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Anchorage Swimming Memories
Did you swim at the Spa, enjoy a day at Goose Lake or Spenard Lake? Summer in Anchorage was a lot of fun. Put on the suntan lotion for this edition.
In the photo above, Anchorage residents enjoy a day at Goose Lake.
Winter in Anchorage had been long, cold, and dark.
And you were ready to put your long johns, parka, mittens, and winter boots in the back part of your closet.
For people who live in the “lower 48” (49 if you count Hawaii), it’s hard for them to imagine summer in Anchorage, Alaska when people actually swim in area lakes. What? No ice sickles?
Do you know how Goose Lake came to be?
Fort Richardson and the Army
Did you know that the area that includes Goose Lake was once the property of the U.S. Army?
Then, in 1956, the land was deeded to the city of Anchorage. Goose Lake was later developed into a park.
Dancing at Goose Lake
Mary of Anchorage Memories remembers going to the lake with her sister Betty and cousin Mary Beth (“Buttons”).
In the summer of 1966, the three danced at the beach while the loudspeakers blasted the hit 1966 song, Sweet Pea, by Tommy Roe. Remember the lyrics, “Oh Sweet Pea, won’t you dance with me?”
“How cool! it was just like the three of us were dancing on that 60s TV show, “Where the Action Is”. The show had a scene where a band was playing on a sandy beach while beach goers danced around them. Instead, we were dancing at Goose Lake and having a great time under the Alaska sun.”
Catching some Rays or “Now that’s a Sunburn”
Mike of Anchorage Memories remembers learning about sunburns the hard way.
“One year when I was about 14, I decided to spend the early afternoon sun bathing at Goose Lake to get a really cool tan.
There I was laying face down on my beach blanket. I was listening to the music being played over the beach loudspeakers and hearing the radio announcer telling everyone at Goose Lake that it was time to “roll over” if you were working on your sun tan.
But I didn't roll over
And when it was time to go home I had a horrible sun burn on my back.
That year I had a newspaper delivery route and I had to wear my newspaper bag over my shoulders and on my sunburned back. Ouch, ouch, and triple ouch.”
Yes, You can Share this Edition with Friends and Family
Even if you have never been to Goose Lake, Spenard Lake or the Spa… Hey, even if you don’t know how to swim, you can still be cool.
Be cool by sharing this edition.
Just click on the following link:
Meanwhile, Over at Spenard Lake
In the photo above is Spenard Lake in the late 1940s or early 1950s we think.
The Early Days
Around 1915, a homesteader named Thomas Jetter had set up housekeeping on what became known as Jetter Lake.
But the area had not been opened up to homesteading, so Jetter had to leave.
Shortly after his departure, homesteading was allowed, and Joe Spenard jumped at the chance. He realized that the people of Anchorage needed the lumber that was around the lake. A lucrative business indeed.
But Joe Spenard saw another opportunity as well.
He would develop the lake and the land around the lake – and create a full-scale resort.
There was a Bathing Beach, Bath Houses and a Roadhouse and Dance Pavilion.
Joe Spenard had the first vehicles in Anchorage and was soon using them to transport the town folk to and from his resort over his new road (now Spenard Road).
Did you know that Anchorage Memories has a store? It’s filled with Anchorage and Alaska e-books, videos, audio stories and even some art.
Take a look at the Anchorage Memories Store and discover.
In the photo above is The Spa swimming pool
All year long, yes, even on the coldest days, Anchorage had an indoor swimming pool. Swimmers could look out the giant wall of windows and see snow in the winter, while they happily splashed away in the warmth of The Spa.
Remember when area schools bused students to The Spa for swimming lessons? Mike of Anchorage Memories recalls being bused from Clark Junior High to The Spa where he learned to swim.
The Wet Hair Walk
Mary of Anchorage Memories was bused to The Spa from Central Junior High. Mary also remembers how the cold winter air caused the girls’ wet hair to slightly steam as they walked from The Spa to the waiting bus and then from the bus back into the school. Hair dryers anyone?
What are your memories of The Spa?
Would you like to know more about The Spa and how it came about?
Take a look at the Anchorage Spa Swimming Pool and enjoy.
From Our North Stars (that’s you)
In our look at Anchorage Pioneer Martha “Mother” White we made an error when we wrote that Tyonek was “east” of Anchorage. Fortunately, one of our North Stars caught the error.
“ Correction: Tyonek is 42 miles to the west of Anchorage, across Cook Inlet.”
Thank you, Doug, for catching that error. Now Anchorage Memories needs to get a new compass, or learn how to read the old one.
And this comment from our closing remarks about the man known as “Russian Jack”.
“I grew up close to Russian Jack Springs. Back in the 60’s you could get a “driver’s license” for a scooter under so many horsepower and legally drive on the roads. I bought a scooter with money saved from paper routes and used my scooter to go babysitting. But a girlfriend and I used to pack a lunch and get on the scooter and go to Russian Jack Springs and picnic. I'm not so sure two little 14-year-old girls should be doing that now. But back then, it was pure heaven to be able to go anywhere you wanted and be safe!”
What are Your Center Bowl Memories?
Did you bowl at the Center Bowl? Or grab a bite at the Center Cafe?
We have bunches of great memories about bowling at the Center Bowl in Spenard. And it was always fun to have lunch in the café.
What are your Center Bowl memories?
Share your memories. Or, you can send us a note to say, “I loved going to Goose Lake”. It’s easy. Just reply to this email, or you can Contact Us right here.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary