Join Us! Thursday, March 27, 2014 at Centennial Hall
Come See Actual Footage of the 1964 Earthquake
Hear From the People Who Experienced It
Tell Us Your Stories
First, we'll show you chilling film footage of the 1964 Earthquake event, captured by a person on the ship at the Valdez dock. We will be screening this segment, and additional relevant excerpts from the Valdez film "Between the Glacier and the Sea," from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.
At 7 p.m. we'll give a brief overview of the earthquake and its impact in Alaska, and then we'll introduce several Sitkans who will tell us what they experienced. Then audience members will have a chance to share experiences from that time of turmoil.
Speakers (so far) include:
Bob Allen, who was running the crab fishing boat Fern when the earthquake and tsunami hit. He and his crew picked up dozens of survivors from the villages of Kaguyak and Old Harbor, and went back to Bob’s home port, Kodiak, where they discovered the waterfront had been completely destroyed.
Bill Davis, who was chairman of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group when the call went out for volunteers; he was in charge of the civilian rescue effort in Anchorage.
Willis Osbakken, who was in Sitka, working for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey when the earthquake and tsunami hit, and will tell us what happened here—the impact, how Sitkans responded, the actual readings taken here, and why the damage wasn't more extensive.
And Larry Calvin who was in Sitka, working as a "boom man" at the Alaska Lumber and Pulp Mill, breaking down log bundles into rafts to be fed into the mill. He was on the water, surrounded by giant logs when the waves hit, and he narrowly missed being injured.
First-hand stories about the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America! Be sure to mark your calendar! Thursday, March 27th, 6:30 p.m., at Centennial!
2014 Annual Meeting ~ A Great Success!
Heartfelt thanks to all who made the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society 2014 Annual Meeting a great success. What an interesting and delightful evening it turned out to be!
The topic was Harvesting and Sharing Foods from Our Waters and Shores, and our panelists John and Roby Littlefield, Steve Johnson, Kellan Shoemaker, Florence Welsh, and Peter Williams gave us a gift in sharing their articulate and surprising stories about their experiences out harvesting wild ocean foods.
We're grateful also to the audience members who joined in to offer their tales about engaging in one of Sitka’s most treasured family traditions. We appreciate the drama, insights and laughs you all provided! Accolades to our moderator, Eric Jordan, for his knack for helping create this unique evening of “community conversation,” to Sitka Tribe Enterprises, for renting us such a beautiful space, Sheetka Kwaan Naa Kahidi, and also to Kitty Wilson-Sopow for being the superhero volunteer that she was! And finally, lots of angel points to those who brought goodies to eat (such tasty and varied foods!). During the brief business part of the meeting we thank our members who filled out their ballots to vote in board members, Rebecca Poulson, Mike Litman, Joe D’Arienzo, John Dunlap, Brinnen Carter and Hayley Chambers.
Welcome Carole Gibb, Our New Director - Plus Two New Board Members
Late last fall we were sad to say goodbye to our previous director, Ashia Lane, when she was offered the opportunity to manage Old Harbor Books. But we have been fortunate in finding Carole Gibb, who will continue leading the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society in our twin efforts of programming, and completing the Japonski Island Boathouse rehabilitation into a working maritime heritage center. An eclectic work history can be a liability in some places, but in Sitka it can be a plus. Sitka Maritime Heritage Society's new Director, Carole Gibb, explains, “My resume makes me look crazy outside Alaska, but here, and for this organization specifically, my background is a good fit.”
Formerly of Pelican and Juneau, Gibb has worked in commercial fishing, grant-writing, property development, marketing and program planning. She also has a love of oral histories and authored a book, Fishing for Courage, which features true stories her Pelican neighbors shared with her, and lessons those stories yielded.
Gibb said she feels lucky to have a strong Board of Directors, and it’s growing. Just this month, the Society has added two new members to its board. Brinnen Carter is the Chief of Resources at the Sitka National Historical Park. He brings to the group his experience with Historic Structures and Cultural Landscapes, and his personal interest in boatbuilding. “Plus, he has experience leading restoration of historic windows,” Gibb said, “which will come in handy at our workshops this summer.”
New board member Hayley Chambers, curator at the Sitka Historical Society, is enthused about the lessons and knowledge our maritime heritage offers on a daily basis. Her master’s degree is in Public History, and she has worked on preserving and maintaining historic buildings, as well as on board leadership development, and educational programming.
Our maritime heritage, Gibb says, unifies us. “Going back, it doesn’t matter what era you look at, or ethnicity, there’s one heritage we can all claim as Sitkans, and celebrate. Simply put, it’s about love of being on the water.”
Looking ahead, the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society wishes to preserve and cultivate this rich way of life, she said. “So our next generation and generations after that, can experience it too.”
The SMHS was excited to hear that we received funding for a Historic Preservation Grant for work on the boathouse this summer! The program is through the City and Borough of Sitka, as a "Certified Local Government," qualified to receive these funds via Alaska's Office of History and Archaeology. We will be rebuilding historic doors and windows, with workshops to train volunteers in these skills. We'll also be adding some earthquake bracing to the foundation. These grants require matching, in the form of volunteer hours - that's you! We'll have everything from mindless but oh-so-satisfying cleaning, to training in the skills of rebuilding traditional wood windows. Stay tuned for work party times and dates!
Did you know you can share your PFD with the SMHS? When you apply for your PFD, simply participate in the Pick Click Give program. It's easy, it feels good.
Last year over $1,500.00 was given to SMHS! Wow!
WORK PARTY Photos
The October 5th work party was the best one of the season! SMHS board members and staff worked alongside a group of AMAZING volunteers to remove outdated and defunct electrical conduit and air ducting from the workshop side of the boat house, while others focused on pressure washing a few decade's worth of detritus from the walls and rafters of the railways.
A phenomenal amount of progress was made towards our goal of creating a usable space, and James Poulson was on hand to document some of it. Please enjoy his photos by clicking HERE.
Your support helps with boathouse renovations, educational workshops and outreach. Use the button below to give at your personal comfort level through our secure Paypal account, or CLICK HERE to become a member.
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