.

This enlarged section of Dr. David H. Sleem’s 1910 map of the Kenai Mining District shows the Shackleford Cabin just above the Kenai River outlet on lower Kenai Lake. The stream entering the lake at the far right is Quartz Creek.
This portrait—one of few that Richard Shackelford reportedly allowed to be published—graced the 1909 commencement booklet for the California Polytechnic School, of which he was the president of the Board of Trustees. (Photo courtesy Clark Fair)

A tale of Two Shacklefords, in a way — part three

Untangling the origins of Shackleford Creek’s name.

This portrait—one of few that Richard Shackelford reportedly allowed to be published—graced the 1909 commencement booklet for the California Polytechnic School, of which he was the president of the Board of Trustees. (Photo courtesy Clark Fair)
Photo by Clark Fair
Fred Shackleford’s grave (second from right) in the Point Comfort Cemetery near Hope is featured in this undated photo.

A tale of two Shacklefords, in a way — part one

The mystery of Shackleford Creek had me baffled for quite some time.

Photo by Clark Fair
Fred Shackleford’s grave (second from right) in the Point Comfort Cemetery near Hope is featured in this undated photo.
Laden with a game bag full of black bear meat, Dan France heads for camp near the Tustumena Glacier, 1963. Zebra Mountain and the glacier can be seen in the background. (Photo courtesy Fair Family Photo Collection)

A Sheepish Tale

In August 1963, my long-time neighbor and my father flew into the Tustumena benchlands.

Laden with a game bag full of black bear meat, Dan France heads for camp near the Tustumena Glacier, 1963. Zebra Mountain and the glacier can be seen in the background. (Photo courtesy Fair Family Photo Collection)
Photo courtesy of the Pratt Museum
Walter R. Bell poses for a photo in Seldovia in 1918.

For most in Homer, Walter didn’t ring any bells

The marker read: “Walter R. Bell. Buried here July 1921. Born in 1860, Fillmore Co., Minn.”

Photo courtesy of the Pratt Museum
Walter R. Bell poses for a photo in Seldovia in 1918.
A ptarmigan hunter takes in the sunshine near the front door of the Jims’ cabin on upper Surprise Creek, summer 1968. (Photo from the Fair Family Collection)

The two Jims, Part 3: More fun in the finding than in the having

“This is not a gold country, and don’t let anybody kid you.”

A ptarmigan hunter takes in the sunshine near the front door of the Jims’ cabin on upper Surprise Creek, summer 1968. (Photo from the Fair Family Collection)
Big Jim (left) and Little Jim show off some of the furs from a recent winter’s trapping season, circa late 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Mona Painter)

The two Jims, part two: Coming home and battling a bully

In their early days in the Cooper Landing area, the Jims needed a place to live.

Big Jim (left) and Little Jim show off some of the furs from a recent winter’s trapping season, circa late 1950s. (Photo courtesy of Mona Painter)