Anchorage Loussac Library
Do you remember the ZJ Loussac Library in downtown Anchorage? ZJ Loussac was an amazing Anchorage pioneer and this is his story.
From 1954 to 1985, Anchorage kids and adults enjoyed spending time in the downtown Loussac Library at 5th and F streets. The picture above is from 1955.
Zadrich Joshua Loussac, also known as Zachary or Zachariah or even “Zach” was born of Jewish parents in Pokrov, Russia (near Moscow) in 1882.
Check out this ZJ Loussac Biography right now.
At the age of 18, Loussac arrived in New York. Unable to speak English and nearly broke, he did a variety of jobs on the lower East Side. One of his jobs was working in a drug store.
One day he overheard a man talking about the discovery of gold in the Klondike. Loussac mistakenly thought the Klondike was in Alaska. Gold fever set in.
And so did a burning desire to go to Alaska.
You Can Share the Fun
It’s so easy to share this edition of Anchorage Memories VIP with your friends and family. And when you do, they will be so happy that they will buy you a gold watch decorated with real Alaska gold nuggets… Well, it could happen.
Finally Heading for Alaska
In 1901, Zachary Loussac was finally able to travel across the lower 48, toward his ultimate destination, to find some of that Alaska gold.
He got as far as Great Falls, Montana where he ran out of money. And once again, he found himself working in a drug store.
But by 1903, he had returned to New York and had graduated from the New York College of Pharmacy.
Then, in 1907, his dream of Alaska gold finally took him to Nome.
But like many before him, gold fever never paid off.
Hello Tent City
In 1916, it wasn’t much.
Anchorage was just a tent city on Ship Creek flats.
When ZJ Loussac first arrived in Anchorage, he and a friend bought a lot at 4th Avenue and D Street. His friend, Mr. Batles, opened a men’s store and Zachariah opened a drug store. They each had a building that was about 25 feet by 50 feet.
Loussac’s drug store did well.
His slogan was “We’ve got what you want when you want it.”
He opened a second drug store called ZJ Loussac Drug Store No 2 on the street level of the Anchorage Hotel Annex in 1937. He operated two stores until he retired in 1943.
Sharing These Anchorage Memories
A reader shares his Anchorage memories
“As I look back on my years in Anchorage, they were absolutely magical. The happiest time of my life. What a wonderous city. A gem in the snow. Surrounded by purple mountains. I miss it so much.” Robert
You can easily share these fun memories.
Just by clicking on the link below, you can share precious Anchorage Memories with anyone in the world.
All they need is an internet connection, a computer or mobile device and… they can enjoy these fun memories.
Community Service for Anchorage
After he retired, Loussac became very involved in community service.
In 1946, Zachariah set up the Loussac Foundation to be used for “social, scientific and cultural activities in the Anchorage area”.
From 1954 to 1985 the ZJ Loussac Library, created by his foundation and located on the northeast corner of 5th and F Street served the people of Anchorage.
Mayor of Anchorage
Did you know that Loussac was elected Mayor of Anchorage for three one-year terms from 1948 to 1951?
Ada Harper - Loussac
In 1949, at the age of 66, Zachariah, a lifelong bachelor, married Ada Harper who ran the Colonial Dress Shop in Anchorage.
Would You Like to Know More?
Our look at Zacharia Loussac is a brief one, but you can read lots more by clicking on the link below.
Read more about ZJ Loussac right now.
Imagine, Remember and Appreciate
The story of Zachariah Loussac reminds us of just how dedicated those early Anchorage pioneers were. They forged what would become the city of Anchorage from the humble banks of Ship Creek.
Like you may have, I spent many an afternoon in the downtown Loussac Library.
And while I was in high school and I became interested in a career in motion pictures and television, I spent hours reading every book I could find on the subject in the downtown Loussac Library… So I guess I got my start in that library.
Thank you, ZJ Loussac.
A Historic Anchorage Place Comes to an End
The Loussac Library on 5th and F Street was demolished in 1981 to make way for the William A Egan Civic and Convention Center.
In 1986, a new four-story ZJ Loussac Public Library was opened in midtown.
Times change, but thank you ZJ Loussac for the Anchorage memories.
Our Anchorage Memories VIP “Anchorage Kid’s TV Shows” edition reminded Mary of Anchorage Memories about being on a local Anchorage Kid’s TV show when she was a little girl.
“Growing up, my sister Betty and I were members of the Salvation Army Church in Anchorage. We were “Sunbeams”, which was like Scouts for boys and girls.
I was a student at Denali Elementary and in the 2nd or 3rd grade when our Sunbeams group was invited to be on the KoKo the KENI Klown show.
I remember going down the stairs at the 4th Avenue Theater building to the lower floor where KENI-TV channel 2 was located.
As we walked into the studio I remember seeing the TV lights, the microphone boom, the cameras and the Kartoon Karnival set. I remember how small the set looked to me.
When the show went live on TV we were all interviewed and got to watch the cartoons.
Overall it was a fun learning experience to see everything “behind the scenes”. And I remember that everyone at the studio was really nice to us.”
Mary went on to become a staff dancer on Anchorage’s Varsity Show TV teen dance program. And some years later, she became a background actress on some of your favorite TV shows and movies in Hollywood.
And Robert sent us this nice comment.
“I thoroughly enjoy Anchorage Memories, it is absolutely magnificent”
Did this edition of Anchorage Memories VIP Newsletter make you want to go visit your local library?
Mary and I are friends of our local library and our children and grandchildren love libraries. And we have ZJ Loussac to thank.
Don’t Be Shy
Do you have a comment, suggestion for a future edition of Anchorage Memories VIP, or would you just like to say “Hello!”… Not too loud now… the librarian will “shush” us.
It’s so easy to get in touch.
Just Contact Us right now… we promise not to “shush” you.
Until next time
Mike & Mary