Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

This Project Jukebox highlights conversations with long-term residents of Seward, Alaska about their lives, and traditional activities in the area around Exit Glacier from 1950-1980. The people interviewed are a diverse group, ranging from skiers, hikers and mountaineers, to snowmachiners, hunters, dogmushers, Park Service managers, and construction workers on the Exit Glacier Road that now provides easy access to the glacier and park visitor center.Photo of Exit Glacier in 1982Mushing a dog team on the glacier

Other topics discussed in the interviews include: life in Seward and how it has changed; the 1964 Earthquake; construction of the Exit Glacier Road; changes in the glacier and the local animal populations; a snowmachine tour operation on Harding Icefield; hunting; and effects of the establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park in 1980. During the interviews, people used colored pens to mark the areas they used on USGS maps. These maps are visible on this website as interactive Google maps.

Click here for a list of all the material relating to Exit Glacier and Seward, Alaska available in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library's on-line catalog [once there, refine your search using the box that appears on the bottom of the page].

People

Val Anderson Val Anderson

Val Anderson was born in Seward, Alaska in 1926, and raised on his family's homestead on Caribou Island in Skilak Lake. His father was a big game hunting guide in the area. Val moved to Cooper Landing in 1940, when he was fourteen years old, after his mother passed away. He served in the Army from 1944 to 1946 and was stationed at Shemya Island in the Aleutians Islands. He worked for the Alaska Road Commission on the road to Kenai, as a fisherman in Cook Inlet, and as a longshoreman for the... Read More

Mary Barry Mary Barry

Mary Barry was born in Seward, Alaska in 1928. Her father worked for the Alaska Railroad and later ran the town's main building supply business. Mary attended college at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, and married her husband, Mel, in 1951. They had two children, and have lived in Anchorage for many years. Mary has become well-known as an author of Alaska history. Some of her publications include: Seward, Alaska: A History of the Gateway City, Pts. 1-3 (M.J.P. Barry, Anchorage, AK... Read More

Percy Blatchford Percy Blatchford

Percy Blatchford was born in Teller, Alaska in 1929. His father was a fox farmer originally from England, and his mother was from Shishmaref, Alaska. After World War II when fur prices crashed, the family moved to Nome, Alaska. Percy came to Seward in 1954 after serving in the Army, when his mother was sent there for tuberculosis treatment in the local sanitorium. Percy worked as a blaster on the construction of Exit Glacier Road, as a longshoreman, as a carpenter, and as a laborer. Percy... Read More

Jackie and Keith Campbell Keith Campbell

Keith Campbell came from Iowa to Seward, Alaska in 1971 for a job as hospital administrator for Seward General Hospital. He retired in 1990. He is married to Jackie Campell, and together they raised three sons. Keith is an outdoor enthusiast who leads an active lifestyle of hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and snowmachining.

Jackie and Keith Campbell Jackie Campbell

Jackie Campbell is married to Keith Campbell, and they came from Iowa to Seward, Alaska in 1971 when he got a job as hospital administrator for Seward General Hospital. Jackie raised her three sons in Seward, and now has sixteen great-grandchildren. Jackie is an outdoor enthusiast who leads an active lifestyle of hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and snowmachining.

Louis "Packy" Dick Louis "Packy" Dick

Louis "Packy" Dick was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Seward, Alaska where his father worked for the military during World War II. He got the nickname, "Packy," from his mother and sister when he was a boy, referring to his penchant for collecting things. Packy has done all kinds of work in his life, from longshoring, to logging, to operating heavy equipment, and building docks around Alaska. He retired in 1991. He has been an avid snowmachiner in Seward, since they were first... Read More

Keith Freeman Keith Freeman

Keith Freeman was born in New Hampshire in 1943, and came to Alaska in 1966 at the age of 23. He has worked in construction and as a heavy equipment operator, in particular for a few months on the Exit Glacier Road in Seward, and twenty-one years doing road maintenance in Cooper Landing for the State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He retired from the State of Alaska in 1999, but since 1975 has had his own business, KF Construction, which does jobs in the... Read More

Tom Gillespie Tom Gillespie

Tom Gillespie was born in 1953 and raised in Seward, Alaska. His father worked as a longshoreman and a logger. The family had a homestead on Old Exit Glacier Road and Clear Creek. Tom is an avid outdoorsman, climber, skier, and runner. He has worked as a hunting guide, in the construction industry, and as a heavy equipment operator. In the 1980s, he and his wife ran Creekside Cabins, a bread and breakfast accomodation in Seward.

Ralph and Anne Hatch Anne Hatch

Originally from Wisconsin, Anne Hatch came to Seward, Alaska in 1946 to teach English at the high school. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus, a Lutheran college in Minnesota, and taught school for three years in Minnesota. She met her husband, Ralph, at a Rainbow Girls dance in Seward, and they married in 1948.

Ralph and Anne Hatch Ralph Hatch

Ralph Hatch was born in Unalaska, Alaska, lived in Seldovia, Alaska and moved to Seward, Alaska in 1930 when his parents got jobs at the Jessie Lee Home. Ralph met his wife, Anne, at a Rainbow Girls dance in Seward, and they married in 1948. Ralph worked as a longshoreman, served in the Army at Whittier, Alaska during World War II, and was an early champion of the Mt. Marathon running race in Seward - running it for the first time in 1946.

