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Governor Bone: Prophet (Not)

In his book,

Bone, Scott C. 1925. Alaska, its past, present, future. [Juneau, Alaska?]: Issued by the Governor’s Office.

the territorial Governor makes a number of interesting predictions about Alaska, including this bit right on page 1:

“I see in Ketchikan a Seattle of Alaska to come, with its hills cut away for the making a city; in Juneau, a possible Vancouver or Portland; in Fairbanks, towards the top of the world, a future Winnepeg or Minneapolis of the interior. In Anchorage, a Pittsburgh of past-coming in time; in Seward a growing and important center and terminal; and in fair, picturesque Sitka, on Baranof Island, where Russians manufactured church bells a hundred years ago, I see the Victoria of Alaska, where beauty loving tourists will come and linger and revel in its charms.”

Assuming he meant the cities of Alaska to rival the US towns he named in population,  let’s make some comparisons using the 2000 Census:

Ketchikan (7,922) vs Seattle (563,374)

Juneau (30,711) vs Vancouver, WA (143,560) or Portland (529,121)

Fairbanks (30,224) vs Minneapolis (382,618)

Anchorage (260,283) vs Pittsburgh (334,563)

Well, it looks like Anchorage has a chance to catch Pittsburgh, but aside from that, it looks like the future isn’t quite what Bone foresaw.


5 Responses

  1. Ooh, cheap thrill for me, Alaska Librarian! Using primary sources and data to show comparisons…ah-h-h….

    Our state archives have now digitalized almost all WA territorial newspapers. These fine folks are also digitalizing a “Washington Remembers” series of early state-related books. Similar claims of greatness and growth were written by people convinced their neck of the woods would be the gateway to the world.

    It’s one thing to claim that people once said or believed these things, but it is another to actually read it in their own words- unfiltered. Too often school materials edit out all the cool stuff, making the past seem very, very boring.

  2. HistoryGoddess – And it’s a cheap thrill for me as a history major and govdocs librarian to have someone publicly admit they like primary sources and data!

    I’m going to bringing out more Governor Bone quotes good and bad in the coming weeks.

    The WA newspaper project sounds cool. Can you post a URL in case readers want to check it out?

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Here is the Sec of State website: http://www.secstate.wa.gov/history/ Both the newspapers and the “Classics” are viewable in either pdf or with a djvu viewer. The djvu is very good (also free) but I am not able to use it in Foxfire. For that I use IE. It is a very quick viewer, though.

    I went to the website over an hour ago and got lost as usual in reading some things. This is all still a work in progress. Every time I go there, new info has been added. Our University of WA digital collection is also very good.

  4. I found this little jewel in the “Classics” portion of the WA Sec of State archives: The Gold Fields of Alaska (1898) http://tinyurl.com/nm7txc

    Under supplies on page 6, the author includes the US Army ration list “tested by experience.” Interesting list, and one I will be pondering. Four quarts of vinegar per 100 days? Scurvy prevention? Two qts of salt per 100 days? It is a pretty basic list, but what all is included is interesting.

    Did a quick google search for what the army ration list is now. I didn’t search long, but did find a uk/guardian article from March, 2008 that ends with

    “The Pentagon this week put a range of its new gourmet menu on display, including garlic mashed potatoes, barbecue pork, southwest beef and black beans.

    The rations have to meet stringent criteria. They must stay within cost limits of $7.25 a meal, last at least three years at 80 degrees F, and remain edible having been dropped from a helicopter at 100 feet.

    The new range of FSRs have already been tested out in Afghanistan. Stephen Moody, who works at Natick, said the packages were designed to be lightweight, yet contain all the calories and protein the soldiers needed.

    Each pack contains 3,000 calories that can be eaten on the run, including a pepperoni sandwich, beef jerky, power bars, and this being the US, caffeine-infused chewing gum.”

    While I was searching, I found several WWII ration lists and several articles about the military’s “just add urine” meals.

    I think I will spend the next hour or so now writing a lesson based on military rations. Food says a lot about a society and culture. There is some cool stuff out there, and anything that ends in peeing in food will be interesting.

  5. The military rationing stuff is really interesting and I’ll have to look up Gold Fields of Alaska and see what other AK items your archive might have. Thanks for sharing!

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