Anchorage Early Memories
Did you know that a man named Oscar F. Anderson opened the first meat market in Anchorage, started the first airline and his home is now a museum?
Pictured above is Tent City on July 1, 1915
Claiming he was the 18th person to set foot at Tent City on Ship Creek, Oscar F. Anderson first arrived in the Spring of 1915.
The first wave of arrivals to Ship creek numbered about 2,000. Many of them were Scandinavians. All the arrivals were looking for work.
Anderson’s first job was cutting wood on what is now Government Hill.
A Few Weeks Later
A fellow named Jensen teamed up with Oscar Anderson. The two started the first cold storage business in Tent City. That business became the main supplier of meat in the area.
During a quick trip to Seattle, Anderson and Jensen purchased the equipment they needed and headed back to tent city where they purchased a lot at what would become 531 W. 4th Avenue.
The two put up a building on the lot and opened the Ship Creek Meat Company in the fall of 1915.
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In the picture above of early 4th Avenue, notice the sign in about the middle of the picture, just to your left of the Photographer’s sign. It reads “Ship Creek Meat Company”.
They also had live cattle shipped from Seattle, so they could sell fresh meat.
The cattle were unloaded at the beach, near the mouth of Ship Creek and placed in a corral.
The Ship Creek Meat Company remained in business on 4th Avenue into the early 1940s.
Stewart’s Photo Shop, the oldest photo shop in Anchorage and owned by Ivan and Oro Stewart, first opened in 1943 at 531 W. 4th Avenue, in the same building once occupied by the Ship Creek Meat Company.
In the rear of the building, you can still see the cold storage area and the heavy refrigerator doors from the Ship Creek Meat Company.
4th Avenue 1939
In the picture above, the last building on your left is “Ship Creek Meat Co.”
Oscar Anderson House
In 1915, Anderson and two of his carpenter friends, “Stucco” Johnson and Aaron Wickland built a home for Oscar and his family.
The home is 20×40 feet and features one and a half stories.
This home is said to be the first permanent home built in Anchorage following the Town site auction on July 10, 1915.
In the fall of 1916, Anderson brought his family up from Seattle to live in the new home, now located at 420 M Street.
The Oscar Anderson house was since moved about 60 feet from its original location onto municipal land next to Elderberry Park. The house is available for tours.
In 1978, the house was placed in the National Register of Historic Places.
You can learn more about the Oscar Anderson House right now.
Coal for Anchorage
In 1921, Anderson joined several partners to open a coal company on Wishbone Hill just north of Palmer, Alaska.
The Evan Jones Coal Company supplied Anchorage with coal, transported from Palmer on the Alaska Railroad.
Anchorage Air Transport
Anderson teamed with A.A. Shonbeck, Gus Gelles and Isidore “Ike” Bayles to start the first airline in Anchorage, The chief pilot was Russel Merrill.
Anchorage Daily Times Newspaper
Pictured above is the Anchorage Daily Times newspaper office on F Street between 4th and 5th Avenues in 1919.
Anderson was a busy fellow.
He joined with Ike Bayles and Z.J. Loussac to develop the Anchorage Daily Times newspaper. The paper was sold in 1935.
Oscar Anderson sure made a lasting impact on Anchorage.
It’s a Small World
Remember when the Turtles rock band came to Anchorage and played to a packed crowd at the Sports Arena?
Hit songs included the 1967, “Happy Together” and “She’d Rather be with Me”.
The girl in the hot pink dress is Mary of Anchorage Memories standing next to Mark Volman of the Turtles. Mary was a member of the Pacesetters Go-Go Girls, known as the “Fringe Benefits”.
Mike and Mary and family were living in the Los Angeles area some years later and our daughter Nikki came home from her middle school and told us her friend was the daughter of Mark Volman of the Turtles. Nikki took the picture above to school the next day, gave it to her friend, who then took the picture home to show to her dad…
A couple of days later, Nikki’s friend returned the picture and told Nikki that her dad looked at it, said, “yes, that’s me, but I don’t remember being in Anchorage”.
Did you enjoy this look back at Anchorage Early Memories of pioneer Oscar F. Anderson?
You can easily send us your comments, suggestions or just say “yes I saw the Turtles when they performed in Anchorage at the Sports Arena”.
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Until Next Time
Mike and Mary