Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Marge Gull painting of Piledriver Roadhouse, 30 miles from Fairbanks


Another painting by Alaska artist, Marguerite "Marge" Gull. This one is of Piledriver Roadhouse, which used to be located along Chena Slough (now Piledriver Slough) south of Fairbanks.

This roadhouse was located approximately 30 miles from Fairbanks, a mile or so up the slough from where it branched off from the Tanana River. The Valdez-Fairbanks Trail crossed the slough at this point.

Called Chena Slough Roadhouse in 1904, by 1907 the name had changed to Pile Driver Roadhouse. 1907 was also the year that ferry-service across the slough was initiated, so the name change could have had something to do with the ferry facilities.

The roadhouse was later called 30-Mile Roadhouse. It operated at least until 1918 but by 1923 appears to have ceased operations.

Marge Gull (who died in 2013) came to Alaska with her husband in 1938, living first in Fairbanks and then Anchorage. She was an amateur painter and painted 49 of the roadhouses along the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail.

I assume that at least some of the paintings were done from photographs since many of the roadhouses disappeared long before Marge came to Alaska. This painting is in the collection of the Valdez Museum.

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