Glacier Valley Gazetta: A Glimpse into the Past
By Marc Donadieu
Glacier City Gazette
The pages of the Glacier Valley Gazetta are a fascinating look into Girdwood 51 years ago.
On page 4 of the Vol. 1, No. 4, Aug.-Sept. 1967 issue is “The Sourdough Trail,” an article of satirical fancy in the Mark Twain tradition. Given the writing style and no byline, it is likely Editor Hugh Cruikshank Jr. wrote the piece.
Four seasons before was 1964 Earthquake, and Lower Potter Road (now Seward Highway) was still in a state of grave disrepair, especially the section from Girdwood to Portage. Lower Potter Road’s nickname was The Sourdough Trail. The writer asserts the painfully slow, shabby road conditions are a blessing that allow people to appreciate the natural beauty around them.
The Sourdough Trail
From “Conversation Unlimited” by Reuben Gaines, KHAR
I may have to keep from breaking into fresh tears of sentiment in recalling the dead whale which lay on the beach during low tide two summers ago. Had the Sourdough Trail remained a paved highway, drivers would have passed that magnificent sight by, without noticing. But with the road slowed to 10-mile-an-hour conditions, people saw the noble carcass, stopped their cars and went down to stand and meditate around it. Picnic lunches were opened and children cavorted around the remains while their elders took pictures of each other standing forward, aft, to the port or starboard side of the dead whale. As I recall, the best results were obtained with a Brownie camera employing 8.4 Graflex, either with or without flashbulbs, depending on light conditions.