Warren and Mary Huss Warren Huss

Originally from Michigan, Warren Huss moved to Seward, Alaska in 1971 when he got a job as a dentist. He married Mary Huss in 1965, and they raised their family in Seward. Warren has been an active hunter, snowmachiner, skier, and outdoorsman in the Seward area. He retired in 2004.

Mary Huss Mary Huss

Mary Huss was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She married Warren Huss in 1965, and moved to Seward, Alaska in 1971 when Warren got a job as a dentist.

Yule Kilcher Yule Kilcher

Born in Switzerland in 1913, Yule Kilcher first arrived in Alaska in 1936. He homesteaded outside of Homer, helped write Alaska's constitution, served as a state senator, and is known for his love of the land and adventurous spirit. Yule Kilcher passed away in December 1998. For more about Yule Kilcher.

Keith Knighten Keith Knighten

Keith Knighten was born in Oregon in 1929, and came to Seward, Alaska in 1965 with the U.S. Coast Guard. He married his wife, Dorothy, in 1948, and they had two sons. Retiring after twenty years of service in the Navy and Coast Guard, Keith settled in Seward and worked as a charter boat operator, started a booking agent business, and flew commercially for Harbor Air, a local flying service. Keith flew all over the Kenai Peninsula and in all kinds of conditions, whether it was taking hunters... Read More

Duane and Sanna LeVan Duane LeVan

Duane LeVan was born in Valley City, North Dakota in 1926. He came to Seward, Alaska in 1946, after being discharged from the Navy, to visit his family who had previously moved to Seward so his father could work for the Alaska Railroad. Duane and Sanna were married in 1948, when Sanna was only eighteen years old. They have two children. The LeVan's have exciting stories to tell about surviving the 1964 Earthquake. Duane worked as a longshoreman for the Alaska Railroad, and as an equipment... Read More

Duane and Sanna LeVan Sanna LeVan

Sanna LeVan was born Sanna Gustava Urie in Seward, Alaska in 1930, where her father ran the Seward Bakery.  Sanna attended school in Seward, and then in 1948, at age 18, she married Duane LeVan. They have two children. The LeVan's have exciting stories to tell about surviving the 1964 Earthquake. The LeVans are outdoor enthusiasts who lead an active lifestyle of hiking and cross-country skiing, are avid birdwatchers, and keep daily records of weather conditions and bird sightings.

Doug McRae Doug McRae

Doug McRae was born in Seward, Alaska in 1944. He survived the 1964 Earthquake and tsunami by spending the night with his young family on the roof of their house. Doug loves the outdoors, started hunting at an early age, and spent his career as a professional big game hunting guide. He serves on Seward's Fish and Game Advisory Board, and in recent years has been creating intricate antler cut-out carvings.

Maranda Nelson Maranda Nelson

Maranda Nelson was born in 1951 in the village of Blackburn (also known as Holikachuk) on the Yukon River. She came to Seward at age three, when her mother came for tuberculosis treatment at the local sanitorium. After her mother's death in a car crash, Maranda was raised by her aunt, Lucy Broughton, who worked for many years at Seward Fisheries. Although they lived in Seward, Maranda grew up living a semi-subsistence lifestyle, going trapping, hunting, and berry picking with Lucy. Maranda... Read More

Bud Rice Bud Rice

Bud Rice was born in 1950 in San Francisco, California, and grew up in northern California. He received an undergraduate degree in forestry and conservation from the University of California Berkeley, and came to Alaska in 1976 for an interpretive naturalist job at Denali National Park. This led to a long career with the National Park Service, working in a variety of capacities in various parks in Alaska. He worked at Kenai Fjords National Park from 1983 to 1992 as a backcountry ranger and... Read More

Dan Seavey Dan Seavey

Originally from Minnesota, Dan Seavey moved to Seward, Alaska in 1963 for a job as a high school social studies teacher. Dan and his wife, Shirley, moved to a homestead on Old Exit Glacier Road in March 1964, where they continue to reside. Dan became involved in dog mushing and dog racing, ran the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973, and operated a sled dog tour business in Seward. His sons and grandsons continue to be involved in sled dog racing and dog tour operations. From the late... Read More

Page Spencer Page Spencer

Page Spencer was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1950 and grew up on the Kenai Peninsula where her father, Dave Spencer, was manager of the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Kenai National Moose Range (now the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge). Page has a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and spent her career doing scientific research and mapping work for various federal agencies in Alaska. She was on the incident command team for the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989, and... Read More

Bob White Bob White

Originally from Houghton Lake, Michigan, Bob White came to Seward, Alaska in 1972, when he was eighteen years old, to pursue his love of hunting and fishing. Bob has been an avid hunter since he was a boy. Bob has worked as a commercial fisherman, cannery worker, trapper, longshoreman, school bus driver, construction worker, carpenter, and gunsmith. At the time of Bob's 2010 inteview for the Exit Glacier Project Jukebox, he operated a small gun shop in Seward, as well as a flooring business... Read More

Gary Zimmerman Gary Zimmerman

Gary Zimmerman was born in Wisconsin, and moved from Illinois to Seward, Alaska in 1969 with his family when he was in the fourth grade. His father worked at the Bear Creek Saw Mill, as a hunting guide, and a commercial fisherman. In 1969/1970, Gary's father, Arley Zimmerman, operated a snowmachine tourism business on the Harding Icefield at the top of Exit Glacier. Gary has worked as a driller in the oil industry, and as a commercial fisherman. He is an avid snowmachiner with detailed... Read More

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