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Fred Elvsaas, Interview 1, Part 1, Side A

Fred Elvsaas was interviewed on August 8, 2008 by Charles Mobley for the Seldovia Sewer and Water Monitoring -- Archeological Monitoring Project at Fred's home in Seldovia, Alaska. This is Side A of the first part of a two part interview. In this part of the interview, Fred talks about growing up in Seldovia, being a kid on the boardwalk, his family's activities, fishing, and various buildings and businesses in the community.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2008-21_PT.1_SIDEA

Project: Seldovia
Date of Interview: Aug 8, 2008
Narrator(s): Fred Elvsaas
Interviewer(s): Charles Mobley
Transcriber: Jan Yaeger
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Park Service, Seldovia Village Tribe
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Personal background and childhood

Visiting his godmother and his grandmother

Preserving and sharing fish

Having a cow and sharing milk

Catching and preparing fish

Playing baseball and other games as a child

Arrival of the steamship

The boardwalk in Seldovia

His mother taking in other children so they could attend school in Seldovia

Access to water and having a well

Fred Hoen and life at Hoen's Spit, and growing and digging potatoes

Early construction of the boardwalk

Native houses and church property

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


CHARLES MOBLEY: Okay, today is August 8th of 2008, and this is Chuck Mobley, and I'm sitting here in Seldovia, Alaska with Fred -- Is it Elvsis?


And I'm working on the Seldovia Sewer and Water Monitoring -- Archeological Monitoring Project, and Fred's very graciously signed the Oral History Release Form for UAF.

That's cool with you, right?

FRED ELVSAAS: That's right, yes.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Very good. And, could you tell me, first of all, when you were born and who your parents were?

FRED ELVSAAS: Okay, I was born in Seldovia May 28, 1933. And my father was Herman Elvsaas and my mother was Agnes Elvsaas. Her maiden name was Ponchene.

CHARLES MOBLEY: How did your folks get here? Were they local?

FRED ELVSAAS: My -- my -- father came from Norway. He came through New York, Ellis Island, on to North Dakota to Seattle and to Seldovia on a sailing ship.

And my mother was born in Kodiak and came to Seldovia when she was young. With her mother, my grandmother.

So they met here and they got married and there was eight of us kids, four boys and four girls.

CHARLES MOBLEY: And what are your earliest childhood memories?

FRED ELVSAAS: Probably, the earliest I can remember with a lot of certainty is my sixth birthday. I recall it was a nice sunny day and my grandmother was at our house and my mother was there.

And they told me to -- not to leave home, that they were going to have a big surprise for me. And I really wanted a bicycle. And I just knew, because my older brother Allan had a bicycle, that I would get a bicycle.

And after awhile I was on the porch and just sitting in the sun. It was early morning and my grandmother came out holding what I thought at that time was the ugliest thing I ever saw. Was my younger sister, Inga.

And so we share the same birthday. And now she lives in Lakeside Terrace and I still call her my bicycle.

So that's -- you know, I can remember that with certainty.

I remember as a young kid, we had a house that was two stories over a basement, which in Seldovia at the time was a fairly large house, and we had a shop and underneath the shop was the woodshed and a banya (sauna).

And of course, on the outer side was an outhouse and we had a boardwalk. We had our own right within our own little compound-like thing.

And we had a wire fence on the street side. So we had a nice yard. And we had two places where my dad put sawhorses in the ground where we could saw logs for firewood.

And us boys would saw wood and split wood and pack wood. It was always important to pack wood for not only the house, for the cookstove and the heat, but also for the banya.

We had at that time a large banya which a lot of people, when they saw smoke from the banya, would come and visit. And my mother was great for hosting. Tea and fish and so forth for ladies and friends that could come to the banya.

And when I was quite small, probably in the six, seven year old size, I would have to walk through town on the old boardwalk to my godmother and godfather's house, Fred and Olga Balashoff, and bring them up to the house for banya.

And after dark, after banya was over, they would have their banya and a bite to eat, and then my sister would walk them back home.

And I don't know if they were her godparents also, but they were mine.

And that was important that I would go down and pack coal in the coal bucket for them and cut kindling wood for the fire for them. And I felt pretty important, as small as I was, doing that.

And it was a lot of fun to me because my godmother always had something for me. In turn, I would stop at my grandmother's house partway home, and she always wanted to know what my godmother Olga gave me because she would try to give me something better, so I learned at an early age to be with the people that would give me something.

