Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Fitful night. Awakened at 10 and 11. Get in bed with the girls–12. Mr. Lewis comes and awakens us and starts on fire. We get up and he stays for breakfast. We go for walk. My first trip out to Tanana River - 4 miles out. Fine walk. tired–act crazy at supper. Ralph comes. Mr. Green comes "spoons." Mr. Brown comes. Marcella and Nell go with the "colored men" to show. Ralph goes and I stay home to write letters. Pass up Litsey's and Lewis' invitations out to dinner. My cup oer flows with "Happys."

I'm not exactly sure where Flo was living in town and I'm sure the Tanana River has shifted since 1911 but here is a best guess at the range of where she might have walked:

View Town to Tanana River in a larger map

Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up at 12:15 M. Mr. Thrift and Mrs. Heacock come before breakfast. Mrs. Green comes while eating. Mr. T. fixes our chair, stove, etc. Couldn't get along without him. Begin to think that man is a necessary article – Ho! for new Year - leap year. Nell goes to Dee's to fix masque. Comes home with letters. Ribbon and bodkin from Olive - Bless her heart! Kerchief from Bessie beautiful. Betty tells of package sent us. Go to masque ball - look on. After unmask - go down and dance. Supper with Barker. Bed at 4:30 a.m.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up late . rush around. Nell goes to Dee's. Marcella and I see Mrs. Baraud and town. Mrs. Litsey calls. Go to Gilmer's for dinner. Cooks on parlor stove. Filled with brim. ate so much - good time. She takes us to picture show. Mr. Brown and Nell home.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 1911

Flo's Diary:

A beautiful Day. Sun-golden sunset. Patched my clothes. Miss Gilmer called. Go to Chilcoot social with Mr. Thrift and Nell - at Presby Church. very unique Pass logs & ladder and packs. etc. Nice time. Walked home with Bob Sheldon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up at 9 start fires crawl back to bed while water heats for bath. Wash dishes. Go down town bot tennis shoes for fencing. Call on Miss. Miller and Mrs. Olsen who is a friend of Curtis's of Seattle. Start "Trail of 98." Go to Masonic installation of officers with Mr. Lewis. Grand time. Home as 12:30.

"Trail of 98" would be a Robert Service novel which is now in the public domain.

December 26, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up at 9 a.m. Got breakfast went over to auditorium to practice "Pixies" with Marcella. Helped to decorate – down town – home help with dinner – rest. Mr. Thrift gives us bottles of perfume. The "Pixies" come off. Help back of scenes. A grand success. Take down flowers – tired.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 25, 1911

Flo's Diary:

X-mas morning - awaken by knock on door. Marcella slips on kimona and opens – beholds Craig Condit with a pie which Santa says is to large for our stockings so sent this way. Marce. got breakfast. I made beds and washed dishes. Nell and I walked out past Noyes bridge. 4 miles. Mr. Litsey sends me box of candy. Mrs. Heacock sends us little booklets and candy - go to thank her. Mr. Brown comes to ask us to go to picture show. Go to dinner with Miss Gilmer and Mr. Fredericks at Pioneer CafĂ©. Turkey and cranberries, etc. Go to picture show with Mar. & Brown. $1 seats. horrors!! bed early.

Ah ha - it is a family tradition to go to the picture show on a holiday! I thought that the traditional began with my sisters!

Remember - Condit is the Presbyterian minister

Friday, December 24, 2010

December 24, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Go to church with Ralph and girls. Cold wind blowing. Mr. Green sends box of paper to Marcella and I and candy to Nell. Mr. Thrift comes for supper. Lewis and Ralph come and wants us to go out for supper. Can't go as we have it all ready. Marcella and I go to church. Good music. Mr. Brown comes find kerchief and hair bag from him and Mrs. Olsen. Crib. 12.

I wonder what a hair bag is.

December 23, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up early to fix fires as quite cold. 49° below in night. Helped with work. went over to auditorium to help Marcella. Pixies. Downtown. home. Go for mail - 5 letters. Kerchiefs from Cora bless her heart. Mr. Green up. bed at 12. Nell and Brown to to German xmas tree and and dance.

December 22, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up at 10. Grunted all day. Nothing doing. Bed early.

Does she have the winter blahs? or depressed about the upcoming holidays and not being with family? Did her choice of dates for the upcoming dance, not ask?

December 21, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Sleep till 10 a.m. get breakfast of toast and moose steak and coffee. Mrs. Heacock comes over to wake us. Carry wood - mend my waist - go shopping - buy my dancing pumps. Write letters while others to to picture show. Bed at 12.

December 20, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Last day of "school"for this year. Miss Gilmer takes us to lunch and Judge Adams takes us to dinner with the Heacock family. Nell and I try to find dancing school. bum success. Walk. Find Green home with Marcella - bot my blue skirt and kitchen apron. Bed early - 11 p.m.

Popular music from 1911 according to wikipedia, contains many ragtime tunes and many songs written by Irving Berlin.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 19, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Warmer - snow. Miss Gilmer takes us to Catholic Fair for lunch but Mr. Mathews pays the bill. Mr. Brown takes Marcella and I to picture show. Nell goes with father.

December 18, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up at 6 - to fix fire in bed till 7:30. Got breakfast - off to school. Wore my tights. 42° below. pretty cold. 25 kiddies absent. Fire drill - an awful conglomeration of kids, noises, etc. Ralph brings over pictures and Mr. Green up for evening - go to bed early.

Anyone else who grew up in Fairbanks remember fire drills in the winter? Fun....

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 17 1911

Flo's Diary:

Slept till about 11– Mr. Thrift comes before we get breakfast. Wade out in snow to have pictures taken. Cold 35° below. Marcella and I go to PO for mail. Get 6 letters. Edna sends a package for xmas. Melt water for work and dress. Go for mail again. Mr. Brown -Mr. Lewis and Ralph come for dinner. Ralph makes pie. Oh that awful pie crust as think as biscuits. Dinner goes off nicely. Beat Mr. L at crib. Pleasant evening - shocking pictures. Bed at 11.

I didn't realize that as far back as 1911 people were using the "xmas" abbreviation - call me naive but I don't think I remember hearing it until the mid-70s. Yes, also 6o years later. But according to wikipedia, the word was first seen in a letter written in 1811! Clearly an established usage.

I a very curious about the "shocking pictures" mentioned. What could have been going on in that cabin in Fairbanks. Clearly if they had had access to facebook they might have thought twice about posting their pictures. Begin school teachers and all...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up about 10:30. Ralph comes and finds us in bed. He got breakfast for us. Marcella can't find clothes so puts mine on. I sweep, dust, and wash dishes while girls practice. The put on play tonight. Visit with Mrs. Heacock. Lenard comes over. I take Mrs. H. to play. Very good. Proud of my cabin mates. 40° below - rather a stinging cold on my face wear my felts. My 1st glimpse of the Northern Lights - a streak of yellow light. Pump freezes.

Funny that it was 40 below in Fairbanks on 12/15. And I bet it felt just at stinging cold as it did in 1911! And finally, we find out what "practice" to girls have been going to. I wonder what the play was. Some plays that were written or first performed in 1911 include: The Arrow Maker, The Hooligan, Kismet, and The Miracle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Friday - Hurrrah 15 ° below. Quite dark all day. When I got home from school found Mr. Brown there. Ralph comes. Tell tries on dresses. Go to Eagle's smoker with Mr. Brown have splendid time. Meet Mr. Bennett and Jack Folley & others. Home at 2 a.m. find fell waiting for me.

Heading towards winter solstice brings about 4 hours of daylight to Fairbanks at this time of year. (3h 49m 41s) and will be about 2 hours shorter on Dec 15. Do remember that because the ground is covered with snow that any kind of light will reflect off of the white backdrop giving the appearance of being light.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Quiet evening at home writing letters. Snowed big flakes all day. Mr. Green and Mr. Sheldon come for girls and stay till 11:00 - heard stories of Bob's. Marcella talked in sleep.

