Saturday, June 20, 2015

Gakona Roadhouse

1929 Roadhouse, Gakona
From Tok we traveled southwest heading for the Palmer/Anchorage area with several interesting stops along the way including the historic Roadhouse at Gakona.  Gakona Roadhouse, first called Doyle’s Ranch, opened in 1905.  Roadhouses providing food and lodging for travelers were essential in Alaska’s transportation history.  

Lobby of the 1929 Roadhouse
The two main overland routes in Alaska, the Glenn Highway and the Richardson Highway, intersect near Gakona Roadhouse which still serves travelers today.  

Original 1905 Roadhouse
The original lodge with saddle-corner log construction and a floor with whipsawn lumber was one of the more elaborate stops of its time.  
Saddle-corner 1905 Log Roadhouse
By 1905, gold fever had spread to the Tanan River Valley and a new Trail was blazed from Gakona north to Fairbanks.  A stage company made the roadhouse a stop in 1910 so Doyle added a barn for 12 horses and a blacksmith shop to serve the Stage.  
1942 Trappers Den Bar
Business was good and a larger lodge was built in 1929, the one still in use today; the original 1905 lodge stands in ruins on the property.  In 1942 the Army Corps of Engineers put a garage at Gakona next to the Roadhouse to hold gear used to build the Glenn Highway.  After the war, the garage became a store and then became the “Trappers Den Bar” in 1962.

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