Monthly Archives: June 2014

1906 Map of Tanana River


Lake Salchaket Roadhouse

Lake Salchaket Roadhouse

This map, dated 1906 and part of the Rare Maps Collection, in the Alaska & Polar Regions Collections, at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, show the Tanana River and its tributaries from the Chena RIver to Delta River. Created by E. H. DeWolf, the map shows roadhouses, the telegraph line and cabins along Tanana River. Relief is shown by hachures.





The map can be explored in large resolution at this link on the Alaska DIgital Archives site. Points of interest shown on the map, from east to west along the Tanana River, are the following roadhouses and other sites:

  • McCathy’s Trading Post
  • Maxey’s Roadhouse
  • Big Kid’s Roadhouse
  • Joe Henry’s Roadhouse
  • 1906 Fairbanks Pcard

    Fairbanks Alaska April 4th, 1906

    Little Delta

  • Salchaket Roadhouse
  • US Military Telegraph Station
  • Maloney’s Cabin
  • Loggers Cabin
  • Piledriver (Roadhouse?)
  • Moose Creek Cabin
  • 14 Mile House
  • Fish Camp Cabin
  • 10 Mile House
  • Fairbanks Telegraph Station
  • Fairbanks Portage (Roadhouse?)
  • Chena Telegraph Station


Early Iditarod Trail Roadhouses

Coleen Mielke has compiled the roadhouses of the early Iditarod Trail and presents them with this introduction:

The following information is part of a book called ALASKA’s HISTORIC ROADHOUSES,  a 1974 publication (pages 40-49) by the Office of Statewide Cultural Programs, Alaska Division of Parks, Department of Natural Resources. Many thanks go to its principal investigator: Michael E. Smith for making this information available.

Safety Roadhouse and dogs, on the Iditarod Trail.

Safety Roadhouse and dogs, on the Iditarod Trail.



Life at the Talkeetna Roadhouse: A Look at Life and Humor at an Alaskan Roadhouse, by Ronald C. Garrett

66 page paperback published by Alien Publishing, 1st edition 1998

A great book sharing many humorous stories of people and events in Talkeetna in the 1970’s. Wry anecdotes about the Talkeetna Roadhouse and its idiosyncratic but beloved owners, Carroll and Verna Close. Also includes others– like climber Ray Genet. –Bearfoot Alaska Travel Guides

retail-book-recipes2Alaska Roadhouse Recipes: Memorable Recipes from Roadhouses, Lodges, Bed and Breakfasts, Cafes, Restaurants and Campgrounds Along the Highways and Byways of Alaska and Canada, by Kris Graef (Editor)

228 page paperback published by Morris Communications Corp. January 1999

From the editors of The Milepost, Alaska Roadhouse Recipes features recipes from roadhouses, lodges, bed and breakfasts, cafes, restaurants and campgrounds along the! highway and byways of Alaska and Canada. The almost 200 recipes include breakfasts, appetizers, breads, main dishes, desserts, soups, salads, side dishes, sauces, syrups, preserves and beverages. Several tried and true sourdough starter recipes are included, along with recipes for sourdough pancakes, muffins and cakes. From Deep-Fried Fiddleheads in Beer Batter as an appetizer, to Copper River King Salmon Chili as a main course, and Alaska Rhubarb Pie for dessert, cooks will relish these special recipes from the North. Photos and captions profile the personalities and places that contributed to Alaska Roadhouse Recipes.

New Roadhouse Recipes

224 pages, published by by Morris Communication Corp. 2004



UnknownThe Trail: The Story of the Historic Valdez-Fairbanks Trail that Opened Alaska’s Vast Interior by Kenneth L. Marsh

406 page 8″x10″ paperback, published by the Trapper Creek Museum, 2008

From the back cover: The discovery of gold spawned the need for a primitive trail, some 360 miles long, through a completely northern wilderness. This great trail would lead into the very heart of Alaska. It would be built under extreme conditions and would be traveled under these same conditions by tough, hardy people. As “The Trail” continued to be improved, it became the catalyst for helping to develop the great Interior of Alaska, by connecting Valdez on the coast to Fairbanks in the Tanana Valley. The story of “The Trail” is much more than one of just the historical opening of a new territory and the economic development of a region by a trail. It is really an adventure story of a time and way of life that will never be seen again; a time when Alaska was untamed, and people with a goal or a dream came from a warmer, gentler latitude to traverse its wild, harsh expanse, and survive while doing so. Furthermore, it is a story of the roadhouses, telegraph lines, and the people who built and ran them along “The Trail”. It was these folks who made it possible for the overwhelmed travelers, who ventured either on foot or in open horse-drawn sleds, at 50 degrees below zero, not only to survive, but also to find a little comfort while doing so. “The Trail” would eventually become the Richardson Highway of today. There will never be a time filled with more adventures and stories than those found along “The Trail”. A few of these adventures, and the historical facts surrounding them, are chronicled in this book. Hundreds of historical photographs, and maps and tables.

1944 Alaska Highways

An excerpt from Recreational Resources of the Alaska Highway and Other Roads in Alaska, published December, 1944 by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Sourdough Roadhouse

Sourdough Roadhouse

The Alaska roadhouse is an institution which must be encountered familiarly to be appreciated. There the term does not connote in the least the type of use or misuse which has come to be associated with it in the States. Alaska roadhouses are functional necessities to travel through country populated sparsely or not at all. They are inns or taverns in the honest, Colonial sense, providing food and shelter for the traveler today as they did for his predecessor a generation ago, but now supplying oil and gasoline for the motor car instead of the hay and grain required by its equine forerunner. More, they often serve as trading posts for tributary populations, whether Native or white, sources of supply for pack trains, prospectors, and trappers, the first link in the chain of processes through which the raw pelt becomes milady’s stole. They are post offices as well as general stores, often linking enough functions to become real communities in themselves.

Tiekel Roadhouse

Tiekel Roadhouse

The earlier roadhouses were apt to be sprawling, one-storied, log-buildings, with sod roofs perhaps strangely fitted together. Later came structures of two or even three stories, some of squared logs, others of frame construction, sometimes incongruous with their wilderness settings. In planning for the accommodation of recreational travelers, it would seem a fitting tribute to the part which these buildings have played in the development of Alaska, to adopt the better principles which they have exemplified, with such modern adaptations as would add to the comfort of the visitor without sacrificing atmosphere and precedent.

Continue reading. 

Old Alaskan Roadhouses