By this time in Sheldon's live, he was probably a pretty good storyteller. He had been to many places in Alaska, had been out on his own since he was very young, he was inquisitive and loved to build things.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 1911

Flo's diary:

Heavy snow last night. Slept with Marcella. School - tired. Girls tried on dresses for show. Mr. Brown called and asked us for the Eagle's dance for Fri. even. to bed early.

The Fraternity of the Order of the Eagles was founded in 1898. Interesting to note that the original group was a group of theatre owners.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12, 1911

Flo's Diary

Cold wind at noon. Nell's clothes come. In midst of inspection when Ralph comes. Go to Condits for duck supper. good. home crawl in kimona and finish "A Daughter of Snows" by London. Bed at 10:30.

A Daughter of Snows was London's first novel written in 1902.
Download story here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I made my co-workers sweaters for Christmas

Haven't had much time to work on presents for friends and family this holiday season. Had to settle for mico-sizes!

And I just have to say - Penzey's to the rescue yet once again - the bottle of lemon peel was exactly the right size to be a mold for making hangars!

December 11, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Still snowing. To School chicken pox scare. 21 absent. Mrs. Heacock comes over to chat. Miss Gilmer calls. Girls go to practice. Make out reports and write letters. Mr. G. comes home with girls and stays till 12 p.m.

Small pox was still a concern in 1911. Look here at the vaccine timeline.

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10, 1911

Flo's Diary

Up and to Church. Write letters and get dinner while girls practice. Mr. Green comes. M. & I take naps. Mr. Lewis and Mr. Cairins come and play 500. Nell and Brown go to show. Have a dandy time. Take flashlights. Seems like old Monte times. Make date for next Sunday night and New Years night. Snowed all day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9, 1911

Flo's Diary

Our clock stops so sleep an hour longer. Bake cookies. Get my first "alaska" money $240 a generous check. Pay my debts. Call on Mrs. Boyer and Miss Gilmer. miss G. not home. Marcella and I melt snow and wash our heads. Take bath. Bob Sheldon comes for Nell. 1st night that Marcella and I are alone. Talk a blue streak. To bed early 10:30.

Once again, going to the Historical Value of US Dollar Calculator, her check for $240 would be the equivalent to about $5700 today. She began on Nov 24 so it has only been two weeks! I assume that she was also paid for her time on the trail and maybe reimbursed for travel experiences.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8, 1911

Flo's Diary

No alarm - so sleep till 7:50. Hurry breakfast and to school. Go to PO. Nothing in. Tired. Mr L. brings P.O. key. plays crib with Marcella. Mr Green comes.

Ok - so now I know that they had a PO key! And they were just at the PO the night before, did she really thing there would be something new?

From Great Uncle Gus' album:

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 7, 1911

Flo's Diary

About 10° below zero. Went skating with Miss Gilmer after school. Mr. Green and Mr. Lewis come and play 5:00.Mr Lewis brings box of candy. Beat him "crib." Lewis and I go for mail about 11 pm. 5 letters. Bed at 12.

Do you think they had a mailbox? or did they have to awaken someone at 11 p.m. to pick up their letters? I guess I imaged it as being a contracted office - maybe they got mail at the N.C?

Here are a couple of images to show what skating might have been like. These are taken from my Great Uncle's photos. He lived in Chena, down river from Fairbanks and located about where the Chena Wayside is on Chena Pump/Chena Ridge Roads.

I believe Gus would be the man on the left with the pointy hat.

December COASST survey

Even though it is winter, we still enjoy going out to do the monthly Boy Scout survey. Compared to past year's weather, this one was a pretty mild one. The trail only had a couple of icy spots and except for the 30-35 knot winds on the north side of the beach it was pretty pleasant.

Except for missing our hiking buddy, Oso, we had a nice walk along the beach and found no dead birds. We enjoyed a nice turn-around treat complete with hot cocoa (made with milk) and various cheeses and crackers. We toasted Oso with carrots.

And what a difference a day makes! Here we are out for an afternoon walk at the airport dike on sunday. Next time, Tim doesn't get to pick which day we do the survey!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 6, 1911

Flo's Diary

Don't know what happened except Nell went sleighing to Fox with Mr. Brown. Met Bob Shelton as Marcella and I went to mail letters.

Or maybe better known as Bobby Shelton (as we grew up knowing him), moved to Fairbanks from Skagway in 1908. It was in Skagway where he built his first car and without having seen one. Sheldon later ventured with the first auto on the Valdez-Fairbanks trail. I can just image what a mucky trip that was! And he was also the first to bring a model "T" to Alaska.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December 5, 1911

Flo's Diary:

So sleepy. a dark day. Miss Gilmer takes us to dinner at M.E. Church fair. Marcella and I tend fish pond. Fun. Ice cream and home with Kelly. To fair with Lenard Heacock. Capt. D. called.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 4, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Awaken before 7 by alarm. So sleepy. School again. squirming youngsters. Girls practice. I entertain Mr. Thrift. Bed early.

Here is a Dec 4, 1911 image of my Great Uncle Gus - completely unrelated and perhaps at the time, not even known to each other. Gus would eventually marry Flo's sister Gladys who would come to Fairbanks around 1918.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 3, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up about 9 - heat water to talk bath. Help with breakfast. Go to Church. Write letters. Get dinner while girls go to practice. Sleep. Mr. Green comes and we go to Episcipal church. Good music. Snow. Pennington comes in with Marcella and Brown with Nell. Sleep with Marcella.

Ok, so I was wrong to assume that the church she had attended was St. Matthews since she specifically names it in this passage.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 2, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up about 8 o'clock. Write letters. Snowed all day flakes small. Cleaned house. Went over to Heacocks downtown with Marcella. bot meat 35¢ a lb. and 2 loaves of bread 25¢. Get supper - Mr. Lewis comes over and we play cribbage. Nell and Mr. Brown go to show. Bed at midnight.

According to Wikipedia, Fairbanks' motto, "Fairbanks, Alaska's Golden Heart" was the product of a group of Fairbanks businessmen in 1911 in hopes of encouraging growth in the area. Since 1909, gold production had declined and with it Fairbanks' population. Even then the 3,500 people made Fairbanks the largest city in Alaska. It would be interesting to know how far out of "town" these 3,500 people were counted. Even today most of the population of the area lives outside the city boundaries.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December 1, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up about 8 - write letters. Girls up about 10:30. Get breakfast – wash dishes and clean up. Nell and I go for a walk. Meet Mrs. Kettle's son. Get big bunch of mail. Home at once to read it. Nell and I go skating – splendid time but cold 15° below. Walk. Beautiful moon light night. Home and found Mr. Green. Talk awhile. Bed about 11.

Doesn't look like they got up early to go shopping on Black Friday but the post office was open! Here is what skating on the ice might have looked like for these ladies.

Today in history: The Ford Motor Company introduces the first assembly line.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 30, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Thanksgiving. Up at 10 o'clock. Write letters while M. and Nell get up. Breakfast at 12. Feel stiff from dancing. Make some candy which turns out too soft to eat with nothing except spoon. Dress in my green and go to Heacocks for dinner. Meet Judge Pratt and son, Mr. Southworth and Miss Harris. Dandy dinner. Turkey galore. Spent evening there talking and games. Home about 10:30 and ready to crawl in bed.

President Howard Taft's Thanksgiving 1911 proclamation November 30th was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer. Read the New York Times Editoral.

I can only guess that Judge Pratt's son may be Harry E. Pratt who also be came an attorney and Judge for the US District Court and later hired Ted Stevens as US Attorney. Alaska Dispatch.

But the big question...what time do the shops open in the morning? Has Black Friday caught on?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 29, 1911

Flo's Diary:

To school for all day. Take lunch. Downtown. Rest. go to dance with Marcella and Mr. Green. Have a dandy time and meet many people. Eat Turkey. Home at 3:30 a.m.

A pre-Thanksiving dinner would have been served at the dance. A few options might have been:

"Thanksgiving Dinner. Oysters with Sherry, Thanksgiving Soup, Popped Corn, Roast Stuffed Turkey, Brown Gravy, Sweet Potatoes a la Bement, Boiled Onions, Turnip Croquettes, Cranberry Conserve, Chicken Pie, Chiffonade Dressed Lettuce, Puritan Pudding, Foamy Brandy Sauce, Mince Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Nuts and Raisins, Assorted Fruit, Cafe Noir."
---Catering for Special Occasions with Menus and Recipes, Fannie Merritt Farmer [David McKay:Philadelphia] 1911 (p. 145) from

or something like this menu from the Hotel Marion in Oregon? My guess it that dinner was a little simpler.

One might have received a card like this in the post.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 28, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up at 7 o'clock to school. Teach hard. Go down town see Mr. Healy at Meyers and meet Mr. Litsey. Mr Thrist for dinner - Capt. and Mr. Charles up in evening.

What exactly does "teach hard" in 1911 mean? It is Tuesday before Thanksgiving...I don't image there were any movie for film strips to watch!

So many men, so little time!

Friday, November 26, 2010

November 27, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Fitful night - up at 7. My 1st day in Fairbanks public schools. 58 kids. Nice. Get along nicely. Busy day. Home with Miss Gilmer. Mr Green asks us to go for a walk. decline. M. goes. Mr. Thrist for dinner. Miss Gilmer and Miss Taite come for a walk. Tired - bed early.

Fairbanks Public School:

From Frank and Frances Carpenter collection (Library of Congress), a gift of Mrs. W. Chapin Huntington; 1951.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 26, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up about 9:15. Get breakfast. Go to Church. Few there. Do school work. Meet Mr. Thrift and Mr. Barris falls thru door. Surprised to see me and backs out. Girls to practice. Dress in my blue silk. Mr. Carin, Mr. Davis and Mr. Healy come and take us to the Shaw House to dinner. Chicken. Splendid time. Candy from Mr. Healy. Come home and visit. Dandy time. Like. Mr. L. Bed and talk to 11.

So...there's a new girl in town!

I was looking up how chicken might have been prepared but didn't come up with anything but I did find this Food history timeline, where and found that 1911 saw Crisco introduced but it wasn't until 1912 that Oreo's changed how one viewed a glass of cold milk.

There were several churches in town by this time: St Matthew's Episcopal (interior), First Presbyterian Church, Immaculate Conception Church, and First United Methodist Church. There may be a few others as well. I suspect that she attended St Matthew's based on letters that she wrote to my Dad - I think Lori might have these. I remember seeing them when we were going through books.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 25, 1911

Flo's Diary:

Up about 7:30 - got breakfast. Washed, scrubbed, and ironed and pressed. Went down town with Marcella. Bot hat $12 – brown satin fur rim and brown flowers Very pretty. Bot ring. Met many people go to Mrs Boyer's party. My introduction to Alaska society. Meet many new people. Have dandy time. Walk home with Mr. Pratt. Very nice fellow. Bed 2 am?

Here is a little look at what some early 1913 hat fashion were like and might give us and idea of what the new brown hat that Aunt Flor purchased was like. Did the merchants in Fairbanks in 1913 keep that current with the trends? or should I be looking for fashion examples from a decade before?

So long little bear

We have to say "happy trails" to our dear friend Oso. This big black dog has been a great companion on many of our hikes around Juneau and a willing participant in a lot of our adventures. We met him as an elderly dog–none of the silliest of a puppy; he had a honest spirit–happy when he wanted to be and cranky when he felt necessary. For a long time I felt he didn't like me, tolerated my presence at best, but then things changed and he looked happy to see me. I never considered that I would have to gain trust from "Man's Best Friend" but I did with Oso.

I will miss the attention he paid to anyone who had their right hand in their pocket (where the treats were, of course) even if he didn't know them, his anticipation for turn-around-treats on hikes and walks, the flop of his ears as he trotted along the trail (day dreaming of treats, no doubt), his excited bark as he approached the house in the car from a couple blocks away, and his singing of "Happy Birthday" whenever anyone started the song. Not just any song, but only "Happy Birthday."

I will miss having to give him a spoonful of yogurt when he first got up in the morning so he wouldn't throw-up, prying the dead salmon out of his mouth as he tries to woof them down at Boy Scout Beach, and cleaning his long black feathers of twigs and other things that get caught in fur.