And you know, it was important if you could get a cookie or something. They used to make that homemade hard candy from brown sugar and milk and that was a real treat.

So when I was small, I could remember doing that. And then as we got older, my parents -- we would move from Seldovia across the bay to Hoen's Spit and we had gardens over there.

My mother grew a lot of vegetables and we had two potato gardens. My mother went to school in Chemawa, Oregon and learned how to preserve foods.

And my dad was a fisherman and he worked on the fish traps in Cook Inlet. So he would put up salt fish and smoked fish.

And at that time, they had the square gas cans and he used to clean the gas cans out and put smoked fish in them. And it was always his goal to get three to five cans of smoked fish, because it was easy for them to put up the king salmon for smoked fish.

Where, over on the Spit, we gathered wood for the stove and we, of course, had to pack water for the gardens, and weed the gardens and hoe the potatoes. And even at a very young age, we were in the garden as a group, all of us.

So as I grew older, my younger sisters, they would also be there and my mother was real good at making things family projects.

And then we got king salmon from the fish trap outside of Hoen's Spit and we canned fish. And my mother's goal for canning king salmon was 200 quart jars every summer.

And as I grew older, me and my brothers realized that we had to wash the jars, which wasn't easy. And about half of that fish was giveaway. My mother would give to people -- people that didn't have stuff.

And that was a real bone of contention as we were growing up in probably the ten, twelve-year-old age. And if you wanted to start a fight while we were washing jars, we'd just say, "Well, I washed all the jars for us and you're washing for giveaway."

And that would start a pretty good fight with us boys. But we did these things and we also --

My dad bought a cow and a bull from somebody in Homer.

So we had the cow on the Spit and we always had a lot of fresh milk. And in the fall of the year, my dad had a big red dory with oars and -- there was no outboards around then and -- and there was one or two, but we didn't have one.

And he'd back the skiff up to the beach and the cow would step in and he would row across the bay with the cow. And bring it in to town and let it off on the beach and then the cow would walk up to -- where the airport is now was -- a hayfields that -- at that time Bill Goyer had cows there.

And we put our cow with his. And then as it got colder, towards winter, we brought the cow in to town.

By where the old sawmill was, they had a barn and a small lot there, and my dad, through all the snow months, would feed the cow alfalfa.

And so we had milk in town, and my mother put milk in pint jars and me and my sisters -- and I don't know why my older sister and I especially, we had to deliver milk to people.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Here in Seldovia?

FRED ELVSAAS: Around town, yeah. And -- and of course we had certain people to give the milk to, but there was always others that would stop us and want the milk and so forth, and want to buy the milk.

And I don't remember what my mother got for the milk, but they wanted to -- buy milk from us. And we could only sell it if we had extra milk, which we didn't.

So that was quite a chore. We always had chores to do. It was no time that we ever would tell our parents, I'm bored, there's nothing to do.

That -- that meant you -- there would be a chore for you to do right then and there.

But -- but it was a good life. We played a lot in the slough. We chased fish up and down the slough and we caught fish in the slough. There was a tremendous amount of pink salmon and dog salmon come in the slough in those days.

And my folks put up fish for our dog. We had a very large dog called Snifter. And we would catch fish.

Also, we had a coffee can with a wire handle on it, that we'd go up on the creek and catch two or three female fish and drain the eggs into the coffee can. Then we would catch three or four male humpies and cut the humps off of them and put in the can, because they were real rich with fat and so forth and we'd let the fish go.

And then we'd take one female fish. And we could catch them by hand. We were pretty good at that. We grew up with the fish and we knew how to handle the fish and not bruise the fish.

We learned that very early and -- But when we had the coffee can full with the eggs and the humps and the one female fish, we took it to our grandmother and she would make soup.

And, you know, if you remember your grandma, they always make the best.

And if we had that boiled eggs and humps at home, we really didn't care for it, but if grandma made it, it was delicious.

And so we grew up that way, and we learned, you know, early on that when you got your chores done, you could go out and play and so forth.

And at the time of the boardwalk, the beach, when the tide was out, was our playground. We didn't have a playground as people know it today.

And when we played baseball, if you batted the ball in the water, you were out. That was -- that was a strict rule, because then we had to get a skiff and get the ball and so forth and it would stop the game.

And so we learned how to play baseball that way. And we also played football on the beach.

And that was a lot of games when we were smaller. There was a popular game called Fox and Geese with a circle in the sand and kids running around. And I really don't recall exactly how it was.

