Do you remember the Ship Creek Meat Market? Have you ever seen the Oscar Anderson House near Elderberry Park? You'll love this edition.
Watercolor of the Oscar Anderson House by Alaskan Artist, Cindy Pendleton
You’re about to meet an Anchorage pioneer who brought many firsts to Anchorage in its early days. The house in the watercolor above is said to be the first home built in Anchorage.
Oscar F.Anderson first arrived at Ship Creek in 1915, and he hit the ground running.
Alaska, Here I Come
Anderson left his family in Seattle, so he could make the journey to Southcentral Alaska.
Anderson took a steam ship from Seattle.
In Oscar Anderson’s own words:
“Everyone talked about the new settlement starting across Cook Inlet from Knik. I had to find a way to cross over, which was no easy matter, as there was a lot of ice on the Inlet and no one wanted to risk it. Finally, a 19-year-old youth who had a boat volunteered to row me across. It was no pleasure trip. At one point, the boy fell in the water. We pulled onto a large block of ice. I took out some dry clothes from my suitcase and we changed his clothes. After that, I had to finish rowing.”
Ship Creek Tent City
Also known as “Riverside”
Once Anderson had made it to the shores of Ship Creek, and Tent City, his first job was cutting wood on what is now Government Hill.
Then Anderson sent for equipment he purchased in Seattle to open the first cold storage facility in the tent city. It became the primary meat packer in the area. It was called the Ship Creek Meat Market.
But as Anchorage grew, so did the Meat Market
The photo above, was taken in May 1916—its 4th Avenue.
In the middle of the picture above, you’ll see a sign that reads “Meat Market”.
Anderson purchased the new lot above and relocated his business there. His new location is where Stewart’s Photo is now located. The Visitor’s Log Cabin is now located across the street.
Live cattle were brought to Anchorage and kept in a corral, so residents could have fresh meat.
At one time, the Ship Creek Meat Market was the largest supplier of meat in Alaska.
Did Your Family Shop There?
The Ship Creek Market was in business until the 1950s. Mike of Anchorage Memories remembers going into the market with his mother.
The Evan Jones Coal Company
In 1921, Oscar Anderson, Z.J. Loussac (yes, the man who created the downtown Anchorage library) helped put together a coal company located at Jonesville, on Wishbone Hill just north of Palmer, Alaska in the Matanuska Valley.
Coal from the mine was transported on the Alaska Railroad and sent to Anchorage. At the time, coal was a major source of energy in Anchorage and remained so for a quarter of a century.
The Anchorage Daily Times Newspaper
In the 1919 photo above, the Anchorage Daily Times is seen located on F street, between 4th and 5th streets.
Anderson was also involved in the development of the Anchorage Daily Times newspaper.
Did you know that the Cook Inlet Pioneer was Anchorage's first daily newspaper in 1915 when the town was nothing more than a tent city?
The Cook Inlet Pioneer later became the Anchorage Daily Times.
You can learn more about Oscar F. Anderson and get some great background info right here.
The Oscar Anderson House
In the photo above is a modern-day look at the Oscar Anderson House
You’ll find it located at 420 M Street near Elderberry Park overlooking Cook Inlet.
At the beginning of this edition, we last left Anderson’s wife and children in Seattle, while Oscar made the difficult journey to a far off place called Alaska.
But during the Town Site Auction on July 10, 1915, Anderson purchased a lot for his family home. Then Anderson and two carpenters built what is said to be the first actual house in Anchorage. The home measured 20 feet by 40 feet and featured one and a half stories.
In the fall of 1916, Anderson was finally able to bring his family up from Seattle to their new home in the new town of Anchorage.
Oscar F. Anderson
Anderson was a business leader in early Anchorage. His many interests included meat packing, coal production, air transportation, and newspaper publishing.
Anderson and his wife Elizabeth, lived in their Anchorage home on 4th Avenue and M street until just before Oscar’s passing in 1974.
Many years later, the house was restored and moved about 60 feet from its original location to one near Elderberry Park.
The Oscar Anderson House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, for its architectural significance and for Oscar Anderson’s role in the development of early Anchorage.
You can visit the Oscar Anderson House and museum in Anchorage and when you do, spend a moment imagining what life was like for those early Anchorage Pioneers.
Mike and Mary Comment
Click on the following link for a closing remark about this edition’s Anchorage Pioneer.
Take a look at the Oscar Anderson House Museum and enjoy.
Hey, Did You Know? You can Share This Edition
It’s so easy to share this information-packed edition of your Anchorage Memories VIP Club.
Just click on the following link. Your friends and family will say, “Wow!”
Get in Touch with Mike and Mary
Here we are in the picture above, next to a photo of Tent City at the mouth of Ship Creek and on the shores of Cook Inlet. Winter in Alaska in a tent anyone?
Did you enjoy this glimpse into the early Anchorage days of one of those brave-hearted Anchorage Pioneers, Oscar F. Anderson?
Do you have a comment, or just want to say, “I visited the Oscar Anderson House”? Mary and I will love hearing from you. You can easily send us your remarks by either replying to this email or Contacting Us at the Anchorage Memories website.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary
Thanks for sharing about this history...Very interesting!
Michael D. Lefner
Well done! I remember the giant butchers block in the basement of Stewart’s Photo. It was used for working on camera repair back then (late ‘60s). It probably took a miracle to get it down that old staircase! I’m guessing that it’s still there. Thanks for the great accounting of that lovely little home.👍❣️👍