NEW - 9/10/10

Alaska Was....The Providence Hospital in the Wilderness (Photo - 1965)

In 1964 there was a bit of a shift of the land mass in and around South Central Alaska. One of the many changes in the topography of Anchorage was a huge graben crack that ran diagonally across town from the area of the 4th Avenue over to the long-gone 4 Seasons apartment building on 5th and L...thence over behind the Providence Hospital, and over toward the Turnagain area.

The Providence Hospital was eventually condemned along with a number of buildings in the area. The funny thing was that when it came time to tear the building down, they had an awful time dismantling it. The quake couldn't dismantle it, and the engineers didn't do much better.

In the meanwhile, a new Providence hospital was built out near Goose lake...actually on the road that was called 36th that wandered on out to what was then called Alaska Methodist University...and over toward the Goose Lake Parking lot. That was the road that went north past Blanche McSmith's fancy home and on over to the tail end of Northern Lights Blvd. In those days to get from Wendler to East High meant driving down to 15th, out to Bragaw, and over Bragaw to East High, which, like Providence after it, was pretty much out by itself in the boondocks.

As the town grew after the wiggle, dots began to be connected. Dots were connected between Northern Lights and Bragaw, and Northern Lights and Paul Bonifaces little street.

There was a time when a person could stand on the newly paved 36th Avenue and look right across the wilderness at the shiny new Providence Hospital. You might see a moose wandering out of the brush from the north side of 36th area, headed out into the swampy lands to the south toward what is now Tudor road, but was then, truly a "road." That was the time when driving out Tudor road qualified you for a bumper sticker saying "I survived Tudor Road." That was also the time when Tudor Road ended at [Old...jeez, folks that includes me] Seward Highway. If you didn't stop you would drive into the only existing Tesoro Station, corner of Tudor Road and the Seward...the station that sold more water with their gasoline than any other in town...but the prices were good, and you could either put up with the clanking water in your gas tank and drain the thing come spring thaw, or you could put in a few pints of ethyl alky from the drug store (or Heet if you didn't know better).

Anyway.... you can join us in that wonderful scene, looking out 36th, just behind the "Howlin' Dog Farm," at the brand shiny, spiffy new post-wiggle Providence Hospital. If you squint, you'll see a school bus stopped at Lake Otis, waiting for (oops, there wasn't a light).

Load Counter