But then on the boardwalk itself was several places where people marked off with chalk for hopscotch and that was quite a game and -- 'til as we got older, we figured it was a girls' game.

And so we stopped playing that.

But as a kid, it was a real thrill when the steamship would come in. The Alaska Steam would come in.

They would bring the freight in and take the canned salmon and salt fish and so forth out, and the halibut and all -- all the products that the plants made. The fish meal and the fish oil, I believe there was a separate ship for that.

But, anyway, on the steamship they had a little store. And it was open so you could go in and find different kinds of suckers and gum and so forth that you couldn't find in the stores in town.

And (dog barks) 'course, the ship's crew was always nice to us as kids. They would give us treats and what-not so -- so that was a lot of fun, especially when we were younger.

As we got older, we looked to -- for jobs working on the ships and so forth. Unloading the freight and -- but -- they -- the ship would come in periodically about every three weeks to a month and in the wintertime, less.

But there was one time when we did have three ships in the harbor. One anchored out, and one anchored in the harbor, and one waited at the dock loading canned salmon. It was a tremendous year for fish, apparently, and I was quite young. I remember real well that it was such a great thing.

When one ship left, we'd run aboard the next ship and go to the little store and see what we could get.

And -- but most of the town would go down on the dock when the ships came in, because they were passenger-freight ships and they would see people that were traveling to western Alaska and so forth and visit.

It was just a nice, nice time.

But you know, along the boardwalk was a railing that was just right for sitting on. And so the whole boardwalk was a meeting place. You could walk down the boardwalk and meet anybody and talk to them.

And, of course, then as young kids, we thought it was real smart to walk under the boardwalk. We walked on the beach and if the tide was low enough or so forth, and most of the boardwalk was on the upper reach of the tide, so we could walk under the boardwalk.

And grown-up people couldn't see us, but we could see them. And we thought that was pretty clever.

And nowadays it would be nothing, but at that time we really had a lot of fun playing under the canneries and so forth.

And all the young people at that time knew everything that was under the canneries. I recall one time we were playing and running and one kid forgot and he ran into a brace on a piling under the cannery and knocked himself out and we thought he was dead.

And we were trying to figure out how to pack him up to the boardwalk and after awhile he stood up. And there was a girl, a neighbor girl of ours that was there at the time, and she said, "Well, he really was dead, but he came back to life."

And that scared the dickens out of us as we were probably about eight years old at the time.

And he was this kid, you know, and he was just stiff on the beach. I recall, I thought he was dead.

And I would imagine somebody probably said he's dead and we all took the idea. And then when he sat up, boy, we took off running. We didn't want to be around him.

And the other thing was over in the lagoon, when we were across the bay, at the end of the fish season, the fish canneries had a lot of small barges, fish scows, that they would put up for the winter.

And 'course, being a curious bunch of kids like we were, we went to every one. We knew they covered the seams on the decks of the scows with a pitch, a real -- not tar but the pitch.

And (dog barks) made with resin from trees and we would get this pitch and chew it like gum. And we knew which canneries had the best scows for getting pitch and so forth.

And, of course, our mother always told us our teeth would fall out if we kept doing that, but we did it anyway.

But my mother took in other kids from Portlock and Port Graham that couldn't go to school, especially high school. So we always had bigger sisters, like. So you know, we had to be real good around them.

And they came to Seldovia, because we did have a school and they wanted to get educated.

And she did that just because she wanted them to have a chance, so she got to go to school in Oregon and she wanted other kids to have that chance.

So at home we had a large, round table, and if I remember right, I think it was ten chairs fit at the table. But then we had a low cupboard on one side of the kitchen, and about four or five kids would eat at the table 'cause there wasn't room at the table for everybody in our house.

And so we -- our house was a little more roomy than most homes at the time.

Our upstairs area was two large bedrooms, one side for the boys, one side for the girls. And in between was a room where the steps came up and some of those girls that went to school stayed there.

There they had a bed behind some curtains there and so forth. And I know my parents' bedroom was downstairs, and these girls were kind of like the watchdogs, making sure we were quiet and so forth.

'Cause you know how kids go. My brother and I shared a bed and my friend, a neighbor boy, Zenas, who at that time we called Chun, he would stay with us quite often.

His parents didn't have a whole lot at home and he would eat with us and stay with us.

And my mother was very strict about clean clothes. And he would always have to wash his clothes and so forth when he came to stay with us. And we did, too.

Us boys, we had to scrub our pants on our deck with our scrub brush and so forth because everything was done by hand.

