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Do you remember Wolfe's Department Store? You're about to meet Anchorage Pioneer, Ray Wolfe.
Photo by Ward Wells.
In the picture above is Wolfe’s Department Store at 5th and C street in 1950.
But Our Story Doesn’t Begin in 1950
Pictured above are Raymond, “Ray” Wolfe and Esther Wolfe.
Ray Wolfe first came to Anchorage in 1927.
He came to work at a place called Pioneer Sheet Metal Works. It was owned by his Uncle Henry Wolfe and partner Henry Pope. The business was located at 5th and C street on a lot that the two Henrys had purchased for the sum of $550.
After some time, Ray Wolfe purchased the Sheet Metal Works from his Uncle and partner Pope.
It’s Nice to Share
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And when you share this edition with your friends, family, or someone else, they will be so happy that they will send you a really nice trophy for being the “best person they know” with your name inscribed on it… well, it could happen.
A Little Here, More There
Some years later, Ray Wolfe rebuilt the original building, turning it into a two-story combination store and apartment building. The business then became Wolfe Sheet Metal, Hardware, and Plumbing.
But No One Dared Put a Business on 5th Street!
Before the Sheet Metal and Hardware, and Plumbing store located on 5th and C street, starting a business anywhere but on 4th Avenue was unheard of.
In 1944, the Anchorage Times printed the following about Wolfe’s store location.
The entire quote has not been used here.
“The building sets the pace for future business construction, marking the end of the era of temporary structures and the beginning of what may be expected to be a period of permanent construction. It also marks a shift of business building from 4th Avenue to 5th.”
The Completion of the Glenn Highway
One year earlier, in 1943, 5th Avenue had become a major business route. It connected the Richardson and Alaska Highways. And drivers entered Anchorage on 5th Avenue.
Ray Wolfe served as the Mayor of Anchorage beginning in 1944.
In the photo above is the interior of Wolfe’s Department Store
In 1970, Ray Wolfe’s nephew, Jerry Wolf (he spelled the name without the “e”), purchased Wolfe’s Department Store at 2404 Barrow Street. That location is now Wolf’s Distributing, a wholesale and supply store.
What Are Your Memories?
Did you shop in Wolfe’s Department Store? What are your memories? We’d love to hear from you.
There is a lot more to this story.
Take a look at Ray Wolfe, Anchorage Pioneer and discover.
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From our North Stars (that’s you)
From our picture of Peggie’s Airport Café.
“My folks and sister Melanie ate at Peggy's Airport Café many times during our life in Anchorage. We lived there from 1958 – summer 1964.”
From our picture of the Spa
“Yep, I swam at the Spa. I heard someone built an underground running track around there some years ago. It would be interesting to find out if that's true. Also swam at the pool at Stuckagain Heights and ski patrolled at Don Conrad’s Lincoln powered rope tow. As I recall, Stuckagain was run by Marge?”
OOps! We made an error in our story about Bettles
“I must take exception to the comment “By 1930, residents moved the town five miles east to a military airport left abandoned…” That could not have been the case. The military had NO airfields in Alaska prior to the build up to World War Two in 1940. Even Anchorage didn't have an airport proper (what became Merrill Field) until 1931. Something is off here.”
Thank you for helping us out with that one Mark.
Visit Anchorage Memories.com
You can enjoy stories, pictures, and videos of Anchorage from its tent city days in 1915, through the 1970s by visiting our website, Anchorage Memories.com
In the photo above, is the Jonas Brothers Museum in Anchorage.
Jonas Brothers was the perfect place to take out of town guests.
Did you know that the Book Cache got its start in a tiny space inside Jonas Brothers?
Can you believe that this edition of the Anchorage Memories VIP Club has come to an end? But we’ll be back on Sunday, May 7th with another memory-filled edition.
Say, do you have a comment or suggestion? Or do you just want to say, “I remember the Jonas Brothers Museum”. You can easily connect with us by replying to this email, or you can Contact Us right here.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary