history

City of Seward

The abandoned residential school in Seward where the first Alaska flag flew will come down after the Seward City Council voted to demolish it.

The Jesse Lee Home, which has been abandoned since being damaged in the 1964 earthquake, has long been a source of contention in Seward. On the one hand, it’s where Benny Benson lived—the Alaska Native teenager who designed the state’s signature flag—and a piece of Alaska’s history. On the other, the building is a wreck, and efforts over the years to renovate it have never produced results.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

Monday would have been Marilyn and Hank Every’s 68th wedding anniversary. Hank died in 2014, but the day still brought a commemoration of their life together, the last 58 years spent on a lake in Nikiski, which is now a step closer to bearing their name.

“He wanted to name it Lake Marilyn after me. But you have to be gone five years before they’ll even consider naming it after somebody, so we just decided to use our family name,” Marilyn said.

Marilyn submitted a proposal to the Alaska Historical Commission to name it Every Lake. The commission agreed and the proposal now goes to the federal level. If it’s approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, Every Lake will appear on official U.S. Geological Survey maps.


City of Soldotna

Soldotna Memorial Park will see an expansion this spring, after the city council voted unanimously Wednesday to appropriate $300,000 on a design and construction project.

The cemetery was constructed in 2011 and expanded in 2015. There's plenty of space for cremains burials and the columbarium for cremains is only half full. But city Manager Stephanie Queen reported that there are no more standard plots left in the veterans section and not many available in the public areas.

"The demand continues to be high. We're at a point where we're now ready, and I would say it's fairly critical that we move forward with this next stage of expansion," Queen said.

In the 1960s, years before Central Peninsula Hospital and decent phone service existed on the central peninsula, residents of Kenai used to have to get themselves to a log house on Linwood Lane for medical services after clinic hours.

“People would come to the house any time day of the day or night,” said Dr. Peter Hansen. We did not have a good phone system then. And sometimes there would be several people sitting on the porch waiting to talk to the doctor or get their skin stitched up from lacerations or things like that. It was a good challenge and a bit of adventure, looking back.”

Hansen retired last year after 51 years of medical practice in Kenai, some of that time being the only doctor in the area. He stocked up a lot of memories over that time and a lot of equipment.

“Over my 50 years-plus of working privately here in a private practice, I’ve replaced all sorts of equipment at different times,” Hansen said. “I always kept the old stuff in case something broke down, something went haywire, then I could bring an old piece of equipment back in and use it until the new one got fixed.”

The Native inhabitants of the Kenai Peninsula before Western contact were masters at adapting to this land. Dr. Alan Boraas, anthropology professor at Kenai Peninsula College, presented “Yaghanen, The Time Before,” a discussion about the lives of the Dena’ina people who have lived and thrived here for a thousand years, to the Kasilof Regional Historical Association.

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