Anchorage was a city created to serve as the construction headquarters for the Alaska Railroad, a project implemented by the Alaska Engineering Commission. The city was officially founded in 1915 and the railroad was completed just before the U.S. entered World War I. Until WWII, the Alaska Railroad was the economic hub of Anchorage.

The families that founded the city were primarily immigrants and second-generation Americans. Other cultures, including Alaska Natives, began settling in Anchorage in the 1920s.

Many of the men and women that traveled to work on the railroad chose to stay in Alaska, although some moved to other regions of the state.

If we’ve made an error or if your family should be listed, please send corrections as soon as possible to Twitter @Modern_Scot

If you’d like to learn more, the Alaska Collection at Loussac Library contains over 20,000 books on Alaska and some very rare books on Anchorage. We also recommend the Cook Inlet Historical Society to learn more about the individuals listed below.

ANCHORAGE’S FOUNDING FAMILIES & BUILDERS OF THE ALASKA RAILROAD

ALLEN

Jerry T. Allen – Oblong, Illinois

Albina Kodym Allen – San Francisco, California

AMES

Myron Edwin Ames – Loveland, Colorado

Edith Belle Greenough Ames – Loveland, Colorado

AMUNDSEN

Ernest I. Amundsen – Preston, South Dakota

Victoria Amundsen – Lofoten, Norway

ANDERSON

Alma Menge Anderson – Minnesota

Anton Anderson – Moonlight, New Zealand

ANDRESEN

Clark Dennis Andresen – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Marjorie Reeve Andersen – Roseburgh, Oregon

BAGOY

John B. Bagoy – Dunave, Dalmatia

Marie A. (Vlahusic) Bagoy – Linz, Austria

BERRY

Frank O. Berry – Stillwater, Minnesota

Lillie Burbank Berry – St. John, Washington

BARNETT

Hetty Classen Barnett – Essen, Germany

Earl W. Barnett – Youngstown, Ohio

BITTNER

Anna (Ashton) Bittner – Canton, Ohio

Ed Bittner – Arrived in Alaska via the Klondike

BOWMAN

Fred Earl Bowman – New Meadows, Idaho

Anna Alholm Bowman – Oulu, Finland

BYSTEDT

Anna Othila Johnson Bystedt – Amaldasland, Sweden

Nels Gustav Bystedt – Stockholm, Sweden

CARLSON

Edward Carlson – Annenburg, Sweden

Jenny Vike Carlson – Molde, Norway

CAVANAUGH

Agnes Ross Cavanaugh – Mt. Pleasant, PA

Peter J. Cavanaugh – Dubuque IA

COURTNAY

Robert M. Courtnay – Oregon

Martha Glascock Courtnay – Susanville, California

CRAWFORD

John Horatio Crawford – Grenville, Quebec Canada

Nellie May Heilman Crawford – Washougal, Washington

CROCKER

Mary Ida Anderson Crocker – Helsinki, Finland

Ulysses Grant Crocker – Placer County, California

CUNNINGHAM

Eva Lockhart Cunningham – Grand Island, Nebraska

John Todd Cunningham – Grand Island, Nebraska

ELLIOTT

William S. Elliot – May Creek, Washington

Violet Ball Elliot – Staffordshire, England

(widowed & remarried Bertel A. Wennerstrom)

