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George Hall, Part 2

This is a continuation of the interview with George Hall on April 16, 1999 by Karen Brewster at his office in Anchorage, Alaska. The interview began at his office on Tudor Road in Anchorage in the morning. He had artifacts and mementos from his years in Sitka at home that he wished to share, so the interview continued later that afternoon at his house in South Anchorage (Part 3). In this interview, George talks about his ten years of working for the National Park Service in Sitka, Alaska. He discusses the variety of jobs he held and many tasks he completed. The most important to him were recording Tlingit gatherings, collecting Tlingit house pieces for the park's museum collection, and coordinating the museum's exhibit design with the Tlingit community. He speaks highly of the Tlingit in Sitka, and appreciatively of the opportunities he had to work closely with and become friends with them. He also discusses the relationship between the Park Service and the community, and establishment of facilities at the park. In this second part of a three part interview, George specifically talks about recording Tlingit music and storytelling, the acquisition and restoration of the Russian Bishop's House in Sitka, and the demolition and reconstruction of a blockhouse in Sitka. He also discusses what life was like in Sitka in the 1950s and 1960s, the history of Castle Hill in Sitka, he collection and preservation of artifacts, the fire at St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church, and the construction of facilities and raising of totem poles at Sitka National Historical Park.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 98-39-12_PT.2

Project: Sitka National Historical Park Project Jukebox
Date of Interview: Apr 16, 1999
Narrator(s): George Hall
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
Slideshow
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Sections

1) The interrelatedness of Southeast history, and the honor he felt being allowed to tape record people's music and stories

2) The Russian Bishop's House (Russian Orphanage) original construction and restoration

3) Trying to get the National Park Service to acquire the Russian Bishop's House (Russian Orphanage)

4) The blockhouse that used to be at Sitka National Historical Park

5) The demolition of the blockhouse, and the community's reaction

6) Construction of a new blockhouse on a knoll in downtown Sitka

7) The blockhouses at the Park and in town continued

8) Describes life in Sitka when he first got there

9) Describes more about life in Sitka in the 1950s and 1960s

10) Leaving Sitka, what the place means to him, and what he knows about the history of Castle Hill in Sitka

11) History and archeology of Castle Hill in Sitka

12) A time capsule that was discovered, and bringing up a historic section of chain from the bottom of the harbor

13) Collecting and preserving a historic piece of iron from the Iron House

14) His ties to Sitka, how hard it was to leave, and working on the church reconstruction after the 1964 fire

15) The 1964 fire at St. Michael's Cathedral in Sitka

16) Building the Visitor Center at the Park and establishing the Cultural Center

17) Obtaining funding for a project to collect totem poles

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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.

Transcript

Section 1: history/ Wrangell/ Hoonah/ Ross, Willie/ Stevenson, Ian/ stories -- distorted/ Hope, Johnny/ opportunity/ tape recordings/ tape recordings -- accessibility/ Sitka/ Visitor Center|

Section 2: Russian Orphanage/ fire/ chapel/ Lions Club/ furnace -- coal/ Fort Ross, California/ restoration/ floor -- planking/ insulation/ Aleuts/ plant -- Devil's Club/ beliefs -- cultural/ disease -- prevention/ Washington, D.C./ Miller, Isabelle|

Section 3: beliefs -- cultural/ home -- Tlingit/ plant -- Devil's Club/ Bishop Amvrosii/ Russian Orphanage/ National Park Service/ museum -- building of/ architect/ cathedral/ Russian Orphanage -- acquisition of/ Orphanage -- drawings of|

Section 4: blockhouse -- location/ spruce/ blockhouse -- condition of/ National Park Service/ blockhouse -- demolition of/ heavy equipment/ Sitka/ Juneau/ Salmon River/ Navy/ helicopter|

Section 5: blockhouse -- demolition of/ fire/ Mr. Robertson/ helicopter -- crash/ blockhouse -- city property/ Chamber of Commerce/ Junior Chamber of Commerce -- Man of the Year/ blockhouse -- reaction/ blockhouse -- new location/ Indian Church/ logs -- cedar|

Section 6: blockhouse -- construction of/ logs -- cedar/ saw/ foundation/ logs -- peg/ insulation/ cannons/ blockhouse -- ownership of/ National Park Service/ Sitka -- city of/ Alaska Native Brotherhood|

Section 7: Native church/ priest -- entry of/ National Park Service/ blockhouse -- National Park/ Juneau/ Alaska Road Commission -- records/ Sitka/ National Park Service -- Director/ blockhouse -- construction of/ armory/ Swan Lake/ uprising -- 1850/ blockhouses -- demolition of/ blockhouses -- lack of meaning|

Section 8: Sitka -- leaving/ National Park Service -- career/ Sitka/ telephone/ telephone -- operator/ radio station/ cab drivers/ people -- acceptance of|

Section 9: people -- acceptance of/ Sitka -- sense of community/ airplanes/ Standard Oil dock/ airplanes -- off-loading/ Mt. Edgecumbe School -- access to/ Navy -- shore boat/ Coast Guard|

Section 10: Sitka -- leaving/ George Hall Day/ Sitka -- home/ growing up/ hospitality/ Castle Hill/ archeologist/ room -- in rock/ artifact -- ship's lantern/ story -- castle|

Section 11: Alaska Magazine/ Castle Hill -- story about/ Castle Hill -- archaeology/ Russian/ Indian/ parapit/ platform -- wooden/ fire -- 1896/ DeArmond, Bob/ flag/ people -- assembled/ celebration -- Alaska Day/ celebration -- play/ costumes/ platform/ bomb -- location of/ copper tube|

Section 12: Anderson, Sandy/ understanding/ bomb -- story/ time capsule/ archaeologists/ State Troopers/ historical society/ Ashby, Joe/ artifacts -- collecting/ chain link/ harbor/ Conway dock/ chain -- anchor linker/ Albertini, Fermo/ chain -- age/ Navy|

Section 13: house -- fire/ iron -- long piece/ Ashby, Joe/ artifacts -- collecting/ historical society/ door -- swivel/ gate -- destruction of/ Iron House/ museum|

Section 14: Sitka/ boat/ harbor/ islands -- cookouts/ friends/ Sitka -- leaving/ challenge/ Washington, D.C./ Mt. McKinley National Park/ church -- fire/ Senator Bartlett/ church -- drawings/ Forrest, Lynn/ architect/ Juneau/ Library of Congress/ church -- reconstruction of/ Bishop/ pillars/ altar|

Section 15: fire/ fire -- suppressant/ Russian warehouse/ church -- fire/ church -- feelings toward/ church -- bell/ bell -- disappearance of/ community -- support from/ Sitka -- love of/ Sheldon Jackson School/ Park -- land trade/ Schmidt, Henry -- Superintendent|

Section 16: Schmidt, Henry -- Superintendent / Park -- land trade/ house -- acquisition of/ Presbyterian Church/ prayer/ Mrs. Littlefield/ Cultural Center -- instructor/ Cultural Center/ Federoff, George/ Visitor Center -- cost/ museum/ Skoum, Avan?/ National Park Service/ Glacier Bay/ Washington, D.C. -- leaving/ Secretary of Interior -- Udall/ totem poles|

Section 17: totem poles/ Secretary of the Interior/ Anchorage/ Federoff, George/ Arts Council/ funding/ meetings/ Governor Hickel/ Wallen, James/ State Museum/ Smithsonian Institution/ Ketchikan|