Anchorage Founding Memories
Do you know who created Anchorage? He laid out the town, sold the first lots and served as Anchorage's unofficial advisor. Meet Andrew Christensen in this edition.
In the photo above
Andrew Christensen 1879–1969
Anchorage was a Company Town
Yes, it was the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC) that created Anchorage as they built the Alaska Railroad. Everyone who came to the mouth of Ship Creek in 1915, came to either work for the railroad or to provide services or goods to the workers.
Among the Alaska Engineering Commission managers who came to the area in 1915 was a man named Andrew Christensen.
About 3,000 People Attend the Land Auction
The photo above shows the Land Auction at Ship Creek Flats in 1915.
The man on the platform, wearing a dark suit is Andrew Christensen, who also conducted the auction. Christensen had laid out the first streets and lots for the new town.
4th Avenue was set up as the core for business activity.
A lot at 4th and C (where Big Ray’s Army/Navy Surplus is now) sold for 825 dollars.
The 5th and C lot sold for 575 dollars.
The 4th and D lot sold for 700 dollars.
The above bids were considered high in 1915 and surprised the Alaska Engineering Commission.
Altogether, 655 lots were sold for a total of 150,000 dollars.
At the time of the auction, the town’s population was 4,500.
Restrictions on the Lots
The Alaska Engineering Commission had strict rules about what was and what was not acceptable in this new town.
The restrictions on the lots included:
No manufacturing, selling or otherwise dispensing intoxicating liquors.
No gambling or other “vices”.
If a property was used for any of the above, the penalty was forfeiture of the lot.
The Bootlegger Problem
Andrew Christiansen was also responsible for keeping out bootleggers.
He apparently had some success because people like Russian Jack and the Phantom Swede had to come up with new ways to supply their wares to the thirsty crowd at Ship Creek.
The answer? They began delivering their “squirrel Juice” in what is now known as Bootlegger’s Cove because it was hidden from the authorities.
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Anchorage’s Unofficial Advisor
In late 1916, Christensen was Anchorage’s unofficial advisor, and he administered the new Anchorage school system.
In the photo above
The road curves from the railroad yards to Ship Creek and to downtown Anchorage.
The Government built houses along Christensen Road formed an area that became known as “Snob Hill”.
Want to know more about Andrew Christensen?
Check out this Andrew Christensen Biography right now.
What You Have to Say
“Hi Mike and Mary... Enjoy your stories so much. Keep up the good work!”
And from our look at Varsity Show Memories
“Thank you and YES, I was on the Varsity Show with Catholic Jr/Sr High School. Great to go back in time. Appreciate your sharing the memories.”
Hello from Mike and Mary
Did you know that Anchorage was a company town?
A big thank you to Andrew Christensen for putting our town together way back in 1915.
Well, we missed that lot auction in 1915. Just think, for only $825 dollars, we could have owned a lot on 4th Avenue… Of course in today’s dollars that would be… a lot of money.
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Until Next Time
Mike and Mary