Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Jean Huddleston

Jean Huddleston was interviewed by David Krupa on July 27, 1993 at her apartment in Copper Center, Alaska. Jean had spent a long day working as a volunteer at the George Ashby Memorial Museum, named in honor of her late father. Jean's interest in local history has led her children to jokingly refer to her as a "living fossil."  Despite being exhausted, Jean carried on her roadhouse family's sense of decorum by preparing a dinner "just in case" anyone dropped by. As taping began, the delicious aroma of broiling turkey filled the room. In this interview, Jean talks about her life as a child at the Copper Center Roadhouse. She gives colorful accounts of some of the many characters who frequented the roadhouse in earlier days. Interestingly, she says that the roadhouse's role as grocery store and restaurant were more important than lodging guests. She discusses the unending work and occasional pleasures associated with the operation of the roadhouse, and chuckles over her first frightful experience with the meat slicer. From Jean's recollections, we get a sense of the closeness and interdependence of people living in the Copper River Valley during the middle part of this century.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 95-71-09

Project: Wrangell-St.Elias National Park
Date of Interview: Jul 27, 1993
Narrator(s): Jean Huddleston
Interviewer(s): David Krupa
Location of Interview:
Location of Topic:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

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


1) Introduction

2) Photo: Model-A car with man, woman, and boy in stocking cap and 2 other little boys (old gent walking by) - click here for image

3) Photo: Model-A car fitted with skis - click here for image

4) Photo: Jean Huddleston as a child holding a Teddy bear in front of bush of grandmother's front yard - click here for image

5) Photo: Jean Huddleston as a child sitting by lawn in front of grandmother's house (no photo to show)

6) Photo: Jean Huddleston as a child standing next to grandmother, house in background - click here for image

7) Photo: Jean Huddleston standing in front of her family's house at 17 months old (no photo to show)

8) Photo: Refers to photo described in Section #5 (no photo to show)

9) The Copper Center Roadhouse cook Ruth Maleen, and cooking there

10) Meals and food service at the Copper Center Roadhouse

11) The cooks at the Copper Center Roadhouse over the years, and types of clientele

12) Customers and service at the Copper Center Roadhouse

13) Supply routes for the Copper Center Roadhouse

14) Her learning to use the meat saw

15) Chores and responsibilities as a child around the Copper Center Roadhouse

16) Supplies, and Art Laverty

17) Art Laverty, and her boyfriends

18) Free time and boyfriends

19) Ben Pinks

20) Squeaky Pete

21) Frenchie Flurie

23) Big Carl

23) Types of clientele who frequented the Copper Center Roadhouse

24) Types of clientele, and family

25) Hard times in the early 1960's

26) Running the Copper Center Roadhouse, and a breakfast story

27) Growing up at the Copper Center Roadhouse

28) Her family, and keeping the Copper Center Roadhouse a family business

29) Preserving the warmth and honesty tradition of the Copper Center Roadhouse

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

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


Section 1: Huddleston, Jean\ Cameron, Bill

Section 2: Cameron, Bill -- as a boy\ Ingram, Jack -- great uncle\ Chitina\ Richardson Highway 1917\ Ingram, Beth (?) - click here for image

Section 3: Ingram, Jack\ Mrs. Ingram\ Moore, Mrs. Allen (?)\ Qualvik Mary -- mother\ Spangler, Willie\ Feaster, Joel\ Feaster, Joel -- father\ Chitina\ Seattle\ Ingram, Jack\ Ballard, WA\ California\ Mulholland Drive\ Ingram, Jack -- grandmother\ Ashby, Randall -- grandfather\ Ingram, Jack -- killed 1922 click here for image

Section 4: Huddleston, Jean -- as a child\ Huddleston, Jean -- grandmother\ Gillson, George\ Millionaire Row click here for image

Section 5: Huddleston, Jean -- as a child 3 years old\ Burke Museum

Section 6: Huddleston, Jean\ Huddleston, Jean -- grandmother\ Knowles, Mr. -- miner click here for image

Section 7: Huddleston, Jean -- family house\ Huddleston, Jean

Section 8: self -- bandage over wound\ Joy, Jimmy

Section 9: Copper Center Roadhouse\ cooks\ Maleen, Ruth -- description, cook\ food

Section 10: roadhouse -- menu family style\ plate service\ entrees\ Maleen, Ruthie

Section 11: Maleen, Ruthie\ roadhouse -- cooks\ Richard, Hazel\ Paxson\ travelers\ salesmen\ Alaska Road Commission

Section 12: roadhouse customers -- memories\ cooks\ food

Section 13: Valdez\ Anchorage\ Gilson Mercantile\ 1964 Earthquake\ groceries -- once a week\ Steadman, Cliff -- mailman and hauled freight\ meat -- beef\

Section 14: meat saw\ meat -- pork\ general store\ Ashby, George\ meat saw -- story\ meat cuts

Section 15: dining room\ beds\ bathrooms\ education\ pump gas\ money -- make correct change\ customers\ cooking\ work shifts\ Tacoma, WA\ Huddleston, Jean -- private girl's school\ work -- summer\ cook

Section 16: invention -- hamburger buns around 1950's\ Anchorage -- supplies\ Laverty, Art\ greenhouse

Section 17: garden\ Laverty, Art\ Alaska Communication System\ telephone lines -- construction\ Huddleston, Jean -- mother

Section 18: Huddleston, Jean -- sister\ Huddleston, Joanie\ Tonsina\ Huddleston, Jean -- grandmother\ Washington State\ Johnson, Jill\ Ashby, George

Section 19: Pinks, Ben -- sailor\ Copper Center Jail

Section 20: Squeaky Pete\ Laverty, Art\ WWI\ Keystone Canyon shooting\ Guggenheims\ Appalachian Mountains.\ Kentucky\ cribbage\ Big Carl\ Flurie, Frenchie

Section 21: Flurie, Frenchie -- story

Section 22: Big Carl -- story\ Squeaky Pete\ Maleen, Ruthie -- cook

Section 23: Valdez\ "Blonde Bombshell"\ truckers\ Alaska Communication System -- crews\ U.S. Army\ Alaska Road Commission\ Copper Center Roadhouse -- annex

Section 24: tourism\ Copper Center Roadhouse -- plumbing\ Huddleston, Jean -- sisters\ Huddleston, Jean -- brother\ Copper Valley School

Section 25: Huddleston, Jean -- mother\ Huddleston, Jean -- father\ Joy, Vince

Section 26: Huddleston, Jean -- parents\ Bureau of Land Management\ breakfast -- story

Section 27: Huddleston, Jean -- siblings\ Seattle, WA

Section 28: Ashby, George -- passing away\ Huddleston, Jean -- mother\ Ashby, Randall\ Huddleston, Jean -- sisters\ North Slope Borough\ Huddleston, Jean -- teaching\ Huddleston, Jean -- mother\ Ashby, Randall

Section 29: ethics -- preservation\ Ashby, George\ Huddleston, Jean -- mother\ warmth\ caring\ honesty