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Anchorage Park Memories
What were (are) your favorite parks in Anchorage? This edition looks at Delaney, Valley of the Moon, Nulbay, and Elderberry parks. Enjoy.
Photo by Greg B.
In the Photo above is Alaska Railroad Engine 556. It was taken out of service and in 1959 the engine was moved to what was then called, the “Park Strip” (later Delaney Park) and used as an educational and climbing display for Anchorage Children.
Note: For those who remember, when it was first placed in the park, and for many years after, there was not a fence around the engine. It was open to be enjoyed by young and old alike.
In a moment, we’ll look at Anchorage’s Delaney Park, formerly known as the “Park Strip”.
Engine 556 in 1951
Photo courtesy of Nancy Platt- Bidwell and her dad, John.
In the picture above, Engine 556 runs along Turnagain Arm on a cold winter day. After many years of service, the engine would find a new home on the Park Strip where it would become a cherished memory for Anchorage children.
It Began as a Firebreak
Anchorage is bordered to the west by Cook Inlet. But back in its early days, to the east, north and south were thick forests.
So, in 1917, it was decided that the new town needed a firebreak to protect it.
11 blocks between 9th and 10th avenues and A and P streets were cleared.
Anchorage’s First Golf Course
In the photo above, 1923 Anchorage residents enjoy a round of golf on what was a firebreak.
At about that time, Bush pilots began using the strip as an airfield for take-offs and landings.
Golfers were warned to “give the right of way to aircraft.” Sound advice for sure.
In the photo above, aircraft remained at what would become the Park Strip until 1932 when Merrill Field opened.
The Park Strip
In 1954, Anchorage Parks and Recreation started developing the Park Strip, Anchorage’s largest park.
There was ice skating, softball and horseshoes. A wading pool was also added.
In 1958, the Park Strip was used for the Alaska Statehood celebration.
The Park Strip Became Delaney Park
James J. Delaney served as the Mayor of Anchorage from 1929 to 1932.
Following his passing in 1970, the Park Strip was renamed Delaney Park.
What are your memories of the Park Strip and Delaney Park? Share them with us.
Share these Memories
of a Day in an Anchorage Park
Can you imagine the fun when your friends and family get to remember these Anchorage Parks?
They will be so happy that they will send you a year’s supply of Tootsie Roll Pops… or your favorite “kid candy”… well it could happen.
To share the memories
Just click on the following link:
Valley of the Moon Park
Click on the link above to enjoy a video of the Valley of the Moon Park.
Note: The video above was shot in 1970 by Mike of Anchorage Memories. The opening and closing scenes were shot in Nulbay Park which we will talk about in a moment.
Located at 610 West 17th Avenue, the Valley of the Moon park development began in the late 1960s. The park was completed in 1972.
The Author Jack London Connection
In 1913, a Jack London novel titled “The Valley of the Moon” was published. Some years after that, the Anchorage library announced that the book was available for the good folks of Anchorage.
It is speculated that somewhere along the way, that book, and its title influenced the naming of the city park and the look of the playground equipment.
Mike and Mary of Anchorage Memories have fond memories of the park, which their children, Nikki and Christopher, lovingly called “Rocket Ship Park”.
What are your memories? We’d love to hear from you.
In the photo above is the small but popular Anchorage park located in Bootleggers Cove.
Note: “Nulbay” is a Dena’ina name, meaning “seagull”. And since the park is located right next to the Alaska Railroad tracks and the shores of Cook Inlet, that name is very appropriate.
Located at 1411 West 7th Avenue, the land was transferred from the Alaska Railroad to the city of Anchorage in 1965.
Note: As mentioned earlier, the opening and closing scenes in the “Valley of the Moon” park video shown above, were shot in Nulbay Park by Mike of Anchorage Memories. Yes, Mike even got to ride on a swing.
What are your memories? Share your comments.
In the photo above is another Anchorage favorite.
Elderberry Park is located at the end of 5th Avenue and, like Nulbay Park, Elderberry sits right up to the Alaska Railroad tracks and the shores of Cook Inlet.
In 1917, the U.S. Government gave the land to the City of Anchorage.
It became a park in 1922.
What are your memories? Share then with us.
The Oscar Anderson House
Click on the video above to learn about the Oscar Anderson House. Watch the entire video which takes you inside the house as well. The video above was produced in 2022.
Note: The ads in the video have nothing to do with Anchorage Memories.
In 1976, the Oscar Anderson house was moved a short distance from its original location and into Elderberry Park.
The Oscar Anderson House is said to be the first wood frame home built in Anchorage in 1915. It is open for tours.
Have you ever toured the Oscar Anderson House? Tell us about it.
Memories of Bootleggers Cove
by Maggie Wilkinson
From the story:
“From 1956-1959 I lived in this little log cabin in Bootleggers Cove, Anchorage, Alaska.
Recently, my dogs and I walked at ”Betsy’s Park” (Elderberry Park) and then we walked to the log cabin which is very close by.
I spent a little time there, remembering how I played marbles and jumped rope in the alley, picked pussy willows in the Spring, and I got a Chesapeake puppy (named Cinnabar). Many days were spent climbing high up in the cottonwood trees, chasing the train and getting the engineer to blow the train whistle.”
Take a look at this excellent story, “Memories of Bootleggers Cove” and remember.
From Our North Stars (that’s you)
From our Bud and Daisy Whitney edition.
“Wonderful history about this couple. Thanks for sharing!”
From our “GTO Joe” story.
“I remember GTO Joe really well. I had a 65 GTO at the time and Joe's was a 66. Car guys hanging out.”
From our Martha “Mother White” Edition.
“I enjoyed your article and the link to the story of Martha "Mother" White. What a remarkable person! The stories about her are great contributions to the history of Anchorage and Alaska. Thanks for all your work to keep history alive.”
From our Gwennies Restaurant Memories edition. Does anyone have a picture?
“My mom worked at Gwennie's in the 1980s, and we lived in the mobile home park on Spenard during that time. Does anyone have any pictures of that mobile home park from back then by any chance?”
Photo above of Charles Brewster, courtesy of Cindy Pendleton
Charles Brewster was the owner of Brewster’s in Mountain View. A popular Anchorage store and home of the “giant pair of jeans” display.
Did this edition of Anchorage Memories bring back fond memories of your most loved parks in Anchorage?
You can share your memories by replying to this email, or you can Contact Us right now. We love hearing from our North Stars (that’s you).
Ok, now Mike and Mary have to go to the park and get on a swing. Anyone care to join us?
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary