Life in Alaska – Trip to The Kenai Peninsula – Sept., 1941

The following article, published in a local Alaskan newspaper in 1941, was sent to A.D. Guion telling of a trip his son Dan took to explore Homer and other Alaskan towns in the Kenai Peninsula.

Dan, Ced and car

Dan, Ced and car

Daniel Guion Discovers An Alaskan Town Where No Fuel Bill Ever Worries Man

A utopia where land is free, coal is scattered by nature like rocks along the beaches, “fat rainbows” abound in the streams and brown bear and moose in the hills – such wonders in the heart of Alaska, Daniel B Guion, now in an engineering post with the United States government air base at Anchorage, has discovered after 14 months of residence in Uncle Sam’s most northern possession.

A year ago last July, Guion, but recently returned from a similar assignment in the tropics of Venezuela, decided on an excursion into the opposite regions of the Americans. Second of the five sons in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred D Guion, well-known Trumbull residents, he found enthusiastic response in Cedric, the brother third in line, on his arrival in Anchorage.

Trio of brothers there

Only last spring, Richard, the fourth son, chose to follow in the same adventurist path, and at the present time, is also a federal employee at the Anchorage airport project.

DBG - Dan in Alaskan doorway-1940

Recently, Daniel left on an exploration trip to the Kenai Peninsula where he caught his first glimpse of Homer, one of the Alaskan spots still open to homesteading where, “virtually in our backyard since we came to Anchorage,” he writes, “is the paradise we’d heard about.”

In a graphic story of his travels,  he wrote of the Homer of Alaska to his parents: He says: “The reputation of Homer has always seemed much higher than could possibly be true, but upon seeing it, one is confronted with irrefutable evidence….

“Homer is one of the several places in Alaska still open to homesteading. It differs from the rest, however, in being situated in a country upon which nature has lavished every luxury conceivable.

“Land is free for those who wish to Homestead, and cheap for the man who wants to buy. By plane, Anchorage is only an hour and a half distant, and the CAA is building a landing field. Several miles of good gravel roads have been made by the Alaskan Road Commission, and it is possible that sometime in the future there will be a road connecting Homer to Anchorage and the rest of Alaska. When this happens, those who own property in and around Homer will be raised on a crest of prosperity beyond all bounds.

In summer in Homer, the moderating influence of the sea keeps the air pleasantly cool despite the long days of bright sunshine. In winter, the Japanese stream exerts the milding influences to such an extent that snow seldom stays long on the lowlands. Spring comes early, and autumn late. Rainfall is moderate throughout most of the year, and this ideal combination of elements promotes the growth of lush fields of hay and thick copses of berries without the aid of man. Celery, beets, peas, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and a variety of other fruits and vegetables thrive in the rich soil of the bottom lands. Fishing is good all year round. From the beach can be gathered clams and mussels.

DBG - Eklutna village home

As you may have heard, Cook Inlet has the second largest tide in the world (the Bay of Fundy being first). Coming or going, the waters flow as swiftly and turbulently as a mighty river. Sailing was delayed an hour and a half, the outgoing tide pushing the boat against the dock. After much maneuvering and clanging of bells, and pushing, and pulling of ropes, the ship, Monterey, was wheeled away from the docks. The first night was spent watching the northern lights and a few whales now and then but never very close.

Climbing up to land

Shortly after lunch we rounded the 7 mile long spot which projects out into the inlet to form a roadway out to a dock . . . the point of disembarkation for Homer. The dock is built of pilings a good 30 feet high to allow for the extremes of tide, so we had to climb a ladder to dock. A truck was waiting to take us to Homer.

After visiting Homer the ship Monterey sailed again, past the volcanic Augustin Island into the quiet waters of Kachemac Bay. With bright sun streaks across the gently ruffled surface of the Bay, the town of Seldovia, clinging to the precipitous edges of a rocky hill was seen. . . . .  A town of pilings and boardwalks below and cabins and cottages hugging the hills above.  . . . .  surmounted at the summit by a little, weather-beaten, square church with the bulging steeple of Byzantine architecture that was testimony to the Russian influence.

I would love to see the Alaska that Uncle Dan saw on this trip, if it still exists.

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa to the “Trio From Alaska”.

Judy Guion