And it was no automatic washers to throw your clothes in. And my mother always said, you know, you may be ragged but you certainly can be clean.

And so we -- we grew up that way.

And you know, the area in Seldovia was busy. And at that time, we had the sawmill here on the slough, and they worked most of the winter except when it wasn't freezing.

But when it was freezing they had to stop. And they cut trap-capping for all the fish traps and they -- that they had contracts with, and also lumber for home-building.

And a lot of houses in those days were built out of boards. My dad's house was built with boards from the sawmill and frames from the sawmill.

And then he sheeted it with lap siding that he bought from outside. So -- so like I say, that, our home was a little better than most homes at the time. And we had a great time.

We had a well fairly close to Lake Susan, which was mostly used for washing and bathing and so forth. But for good drinking water, we would go up to Fish Creek and get fresh water out of the creek.

It had a much, much better taste. And so every chance we had, we got fresh water from Fish Creek with this -- we had a small skiff, and we'd put about six five-gallon cans in the skiff and row up with the tide and fill up the water and, of course, play with the water.

There was a pipe that the water came out of. Gravity feed. And we'd certainly -- by the time we got home, we were all soaking wet and so forth. But -- and we'd have to change clothes and so forth.

Pack the water buckets up. And there was a closet-like on our porch that we kept the water in, that -- the fresh water. The well water -- from time to time the Health Department would come to Seldovia and they'd slap a sticker on all the wells and close the doors and it would -- said the well was not fit for human consumption and not to break the seal.

And as soon as they left on the mail boat, everybody took the seals and just opened the door anyway, because they had to have the water.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Were these hand-dug wells?

FRED ELVSAAS: Yes. They were hand-dug, yeah.

CHARLES MOBLEY: And how deep did they go?

FRED ELVSAAS: The well we had was probably about fifteen feet deep.

CHARLES MOBLEY: And how big around?

FRED ELVSAAS: About six to eight feet. It had a house over it and there was a pulley for a rope so you could put a bucket down and lift it with the pulley.

But we never liked to use that. We always thought we were pretty strong, and we would pull the buckets up by hand and, of course, naturally, spill a lot of it on the way.

But -- but you'd take what was called the well bucket, the bucket that stayed there, and fill cans and then pack the cans of water home.

And we had yokes, and so if -- when we were small, we would use smaller cans. And like my sisters, they would pack water in lard buckets and stuff like that. Anything to -- because, we would all do it.

And it was another one of those things where my mother had us all working together. And she'd say, "Well, now we're going to go to the well." And we would fill up a lot of buckets at home as well as washtubs for washing.

So that way, when it was wash day she had plenty of water. And it was a great, great day when we got running water.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Were the wells lined with rocks or wood or anything?

FRED ELVSAAS: No, no, there was just hand-dug and -- matter of fact, if you was to let the bucket touch the side of the well, it would dirty the water. So in the well house, there was an opening about three by three feet in the center, so you almost had to swing the bucket to hit the sides.

And now, not all the wells were like that. Some were in harder dirt.

Dad Ritchie, Mr. Ritchie, he had a well up toward the schoolhouse.

And he dug it down in the rock and hit a spring and he had water piped from his well down to his house and on down to Judge Chambers' house and store, and along the boardwalk to, oh, it was Baltazar's (sp?) store, a clothing store, and on up to the Methodist-Lutheran church.

And there was always a big thing.

Mr. Ritchie was my wife's stepfather, and in later years, he would tell us about how the poor people at the church could hardly get water. They'd almost have to leave their faucet open all the time whenever Mrs. Chambers took a bath, because she drained all the water out of the system.

But that was the first running water in Seldovia. And he put that in in the 1930s, before the city got water in the '40s. And so --

And Mr. Ritchie had a wonderful garden. He grew lettuce that made actual heads. Where we grew lettuce that was leaf lettuce. And --

CHARLES MOBLEY: Where -- when you had gardens at Homer Spit, were there other families that have -- that gardened over there? FRED ELVSAAS: No, no. CHARLES MOBLEY: Just you.

FRED ELVSAAS: No. This is Hoen's Spit, not Homer. CHARLES MOBLEY: Oh, oh, oh. FRED ELVSAAS: Across the bay. CHARLES MOBLEY: Okay.

FRED ELVSAAS: Right across the bay by the Elephant Rock. CHARLES MOBLEY: H-O-N-E?

FRED ELVSAAS: H-O-E-N-S. Hoen's Spit. The -- It was named after Fred Hoen, who -- he also had a house out there, a cabin.

His house was big logs sunk into the sand, and then the upper half out of heavy timbers from the fish traps. And a roof. And then from his house, we had a covered walkway over to our house.

And then our house was a large place. One room and a stove.

But then, when we were over there, Mr. Hoen went out fishing on the fish traps. He worked for Fidalgo Island Packing Company.

So he had to leave early in the spring. And then we would use his house for cooking and eating. And so -- so it worked real good.

And by the time that he came back in the fall, we were ready to move back to town.

And then later, after we came back to town, we would go over and dig the potatoes when it was frost on the ground and so forth.

And my dad and Mr. Hoen would dig the potatoes and us kids would pick them and put them in the sacks.

And it was kind of important that you tried to pick them without knocking a lot of dirt off because we had to put them in the root cellars and they wanted them to keep well in the root cellars.

But we also had another problem with us kids with the giveaway idea. Because we had so many potatoes.

And we always thought that my mom should sell them, but she wouldn't. She'd give them to people if they needed them and so forth.

CHARLES MOBLEY: What color were they?

FRED ELVSAAS: Well, we had the -- there was the white potatoes, which had a thin skin. We had those and we really liked those. They were more as a smaller size.

Then we had a brown potato that was more like a baking potato. And then we had (phone rings) what was red potatoes. Just shut that off.

CHARLES MOBLEY: You were talking about potatoes? FRED ELVSAAS: Yeah.

CHARLES MOBLEY: The types of potatoes?

FRED ELVSAAS: Then the ones that we really liked was what we called blue potatoes. They were kind of a purplish-type color. And my dad got the seed from someplace and he said that was the type of potatoes they grew in Norway.

And we had -- I would think we got maybe a sack and a half to two sacks of those 'cause we didn't have a lot of those, compared to the other potatoes.

And he kept them and gave -- our neighbor, John Olsen, was also from Norway and a few other of his friends. You know, he'd share those, but -- but they certainly weren't for giveaway to people that my mother gave potatoes to.

And, you know, we were real careful with those because they were special and --

But when we did this, you know, we -- we used to take a rake and rake the ground over so it would be smooth for next spring, but also in raking, you'd find a few more potatoes in doing that.

And it was usually my dad, Mr. Hoen and us boys, the four of us. So that made it a pretty good trip. We didn't have our mom and the girls along.

And we sacked the potatoes and put them in the dory and rowed back home. And that was just, you know, the way things were. Rowing was a common thing.

If you were going to go anyplace, you rowed. And now, when I run across the bay with my outboard, I always wish I had a little more horsepower. I just, you know -- and to think that we used to row. It's so different. So --

CHARLES MOBLEY: Let me adjust this here.

FRED ELVSAAS: Things -- things have changed a lot through the years. You know, with the canneries building.

Now, as the boardwalk initially was -- started out as four foot wide. It was just to get from one place to another above the tide.

People walked along the beach at first. Then each year as they rebuilt it --

And the boardwalk was started by Mr. Estus, who had Cook Inlet Packing Company. He owned the company. And he was furthest from the dock.

And in those days, instead of transporting stuff from the canneries down the boardwalk to the dock, they put them on barges and towed the barges over to the ship.

The ship laid at the dock and the barges laid on the outside and they loaded the canned salmon onto the ship that way. But then they got together all the store owners and so forth.

And they raised enough money to buy the lumber and so forth, and people just went ahead and built. People want -- along the boardwalk wanted a boardwalk and they worked on it.

And it was -- nobody got paid, other than what Mr. Estus paid for the four-foot boardwalk. He hired a crew to do that.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Was this the same Estus, or related to the Estuses in Moose Pass? FRED ELVSAAS: No. CHARLES MOBLEY: No?

FRED ELVSAAS: No. No. No. No. Mr. Estus -- his daughter was married to Gene Mason, who had a fish tender here, and packed salmon for the cannery. But then he was the smallest of the canneries during the heyday of the salmon cannery, but when he started out, he was a fairly large plant.

And he had fish traps near and around Ninilchik. He'd -- that was pretty much where Estus got his fish was from Ninilchik.

And he also canned king salmon when he could get them, which -- in that area, the Deep Creek kings and so forth were a popular fish with him.

Now below Deep Creek, was two fish traps that fished for the AYR cannery.

And -- but as they built the boardwalk, it grew to eight feet and then, about somewheres around after the war, they made the boardwalk ten feet except on the far end of town.

Beyond the dock, there was no need for commerce down there. That stayed at eight feet.

