Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Helge Boquist
Helge Boquist

Helge Boquist was interviewed on November 1, 1991 by Dan O'Neill and William Schneider at Helge's house in Circle, Alaska. This house is the last place downriver in the village of Circle, and was built by his son. It is directly behind a house Helge built, and large piles of wood cut to stove length are stacked between the two buildings. Pictures of his children and wife, Gladys, are prominently displayed in this neat and tidy house which Helge shares with one of their sons. In this interview, Helge talks about life along the river, gold mining at Woodchopper Creek, trapping, and about dogmushing and dog team mail carriers. He also talks about other long-time residents of Circle, making a living with hunting, fishing and trapping and wage employment at the gold mine and in Fairbanks, and traditional activities like moose hide tanning and skin sewing.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-50

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Nov 1, 1991
Narrator(s): Helge Boquist
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill, Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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


1) Coming to Alaska from Sweden, and his first jobs in Alaska

2) Coming to the Circle area and prospecting at Woodchopper, Willow, Crooked and Preacher Creeks

3) Where he worked after Preacher Creek

4) Buying supplies, river steamers, and poling on the upper Yukon River

5) Trapping with his partner, Stanley Joseph, in the Birch Creek area

6) Working on Woodchopper Creek

7) His wife, Gladys, and her family

8) His father-in-law and how he would get away from people trying to rob him

9) Dog team mail carriers along the Yukon River

10) Dogs and dog-teams

11) Getting married, and going mining

12) Going into Fairbanks in the fall of the year, after the mining season

13) Long-time Circle residents

14) Living off the country

15) Fishing

16) Tanning moose hide

17) Story about how the army moccasins froze men's feet during World War II exercises near Circle, and the advantages of skin clothing and gear

18) Camping with tents and in cabins

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: Boquist, Helge\ Sweden\ Kennicott Mine\ Kennicott - story\ Alaska Railroad - story|

Section 2: Circle\ Woodchopper\ Preacher Creek\ mining - placer claims\ Willow Creek\ Crooked Creek - prospectors\ prospecting - gear\ mining - gear\ mining - thawing\ windlass rope - rawhide\ caribou rawhide - preparation\ mining - windlass\ stove - homemade\ homemade stove - 5-gallon tin\ stove pipe - milk cans\ bush living - scavenging materials\ bush living - recycling|

Section 3: Bonanza Creek\ Deadwood Creek\ Chatanika Creek - Dredge\ Boquist, Helge\ Chatanika - story\ mining - seasonal routine\ Anderson, Jack - Mastodon Creek\ gold prices - 1930's\ mining - gold\ Mammoth Creek\ Denali, Joe - Alaska Road Commission\ Alaska Road Commission - Central\ roads - story\ bootlegger - story|

Section 4: cabins - Woodchopper Creek\ Woodchopper Creek\ river steamers\ Nenana - source of supplies\ river steamers - routes\ supplies - buying in Circle versus Nenana\ Olson\ Yukon River - poling\ poling boats - skill\ Joseph, Stanley - story of wooden propeller\ Boquist, Helge|

Section 5: Joseph, Stanley\ Boquist, Helge\ Rabbitfoot Lake\ Birch Creek\ trapping - route\ trapping - beaver|

Section 6: Woodchopper Creek\ Coal Creek\ trail - Coal Creek-Woodchopper\ Johnson, Sandy - Woodchopper|

Section 7: Boquist, Gladys\ Sextus, Joseph\ Sextus, Emma\ McQuestern, Jack\ snowshoe making - Sextus, Emma\ bill collecting - story\ gold flakes - story\ Eagle Creek\ gold nuggets - story\ Miller, Frank\ Miller Roadhouse\ Miller Creek|

Section 8: Circle - mining camp\ Circle - historic buildings\ Sextus, Joseph\ missionaries - naming\ personal names - given by missionaries|

Section 9: Palm, John\ mail carriers - Yukon River\ O'Leary, Maurice\ Jewell, Walter\ Chatanika-Circle - mail trail\ mail trail\ Central Roadhouse\ 12-mile summit\ mail trail\ Circle-Eagle - mail trail\ trails - mail carriers\ Biederman, Charlie\ Wells, Curly - Fort Yukon mail carrier|

Section 10: dog teams - historical use\ dogs - value of\ dogs - food\ trails - river ice\ trails - mail\ mail trail\ cabins - mail\ river ice - disadvantages\ travel - river ice\ mail - frequency\ mail - airplanes\ airplanes - mail carriers\ Wien Airlines\ mail - dog teams\ dog teams - mail carriers\ mail - horses\ horses - mail hauling\ Roman, Walter\ petitions - mail carriers\ protests - airplanes\ Miller Roadhouse - "Miller House"\ alcohol - bootleg\ bootleggers - Japanese woman\ bootleg - story\ Japanese relocation - stories\ protests - petition\ graveyards - Native\ clothing - insect protection\ "Grass Skirts" - story|

Section 11: Boquist, Helge\ Boquist, Gladys\ Circle Hot Springs\ trapping - division of labor\ Bennett, Frank\ Cornell, Jack\ Alaska Railroad\ mining - gold\ Bennett, Frank - writing\ Deadwood Creek - dredge\ Fairbanks Exploration Company\ foreman qualities\ mining - clearing ice out of ponds|

Section 12: roads - mud\ roads - automobiles\ automobile travel - gear\ road repair ethic\ roadhouses\ Erickson, Riley - roadhouse\ Miller, Frank - Miller Roadhouse\ "Miller House"\ Twelve mile - roadhouse\ roadhouse meals - cost\ roadhouse bed - cost\ Circle Hot Springs - roadhouse\ roadhouse meals - story\ meal etiquette - talking\ traditions - meals\ Birch Creek - roadhouse\ Birch Creek - Alaska Road Commission|

Section 13: Boquist, Helge\ Nathaniel, Mary\ Roberts, Lucy\ Roberts, Sandy|

Section 14: game - populations varying\ snaring - rabbits\ rabbits - population\ moose - scarcity\ caribou - scarcity\ berries\ butter kegs - storing blueberries\ bush living - recycling\ alcohol - blueberries\ bootlegger - story\ Natives - bootlegging|

Section 15: salmon bellies - brining\ fish processing - smoking and drying\ dog food - fish|

Section 16: Circle\ moose hides - tanning\ tanning - moose hides\ Fort Yukon - story\ smoking hides - rotten wood\ tanning - brains\ clothing - skins\ moccasins\ mitts\ parkas|

Section 17: United States Army - moccasins\ moccasins - Native\ moccasins - moosehide\ moccasins - seal skin\ trading - Indian with Eskimo\ moccasins - caribou liners\ mitts - caribou\ sleeping bags - caribou skin\ caribou sleeping bags|

Section 18: trapping - tents\ trapping - cabins\ trapping - clothing\ trappers - modern\ trappers - appearance\ mustache - story|