ENATTI

William Enatti – Oulu, Finland

Emma Wirkkala Enatti – Kaustinen, Finland

ERICKSON

Arne Simon Kristofer Erickson – Bergen, Norway

Josephine Johannson Erickson – Malmo, Sweden

John Hugo Erickson – Stockholm, Sweden

Ingeborg Haggkvist Hendrickson Erickson – Rockland, Michigan

ERVIN

Winfield Ervin – Lebanon, Oregon

Theora McNall Ervin Washington State

GELLES

Wanda Nolan Gelles – Almota, Washington

Gus Gelles – Vienna, Austria

GOTTSTEIN

Anna Jacobs Gottstein – Des Moines, Iowa

Jacob B. Gottstein – Des Moines, Iowa

HARLACHER

Margaret Elliot Harlacher – Detroit, Michigan

Emil Harlacher – Urdorf, Switzerland

HEITMAN

August Henry Heitman – Kodiak, Alaska

HILL

Harry J. Hill – Wainfleet, England

Elsie Edmiston Hill – Glasglow, Scotland

HOWE

Fred Howe – Springfield, Illinois

Ellen Pukkila Howe – Finland

IANNONE RENO

Gaetano Iannone Reno – Compobasso, Italy

Lauretta Pesco Iannone Reno – Palermo, Sicily

JOHNSON

John S. Johnson – Yettermark, Finland

Esther A. Bloomquist Johnson – Seattle, Washington

Victor Johnson – Dalsland, Sweden

Elin Elizabeth Martinson Johnson – Dalsland, Sweden

JONES

Bronwen Morgan Jones – Kirksville, Iowa

Evan William Jones – Aberdare, Wales

KIMBALL

Irving Leonard Kimball – Osceloa, Pennsylvania

Della Carpenter Kimball – Iowa

KIMURA

Harry Y. Kimura – Nagasaki, Japan

Katsuyo Y. Kimura – Nagasaki, Japan

KNAPP

Jacob C. Knapp – Mystic, Iowa

Edith Griffin Knapp – Angus, Iowa

KOSLOSKY

Issac Koslosky – Warsaw, Poland

Lena Schindelman Koslosky – Russia

LANDSTROM

Elizabeth Jansson Landstrom – Bengtsfors, Sweden

Andrew John Landstrom – Norbotten, Sweden

LARSON

Ray C. Larson – Seattle, Washington

Ann Thompson Larson – Eau Claire, Wisconsin

LECKWOLD

Martin Leckwold – Oxdal Selbu, Norway

Mattie Gilbertson Leckwold – Clarissa, Minnesota

LONGACRE

John J. Longacre – Nevada, Missouri

Edyth Jensen Longacre – San Diego, California

LOTTSFELDT

Carl Frederick Lottsfeldt – San Francisco, California

MARSCH

Paul A. Marsch – Portland, Oregon

Eleanor Welch Marsch – Minniota, Minnesota

MARTIN

Carl E. Martin – Red Oak, Iowa

Lucille Black Martin – Chicago, Illinois

McCUTCHEON

Clara Johanna McCutcheon – Mapleton, Minnesota

Herbert Hazard McCutcheon – Bayside, California

McDANNEL

John Casey McDannel – Knoxville, Tennessee

Mary Davis McDannel – Tredegar, Wales

MEIER

Paul Meir – Saxony, Germany

Odile Marcotte Meier – Manchester, New Hampshire

MIKAMI

Mine Morioka Mikami – Tokyo, Japan

George Mikami – Tokyo, Japan

NELSON

Hulda Campbell Nelson – St. Louis, Illinois

John Victor Nelson – Ridgeway, PA

NIEMI

August Niemi – Ylistaro, Vaasanlaani, Finland

Maria Sofia Mikkola – Lahtaja, Finland

OHLS

Werner Ohls – Turku, Finland

Ida Elizabeth Fisker Ohls – Vassa, Finland

OLSON

Matilda Karlson Olson – Orebro, Sweden

Charles Edward Olson – Kalmar, Sweden

PETERKIN

Thomas Peterkin – Bobcaygeon, Ontario Canada

Anna Packebusch Peterkin – Pender, Nebraska

PASTRO

Tony Pastro – Treviso, Italy

Mary Ruath Pastro – Tyrol, Switzerland

PFEIL

Muriel Caroline Anderson Pfeil – Spokane, Washington

Emil H. Pfeil – Siesen, Germany

QUINTON

Charles F. Quinton – Dexter, Maine

Bessie Griffin Quinton – Louisville, Colorado

RAGER

William H. Rager – Frederick, Maryland

Katherine G. DeWald – Salem, Virginia

RASMUSON

Jenny Olson Rasmuson – Varmland, Sweden

Edward Anton Rasmuson – Copenhagen, Denmark

REED

Frank Ivan Reed – Council Bluffs, Iowa

Pauline Hovey Reed – Munson, Ohio

RIVERS

Carl Rivers – Oulu, Finland

Hilma Lauren Rivers – Finland

SCHODDE

Fred Schodde – Germany

Marie Bueler Schodde – Zurich, Switzerland

SCHULTZ

Harry J. Schultz – Beatrice, Nebraska

SEABURG

August Seaburg – Backefors, Dalsland, Sweden

Christina Amelia Nelson Seaburg – Lysvick, Varmland, Sweden

SHERWOOD

Agnes Elizabeth Banner Sherwood – Victoria, B.C.

Jay R. Sherwood – New York City, New York

SPERSTAD

Englehard Sperstad – Norway

Anna Serina Abrahamsen Sperstad – Valsoy Fjorn, Norway

STASER

Harry Ingle Staser – Newberg, Indiana

Barbara Francetta DePencier Staser – Colfax, Washington

STIPP

Logan Stipp – Downing, Missouri

Bertha Hubbard Stipp – San Francisco, California

STODDARD

Esther Graham Stoddard – Elgin, Iowa

Dayton W. Stoddard – Hutchinson, Minnesota

STRUTZ

Aline Sawhill Strutz – Missoula, Montana

Louis Strutz – Oakes, North Dakota

SWANSON

Aileen Lowell Swanson – Dawson City, Yukon Territory

Paul R. Swanson – Nuchek, Alaska

TEELAND

John Teeland – Norway

Kate Norris Teeland – Ireland

TRYCK

Lillian Blanche Tipping Tryck – National Mine, Michigan

Oscar Tryck – Sweden

VAN ZANTEN

Johanna Helena Matot Van Zanten – Hillegom, Holland

Jacobus E. Van Zanten – Harlem, Holland

WAHL

Milja Korpi Wahl – Finland

Charles Wahl – Wassa, Finland

WENNERSTROM

Bertel A. Wennerstrom – Southbridge, Massachusetts

Violet Ball Wennerstrom – Straffordshire, England

SOME FUN FACTS:

  • The first grocery store was built by Anton Wendler in 1915. His daughter, Myrtle Stalnaker, turned it into the Club 25 restaurant.
  • It was in May of 1915 that Anchorage got its first federal building — a post office.
  • Mrs. Bartholf’s Home Bakery and Mrs. Tillman’s Ladies Furnishings & Dry Goods were two of the 1st proprietors on Anchorage’s Fourth Avenue.
  • Marie Schodde was the first Anchorage woman to obtain a driver’s license. She died on October 8, 1975 at the age of 82.
  • Merrill Field is named for Russell Hyde Merrill, a pilot who disappeared heading for Sleetmute on September 15, 1929. He was 35 years old.
  • Bertha was Anchorage’s first store, a steamship that docked in Ship Creek. Owned by Brown & Hawkins, the locals nicknamed it “The Anchorage”
  • On April 17, 1975 a ruling by the Supreme Court dissolved the Chugiak-Eagle River Borough and unified all of its communities into Anchorage.
  • Monte Road in Eagle River was named for Ray Tedrow’s only son, Monte, who died in a car accident. Tedro and Tedro Circle are misspellings.
  • 6 Chugiak families used surplus battlefield wire & hand-cranked telephones to connect their homes in 1947.Lines were strung using dog teams.
  • The five Anchorage roads named after those who had their names draw from a hat: Turpin, Tudor, Baxter, Boniface and Muldoon.
  • Burl Alvin Tudor came to Anchorage as a test pilot and engineer for Pacific Airmotive Corporation. Tudor road is named after him.
  • Eldrick Michael Turpin came to Alaska in 1937 and founded Turpin Excavating, helping build Alaska’s roads. Turpin road is named after him.
  • Von R. Baxter was an army veteran who moved here in 1945. He worked for JC Morris Insurance. Baxter Road, Baxter Bog Park are named for him.
  • Paul R. Boniface II came to Anchorage in 1948. He was a developer responsible for many projects in Anchorage. Boniface Road is named for him
  • Arnold L. Muldoon came to Anchorage in 1939 and worked as a carpenter on EAFB. Muldoon Road is named for him as well as Muldoon Park.