And then, wherever buildings were set back from the boardwalk, they decked it over. So in front of the stores and so forth there was always more decking and wider than the boardwalk was.

And especially in front of the Linwood Bar, it was set back about twenty feet from the boardwalk, so they had a pretty good deck in front.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Set back towards the water side?

FRED ELVSAAS: Toward the water. They were on the outside, yeah.

And then the boardwalk level was established, but the Seldovia House, the hotel, was built before the boardwalk was at that level, so it was lower. You had to step down a step into the Seldovia House, which was the local hotel.

And so other places you had to step up. Some houses were higher than the boardwalk and --

But for the most part, most of them were fairly level with the boardwalk.

The boardwalk was level all the way through from the slough through town, until they got to a rock hill that was -- it was easier to go over it than to go around it.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Which -- what's Rock Hill?

FRED ELVSAAS: It was -- at that time it was called Kirby's Hill. Dr. Kirby lived in a log house there and it was just a little bit past where the log house is above the fuel station now.

See, the boardwalk was just a little bit further out than the street is now. And there was buildings between that area. There was a long walkway going from the boardwalk up to that log house where Jenny Chissus lives now.

And then it went up over this -- it rose about, probably about ten feet in a long span and then it was a long span going down. And there was two houses on the higher end of the boardwalk on the other side of the rock.

And one had steps going down to it and the other had a couple steps going down to it there. The one on the outside of the boardwalk was on piling.

And the other -- one that was on the ground was -- had steps coming up to the boardwalk.

Then beyond that was the Russian cemetery. And the cemetery was all nice sand. It was easy to dig and so forth.

And -- which -- for some reason, in certain nights, the mist would hang over the cemetery. And it just scared the dickens out of us kids.

We -- we would run past the cemetery and the hard part for me was my godmother lived on the other side of the cemetery and I had to go there.

And then there was several houses down on the road after the cemetery -- the boardwalk ended. And some warehouses along there.

And an awful lot of buildings on piling in those days. There was no way to move back because in the middle of town -- first of all, there was the Russian Church on that rock and they had a -- they owned that whole hill there.

The Church property. And a lot of Native houses were built along the slope.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Can you describe that? The Native houses around the -- the Church property there?

FRED ELVSAAS: Well, there -- the church is very prominent on the hill. And then they have a kind of a triangular piece of ground that reaches back to the back road that was near the old territorial school.

And on the sides of the hill to the west was -- oh, several Native homes built out of logs, and they had grass roofs initially.

Later they got tar paper roofs. And some even had sheet iron roofs.

But when they were built, they were all grass roofs. And they cut an awful lot of grass somewheres. I'm not sure where they got it, but --

And then on this side of the hill, the hill sloped down into a low, shallow reach from the beach going back up to where the four corners of the roads is now at Alder and Main Street there. And at that intersection.

And there was the hill, which is still there, that hill. But it came into where -- even where the big brown building is now, which used to be a theater building after the earthquake.

And there was a lot of Native houses along there. And as time progressed, they were torn down and other homes built and so forth.

But then, coming further to the east from this low saddle, there was what was called Cap's Hill. And Cap's Hill rose some forty feet above the boardwalk.

It was a sheer face right along the boardwalk. And Cap Filmore homesteaded. And he had the -- it was Fulmor is his name, not Filmore. F-U-L-M-O-R.

CHARLES MOBLEY: You know, I'm -- I'm curious about that, because I've seen old plats that actually spelled it Filmore. FRED ELVSAAS: Yeah.

CHARLES MOBLEY: But the road says Fulmor. FRED ELVSAAS: Right. Yeah.

CHARLES MOBLEY: Which do you think is correct? FRED ELVSAAS: Both. CHARLES MOBLEY: Yeah.

FRED ELVSAAS: But I really don't know for sure. But --

CHARLES MOBLEY: Did he live there?

FRED ELVSAAS: He lived in front, right along the boardwalk. And when he -- when he died, Mr. Shortley bought Filmore's home and -- he didn't buy the homestead, though. He just bought the house for whatever reason. And he had a meat store there.

Surprisingly, Seldovia had dress shops, clothing stores, meat store, drug stores, soda fountains. We had all of that up until after the war.

And then it kinda just started going down from there. And -- but Filmore had his homestead what reached clear across Lake Susan.

And in the back lands back there. And Frank Raby later bought a lot of that homestead. But anyway, they -- the Cap's Hill was quite high. It was the high point in town. And --