Anchorage Memories VIP Club Podcast
Anchorage Memories Podcast
Anchorage Pioneer “Mac” McGee

Anchorage Pioneer “Mac” McGee

Did you know that the history of a major airline in Alaska got its start in 1931? Meet an Anchorage pioneer in this edition.

He had no money, and no job prospects on the horizon.

So, in 1929, during the Great Depression, he was able to sneak on board the SS Aleutian steamship, headed for Seward, Alaska.

Once in Seward, he made his way to Anchorage, where he found work, driving a delivery truck for Standard Oil.

Later, he began a fur trading business using dog teams and chartered planes to reach remote Alaska villages.

His fur trading company led him into the aviation business.

Meet Linious “Mac” McGee.

He never learned to fly because he was more interested in business and organization, than aviation.

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Your friends and family will enjoy this interesting look at a historic time in Anchorage and Alaska. A time when pioneers came to the last frontier.

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How it Began

In 1931, McGee partnered with an Alaska Bush pilot named Harvey W. Barnhill.

The two purchased a three-seat Stinson aircraft and began Barnhill and McGee Airways in Anchorage.

About a year later, in 1932, McGee bought out Barnhill’s share of the company. Then, after purchasing another Stinson aircraft, McGee started McGee Airways. It was one of the first air services in Anchorage.

Over the next two years, McGee Airways grew into a fleet of seven Stinson aircraft.

With all the same planes, McGee reasoned that they could interchange parts, which would make it easier to maintain flight schedules.


McGee sold his airline to Anchorage based, Star Air Service, but stayed on as the manager for several years.


He later decided to get out of aviation all together.

By this time, McGee was involved in the mining industry and later retired at the age of 73.

Star Air Service became Star Airlines

Then, in 1942, Star Airlines was sold, and the name was changed to Alaska Star Airlines.

The Beginning of Alaska Airlines

Photo by Harley D. Nygren

In the picture above is a 1949, Alaska Airlines DC-3

In 1944, the company, that began as McGee Airways, was renamed for the last time. The new name is Alaska Airlines.

Yes, Alaska Airlines came about because of a 1929 stowaway named Linious “Mac” McGee who came to Anchorage, Alaska seeking a new life and opportunity in the Last Frontier.


You can learn more about Linious “Mac” McGee and Alaska aviation history.

Take a look at McGee Airways: The Story Of Alaska Airlines' Predecessor and discover.

From Our North Stars (that’s you)

From our look at Homer, Alaska

Jim sent us this comment:

“I listened to your podcast on how Homer, Alaska got its name. Very interesting and informative.”

And Sam shared this memory:

“What I remember most about homer is the homer spit. As a small boy, Dad and mom took out onto the spit, to dig for those huge muscle clams.

We filled a small gunny sack. Then, when we got home, mom made clam chowder with those huge chunks of clams in it. That was some good clam chowder. Another great memory.”

Jon had this question:

“I wonder if Homer Pennock had something to do with Pennock Island in Ketchikan?”

A Note from Anchorage Memories:

Yes, Jon, we looked it up and Pennock Island in Ketchikan is also named after Homer Pennock. He definitely got around Alaska.

And Arlise had this suggestion:

“I know of a little town not far from Homer you could mention, and maybe write a little somethin' about. Seldovia! What do you think? I grew up there and still have family and many friends there, so I may be a little partial.”

A Note from Anchorage Memories:

Arlis - great suggestion. Seldovia has a very interesting history. So yes, we will be creating an entire edition of the Anchorage Memories VIP Club podcast about Seldovia very shortly.

Connect with Us

Did you enjoy the story of Anchorage Pioneer, Linious “Mac” McGee and his contribution to Alaska aviation? We certainly did.

Do you have a comment? Just reply to this email. Or, you can Contact Us to say, “I flew with Alaska Airlines 243 times”.

And be looking for our Seldovia podcast edition of the Anchorage Memories VIP Club.

Until Next Time

Mike and Mary


Anchorage Memories VIP Club Podcast
Anchorage Memories Podcast
A treasure chest of narrated anchorage and Alaska memories. and adventures