Pioneers of Alaska - Anchorage
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Pioneer Building
Pioneer Schoolhouse
Anchorage Schoolhouse today
The Anchorage Pioneers have enjoyed the ownership of their Pioneer Hall since the beginning of Men's Igloo #15 in 1917, when they purchased the very first Anchorage Schoolhouse that was constructed in Anchorage for $600.00.  It was moved across 6th Avenue to its location at the corner of 6th Avenue and F Street where it was stationary for the next 47 years.  The Pioneers of Alaska Men's Igloo #15 members were truly visionary when in 1964, after the Alaskan Earthquake, they seized the opportunity to obtain the funding necessary to construct a new Historic Pioneer Hall which was occupied in 1965.

Since the building was new, other than immediate maintenance, few upgrades were accomplished over many years. However a savings account for building major maintenance and future upgrades had been established with an annual amount placed into the account.  Our hall now is over 50 years old and with the savings available the building is being brought into the 21 Century.  Beginning 7 to 8 years ago, projects were undertaken to upgrade architectural, life safety, and building support systems.  Included were upgrading the Elevator, installing a Fire Suppression System, installing a Fire Alarm System, installing air Conditioning for the first floor tenant space, upgrading the meeting room lighting, upgrading the building's heating and air control systems, Painting the hall meeting rooms, painting the building exterior with "New Century " colors, and upgrading the entrance canopies. 

Blue Line In 2016 the original security gates in the Lobby were replaced with Aluminum Doors, the main building electrical switchgear was renewed, and the original 50+ year old single boiler, although operating, was deemed unreliable for continuous service.  Consequently, two new state of the art, 90% efficient step boilers are being installed to operate continuously while utilizing the original boiler as a reserve should it be required.

The building is located in downtown Anchorage on the tourist route between the Performing Arts Center, and the Dena’ina Center and to showcase the building and the owners, signage was added to the building. Two years and several renditions later, in 2016 the decision was made to place The Pioneers of Alaska colored Logo's, Bronze Signage and Bronze Plaques on the building's exterior at both 6th Avenue and F Street. The Plaque at 6th Avenue is a short history of the Building, and The Plaque at F Street Entrance is a short history of the Pioneers of Alaska, the Women's Igloo's #4 and the Men's Igloo #15.  The signage anchors and portrays the traditional historical significance of the Pioneers of Alaska, the Pioneer Building, and the centurion home of the Anchorage Pioneers of Alaska.

Future upgrades are being considered in the stairs and lobbies, and on the mundane side, the building's roof will be a concern in the near term and funding is being accumulated for this.

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Pioneers of Alaska Cemetery

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson’s Executive Order #2242 instructed the Alaskan Engineering Commission to survey the land that US Federal Secretary Seward had purchased from Russia.  The Commission was also instructed to survey a city location with streets and lots to be sold at open auction.   This was the official start of what is now called Anchorage, Alaska.  Included under Executive order 2836 (dated April 1918) was an area set aside to serve the Anchorage area as the Cemetery Reserve for Anchorage.  It had two provisions: the first was burial land free to the public and the second was sale of the land to private, fraternal or religious groups.  Tracts 10 & 11 were sold to the Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo #15.  Igloo #15 later purchased tract 1 from the IOOF Lodge when they withdrew from operating in Alaska.

Anchorage Pioneers of Alaska two Igloos have over 607 burials in their land and about 20 to 30 columbarium niches occupied.  We have a good representation of the most notable individuals found in Alaskan history.  In the summer months, there are evening tours of the cemetery with actors representing the individuals buried at that gravesite.

Funds Bequeathed to Women’s Igloo No. 4 by Marie C. Moles have been used to honor deceased pioneers with a Memorial Wall built in the Pioneer of Alaska section of the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery.   Members, Ernie Hall Igloo 15 and Margaret Grau Igloo #4, oversaw the design and construction of the Wall. 

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The lots in the Pioneer’s three tracts not presently reserved or occupied may be reserved by active (current dues paid) Pioneer individuals including for immediate family members for one hundred dollars per lot reserved.  Renew every five years at no additional fees.  A lot is 5 feet wide by ten feet long.  Obtaining a columbarium niche is an application thru the Municipal Manager at the cemetery office.

This black granite wall is in the shape of a squared “C” monument.  The east end of the wall stands about seven feet high, with etched portraits of old Pioneers. The north panel of the wall is flanked with a Pioneer women and child, while the south panel bares a Pioneer man.  The west end is open with two meditation benches.  The black granite stone is engraved in white lettering, “Dedicated to Those Who Have Gone Before”.  Each panel inside the wall is named for an Alaska wild flower.

To Honor deceased members of Anchorage Women’s Igloo #4 and Men’s Igloo # 15, a 3-by 8-inch granite plaque, engraved with the member’s name may be purchased and mounted on the wall for $210.00 dollars. The deceased may be interred or cremated elsewhere, including locations outside of Alaska.  An application for having a name(s) mounted may be obtained from, Mildred Richards, 1200 I Street #713, Anchorage, Alaska.

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Other Projects
We have joined with other Igloos throughout Alaska in the summer to restore the McCarthy and Chitna cemeteries.  It is a time for Pioneers to work and play together.  There is always someone willing to tell stories of their early days in Alaska.
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Historical Videos
Early Anchorage Oral History Project. (Ten interviews of long time Anchorage residents recorded as part of the Rasmuson Foundation Early Anchorage Oral History Project.)
Late Teens/Early 1920s in Anchorage.
1987 News Story About Anchorage in Changing Times.
Pioneer Aviator Russel Merrill and the Anchorage No. 1 in 1927.
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Men's Igloo 15
PO Box 101041, Anchorage, AK 99510

6th & F Street, Anchorage, AK

Igloo 4
PO Box 101547, Anchorage, AK 99510
Pioneers of Alaska - Anchorage     
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