Project Jukebox Survey
Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!
Ron Engstrom was born in 1937 in Nome, Alaska to Helga "Elsie" and Herbert Engstrom while they mined at Santa Clara Creek in the Kougarok Mining District. By1940, the family moved to Basin Creek to mine for gold, and it became Ron's permanent home. By age eight, Ron had learned to operate a dozer and later helped his father build the Basin Creek runway before the Kougarok Road was constructed. Ron served in the Alaska National Guard from 1959 until the 1970s. In 1963, he married his wife Lorena Gloria Mills and together they raised a family at Basin Creek. In 1963, Ron and his father opened their gold mine to tourism as a way to earn extra income. Their partnership with Westours/Alaska Airlines lasted ten years and brought more than 50,000 visitors to visit the mine and enjoy the Engstroms' hospitality. In the early 1970s, while working for RCA at the White Alice site on Anvil Mountain, Ron opened Engstrom Arctic Cat Sales. He sold more machines than any other franchise in the United States. He closed the business in the early 1980s to focus on mining and construction work through IUOE Local 302 from which he retired in 1998. Ron Engstrom passed away on November 20, 2020 at Basin Creek. For more about Ron Engstrom, see his obituary in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper.