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Have you ever heard of Bert and Violet Wennerstrom? They were early Anchorage Pioneers, and you'll meet them in this edition.
In the photo above is Bertel Wennerstrom.
Bertel, who was also known as either “Bert” or “Beans” Wennerstrom, first arrived in Anchorage on a steamship on April 15, 1920.
He had only intended to visit for a few days, but decided to stay.
Wennerstrom went to work for the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC). His first job was as a laborer in the Material Yard. Other positions included being a janitor and a mail clerk. Bert, “Beans” eventually advanced to become the manager of the employment office.
Home Sweet Home
In the photo above is the home of Bert and his wife Violet “Mae”
Their home was built by Violet’s father and was located at 415 West 8th Avenue.
Bert and Violet liked to fish, hunt, and play golf on the 9th Avenue golf course (on what would become the Park Strip) just a block from their home.
They Stayed in Anchorage
After his retirement, Bert and Violet moved into the Fairweather Condominiums at 11th Avenue and L street in Anchorage.
In the photo above is KFQD radio in 1940
During his retirement, Wennerstrom could be heard on KFQD radio from 1928 to 1939, playing a character known as Doctor Knutsen. He also sang a song on KFQD titled, “When the Ice Worms Nest Again”.
KFQD was not only the first radio station in Anchorage when it signed on the air in May 1924, but it was also the first radio station in Alaska.
In the early days, the offices and studio of KFQD were located at 411 4th Avenue, where the yellow, “Sunshine Plaza” is located today.
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The King and Queen Regent
In the picture above are Bert and Violet in 1969
Bert and Violet Wennerstrom were supporters of Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous, which by the way, is now the biggest winter carnival in the world.
Bert and Violet were crowned King and Queen Regent for the 1969 Fur Rendezvous.
How They are Remembered
Bertel, “Bert” or “Beans” Wennerstrom passed away in 1988 at Humana Hospital in Anchorage.
Violet, “Mae” passed away in 1996 at the Anchorage Pioneer’s Home.
In remembrance, the family wrote the following:
“Bert and Mae (Violet) were a very popular couple who loved to dance, entertain, hike, pick berries, fish, and hunt. Mae also enjoyed reading, gardening, traveling and cooking.”
A Final Note:
Bertel, “Bert” Wennerstrom and his wife Violet “Mae” are great examples of those early pioneers who came to Anchorage and helped build it into the town we all remember.
Would you like to know more about Bert and Violet?
Take a look at Bertel and Violet Wennerstrom and discover.
From Our North Stars (yes, that’s you)
From our picture of President Dwight D. Eisenhower visiting Anchorage
“I remember the picture of Downtown Anchorage, Hewitt's Drug store, etc. I worked at the Anchorage House of Music across the street from Ellen's jewelers in the middle of the block. Yes, I was there during the earthquake, too.”
“Used to go to Hewitt's Drug store before the quake. They had a very good fountain. I would get a burger and a shake before walking up to the old Denali theater and watching the double feature movie after watching the the newsreels and the ongoing serials that they played every Saturday. Nice memories.”
Do You Remember?
In the picture above is the old Anchorage Sports Arena on Fireweed Lane
Did you skate there? Watch a hockey game? Go to a Home and Garden Show? Attend a concert or a dance? Share your memories.
Get in Touch
Yes, that’s us… Mike and Mary of Anchorage Memories – a “few” years ago in 1979.
And those are our children, Nikki and Christopher.
Did you enjoy learning about Bert and Violet Wennerstrom in this edition of Anchorage Memories?
It’s important to remember and pay tribute to those hearty pioneers who helped build the town of Anchorage. We owe them a lot.
Do you have a comment about this edition? Or would you just like to say, “I would love to hear a recording of Bert Wennerstrom’s song, “When the Ice Worms Nest Again”.
It’s so easy
You can get in touch with Mike and Mary by replying to this email.
Or, you can click on the following link:
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary