Special Picture # 304 – Rusty Huerlin – Influenza Epidemic in Alaska Conquered – 1945

The following article was printed in the Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Monday, February 19, 1945.


Trumbull – Dear Veterans – Quick Note From Ced – January, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., January 6, 1946.

Dear Veterans: (yes, that includes Ced, who has earned the title

by his recent flight to Alaska)

Even if the laws of compensation did not indicate that a 7-page letter one week should be followed by a skimpy one the next week, the fact remains that the holiday let-down leaves little happening to make news. The only quotation is a letter from Ced written Dec, 27th from Fairbanks, Alaska: “Just one more hop and I’m home in Anchorage. Spent last two days in Northway just over from the Canadian border on the Alaskan side. Landed they are about 3:55 p.m., after dark and as I taxied up toward the CAA building I aimed between two field boundary lights and headed for the station. Just as I went between those two lights there came a jolt and something flew past the right side of the ship, the engine weazed weakly and quit. Right between those two lights the Army had placed a marker made of light wood, painted to show in the daytime but virtually invisible at night. Well, of all places to put it they had it right where I wanted to taxi. It shattered the propeller but otherwise did no serious damage. I had to wait, tho, until noon today to get a new propeller from Fairbanks flown in. I haven’t done anything yet about fixing the blame but when I get back to Anchorage I’m going to look into the situation and see if I have any grounds for collecting damages. I’m afraid it’s useless altho I don’t feel it was my fault at all– negligent placing of the marker as far as I can see. Cost will be approx. $35 for the new prop. Was at Teslin on Christmas Eve and got in on a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixins.  Paid a $1.15 per gallon of gas at Watson Lake. Saw a P-80 jet job take off at White Horse. They make a terrific roar — sounds like a huge blower running full speed. He went from W.H. (White Horse) to Fairbanks in 1/3 the time it took me to go from W.H. to Northway, which is about half as far. Fairbanks checked the speed at 368 mph elapsed time. Expect to get an early start in the morning, weather permitting, and should be in Anchorage by noon time. Will write and tell you about the whole trip later on– one of those now-it-can-be-told reports. Fairbanks is pretty much a hole in the wall and once again Alaskan prices have hit me square between the eyes. Paid one dollar for an ordinary roast beef dinner in a mediocre café tonight. Some difference from Canada where one rarely has to pay over 50-60 for a darn good meal and at low value Canadian money at that. One cashes $20 travelers check and gets back $22 Canadian. Try and change it back and you get $8.50 for a $10 Canadian.”

Today as you may recall is Elizabeth’s birthday and they all came over to dinner. In fact, they have just left. Jean was not feeling too well, had a headache and cold and did not feel equal to coming down for dinner. She is feeling a bit better now, however.

Ced. Thanks for your pleasant surprise Christmas gift from Great Falls. I’m looking forward to that account you promise because I really feel it was an unusual accomplishment. I still get a thrill every time I think of it and a buoyant feeling of relief at your safe arrival and in such good condition as regards both you physically and the plane materially.

Dan. It’s about time we had a report about your married life and all the things you have been doing, to say nothing of comments on some of the news I have been dishing out to you for several months past with nary a peep from you in comment. Let’s know what you think of the Island idea, where you spent Christmas, the details of your work, news of Paulette, Homecoming arrangements (if any, yet), receipt of packages, what places you have visited, etc.

Happy 1946 to you all.                            Dad.

I will devote the rest of the week to another letter from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 302 – Rusty Huerlin – End of the Trail – Tribute to A Pioneer – February, 1960

The following piece was printed in the column, On The Inside”, printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, Alaska) on February 3, 1960.

TRIBUTE TO A PIONEER – Rusty Heurlin of Berry, Alaska, has written an open letter to the citizens of Valdez, proposing that Mt. Sugar Loaf be named after the late Anthony J. Dimond.

He suggests this mountain for its gentle slopes and balance in simple contour, which made it one of the most photographed peaks of the early days and perhaps even yet.

Also, he says, if a play on words would not be objectionable, this mountain is quite similar in shape to that of a diamond when reflected into the Bay of Valdez.

“As there are many other such named mountains (as Sugar Loaf) the world over, little controversy should arise from the change …” Rusty says.

“At any rate we trust that the last request of Art Lutro’s will be honored to help perpetuate for all time the name of Anthony Dimond.”

Lutro, the late Grand President of the Grand Igloo of the Pioneers of Alaska, proposed recently that an “unnamed peak” be honored with Dimond’s name. His request has been presented to the Board of Geographic Names of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Heurlin, who was an early resident of Valdez and next-door neighbor of Dimond, recalls his qualities of greatness and what he meant to fellow Alaskans. “Towering above all was a simplicity that was greatness in itself.”

Dimond was long a territorial delegate in Congress and later a federal judge.


END OF THE TRAIL – Rusty has also written this tribute to an old friend:

The going had been rough in places and the pack heavy but the uncomplaining Sourdough stuck to his lonely trail. At times the sleet pained his eyes, and it was hard to see when friends passed him as they hurried on their way. At the end of the day a light appeared around the bend of a river. Was it home, he wondered, or was he lost? He wasn’t sure until he arrived there, and not even then until the cabin door opened. He got out of his snowshoes. Old friends helped him with his pack. They called him into the cabin fragrant with wood smoke,,, happy with light and laughter and the warmth of those companions of old who had passed him on the way.

It was the End of the Trail for another sourdough. This time a man known throughout Alaska and Yukon Territory,  – big, good-natured, helpful and friendly Art Lutro, Grand President of the Alaska Pioneers.


Check out this video :  https://vimeo.com/91885957

I appears that the request of Art Lutro and Rusty Heurlin was honored as there is a Mt. Dimond near Valdez, Alaska.

Tomorrow, I will begin a week of letters written in July, 1942. Both Lad and Dan are serving Uncle Sam and receiving training.

Judy Guion


Special Picture # 298 – Rusty Huerlin – ‘Lady Known as Lou’ Comes to Town – 1960

This picture and the story appeared in the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News – Miner on Friday, November 4, 1960. I found it in a pile of newspaper clippings Grandpa saved. Across the top, Rusty added a note: “a very poor representation, am sitting some 25 feet in front of it.Will send you a color shot of it _____.

‘Lady known as Lou’ Comes to Town

by Kay J. Kennedy, News-Miner Staff Writer

“Lou” and her crew of fascinating,fictional characters out of Robert W. Service’s “Shooting of Dan McGrew” came to town the other day.

They stayed at the Travelers Inn where they were seen by visitors to the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce convention. This week they all moved out again, but they’ll always be together.

Lou (“That lady that’s known as Lou”) is the central figure in a love (and art composition) triangle in a 5-by-9-foot oil painting by C. (Rusty) Heurlin, one of Alaska’s best known artists.

He re-created the tense, dramatic moment in the poem when the “kid from the creeks” is playing the piano. Seated in the card game is McGrew studying the kid. Lou stands between them. An overhead lamp, which is not shown, throws a circle of light which encompasses the figure at the piano and casts interesting shadows. Subtle cigar smoke drifts across the canvas until you can almost smell it.

You have a feeling that the clicking of glasses and chips suddenly stopped as the music rose.The red velvet of Lou’s dress is vivid, encasing an uncensored womanly shape.

This painting, which is different from anything Heurlin has done previously, has been a gestating in his subconscious creative mind for many years. It may be his silent answer to those who have pegged him strictly an ice and snow artist, a master of hollow Arctic light, a painter of Eskimos, Arctic seas and whale hunts.

There are three parts in the painting – any one of them could stand alone as a complete composition. One is the “kid from the creeks” at the piano. Lou herself, is a splendid portrait. McGrew and the men around the green felt gaming table are done in a dark and sinister pallet.

Authentic Touches

Subdued nudes on the walls, the old Dawson City piano, a potted palm popular in that day, together with other authentic touches make you feel you could walk into the picture.

It may be that “Lou” will take her place in Alaska art history as Heurlin’s masterpiece.

Current comment indicates that the painting will pick up a following – even more than the infamous Lady Lou  herself.



Friends – Rusty Writes to Ced – Pictures From Their Trek Around Alaska – Dec., 1943


Palmer, Alaska

Dec. 21, 1943

Dear Ced,

The enclosed line will perhaps make you feel more welcome at the lovely home of the Stoll’s in Seattle and you will see there the beautiful Sylvia. – No kidd’n now – be sure to make it so you can spend three or four days with her. If you do I’ll wager you will never get over it. She is a knock out — brilliant, tall and queenly and nothing that I could say in her favor would be flattering. This I clipped from a letter from Walter whose business address is 609 Coleman Bldg., — Alaska Pacific Mining Co. — home address is Larkhurst, 4204 or something like that. Get in touch with him as soon as you arrive in Seattle.

Hear that Walt Gronhert (?) Is trying to get helicopter agency in Alaska when, or to be set for such business, when war is over. Why don’t you look into that for yourself? Perhaps after the next war the Zep (Zeppelin?) will come out in gala colors and competition for our outdated mode of air travel — Sikorsky’s Helicopter. (Ced actually went to work for Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford after he returned from Alaska in late 1946.)

Eggs in the valley are now $1.50 per doz.

Saw Bob Schottler (?) on street enroute to Barrow – again to follow info — one of Governor’s (Alaska’s Governor Ernest Gruening) eskimos discovered while on our trip. Bob said Governor was anxious to get name of my Eskimo sketch. When he showed pictures to President Roos- (President Roosevelt) in Washington President asked what was her name. He could only say Lottie, said one in his party fell for her and he could find out easily enough. Bob said pictures Governor took of her were knockouts. One that I took of the governor with Bob’s camera and which I had some job of posing G.G. (Governor Gruening) also was shown to President Roosevelt and G.G. is very proud of it. I had him clamber into a hunk of preserved ice about 5 miles out of Pt. Hope. He, as I remember, is looking out over the pack ice and pictures looked swell in Bob’s Graflex finder. Will be anxious to see it.

Guess I’ll stay here over the holidays and skip all the excitement down there. Hogans and Danford’s and _______’s  have invited me for Xmas dinner. Schafer has made two trips to town with his small truck and sold 24 small Xmas trees cut from my rabbit patch. He got $121.00 for the two loads and will make two more trips. That boy is smart.

We are over the hump tonight.

Love to all and don’t forget Seattle — Rusty


Trumbull – Dear Lad, Marian, Dan and Dick (1) – Details of Ced’s Trip Back to Alaska – December, 1943

Trumbull, Conn., Dec. 12, 1943

Dear Lad, Marian, Dan and Dick:

A letter from Ced:  “ Dec. 2, Seward, Alaska, aboard S.S. ALASKA. Well, I’m on the way. Don’t expect me till I get there tho. It may take me all month the way people talk. I’m set to get to Seattle via the above, but from there ?????  The previous plans fell through as passage out of Juneau couldn’t be booked until Jan. 10th. I may still go up from Seattle to Vancouver to take the C. P. (Canadian Pacific) east, but I’ll decide that after talking to various agents in Seattle. I’ll take anything on rail or by air that will get me East, and even a bus if it comes down to that. I guess one of the railroads will have an empty seat before very long.   The last two weeks have been hectic, what with trying to dispose, loan or otherwise get rid of all my stuff and in collecting clothes, etc., for this trip. Restrictions have been relaxed considerably and all I had to do was to get a permit to depart and return from and to the Territory of Alaska, and on the boat we only need to check our cameras, electric razors, flashlights, binoculars, etc. Baggage isn’t checked otherwise. Seward is sure lots prettier with its post-fire construction. They have very modern fireproof buildings attractively designed. Food is somewhat cheaper and of better quality than that obtainable in Anchorage restaurants. We had a swell trip down in the train today and apparently there are a good many pleasant people making the trip south– many of them friends and acquaintances from Anchorage. My ”cell mate” is a fellow from Anchorage Market whom I’d seen but never had met. He is pleasant seeming and will probably be a good travel companion. He has been up here for 13 years running and hasn’t seen his wife in all that time. The S. S. ALASKA is somewhat smaller than the McKINLEY, but is not too bad a boat. Our stateroom is at the tail end and will probably be plenty rough if we get into any kind of a swell on the Gulf. The McKINLEY, incidentally, is now aground in the Aleutians and has been for over a year. It is gradually disintegrating if it has not already succumbed to the Aleutian storms. Dan and I had a peach of a trip on the poor old boat and I shed a sincere tear for her as she fades out of the picture of picturesque Alaskan transportation. Saw Rusty last week and of course he wanted to be remembered to everyone. I had Thanksgiving dinner with the Morgans and friends at Chuck’s and Florence’s apartment. Keep a candle burning for me. Bon nuit, Ced”. That we will, Ced, old son, and we will fervently hope it won’t have to be a leftover Christmas tree candle, either.

Dan has made the headlines again. A copy of the London ARC bulletin shows on the front page a picture of Dan pointing out to two buddies the stone decorations on the entrance to the service club he so eloquently described in a recent letter. His letter says he is nursing a cold which stubbornly hangs on (Steer shy of that fine germ, Dan, which we are told is quite prevalent in England these days), is restive under what seems rather foolish censorship rules, and ends:  “I have been naughty again. I left my carbine cocked, which is very wrong when the gun is not being used. To emphasize the importance of my offense I have been restricted to quarters for two nights– which interfered with my educational progress at night school, besides bruising my delicate pride.” Cheer up, Dan, maybe the extra sleep will kill the cold.

I’ll be posting the rest of this letter tomorrow. It includes a discussion of mail service and news from Lad and Marian.

Judy Guion


Special Picture # 269 – Rusty Heurlin – Somewhere in Alaska


Rusty Heurlin – taken in Alaska @ 1945


Here’s looking at you………. cock-eyed


Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

On Monday I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1942.Dan has been drafted and is at Basic Training. Lad and Dick are both working at Producto in Bridgeport, anxious about their own status in the draft. Dave is in high school and keeping Grandpa company at the old Homestead in Trumbull.

Judy Guion