Brothers Henry "Hank" & Carl Johnson settled in about 1933 in the Rink Creek area of Gustavus, Alaska (formerly Strawberry Point). Lester Rink, happy to have some new neighbors, lent a helping hand and their original log house was quickly built---a structure measuring just 12' by 16'. They raised cattle and tried their hand at farming. Hank Johnson had a hand in the construction of Gustavus' dock road and was a commercial fisherman for a time. Carl Johnson died in 1940 the same year Hank Johnson's homestead land was patented. Hank spent several years in a tuberculosis sanitarium during WWII. He returned to Gustavus with a wife and daughter in about 1946 but left again in 1950. In 1972 Hank (having met & married a "sailing partner" from Florida) came back to Gustavus to renovate his old original cabin. The original foundation was loosely laid beach combed planks. There was no floor. The foundation had rotted and "melted" into the ground and was jacked up by using tiny hydraulic car jacks and replaced with new foundation and plywood flooring.
A new plywood roof was installed. Roof rafters and windows were kept original to the first 1933 structure. The original hand split roof shakes were recycled and used as siding on the newly added back end structure.
The "bumpout" on side of house (added by Hank in 1972) went around, over, and under window to expand the counterspace by 3-4'. This reportedly doubled the counterspace and made a huge difference in the very small kitchen.
Rain barrel (their only source of water) can be seen at the south & east corner of cabin. This corner is where Hank was standing in old 1933 photo holding eagle with outstretched wings as a bounty prize.
What appears to be an "outhouse" (on the right in photo) is a working "smoke house".
Delphinium flowers against wall of cabin and field of wild daisies planted by Marge Johnson.
Hank and Marge loved to play pinochle and often got together for evenings full of fun and games with Ken & Ann Youmans, Ruth & Fred Matson, and the Buoys.
In 1978 Hank took ill and left Gustavus a year or so later for the final time. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. He first went to Mexico for Laetril treatments, then to Seattle for a course of radiation in hopes of slowing the cancer. When nothing seemed to be working he went to Texas to be surrounded by family and died in 1981 with a "smile (though suffering) on his face to the end". His stepson, Don Bryant, reported he had an enormous amount of courage, and was an uncommonly "good man" for the whole of his life.
Following Hank's death, Marge returned for several summers to Gustavus alone. She found life as a single woman in the remote area of Rink Creek to be too difficult and lonely, though she had many friends. In 1986 she sold out to son Don Bryant who had been working in Prudoe Bay. Marge was born September 11, 1920 and died August 9, 1993.
Henry "Hank" Johnson's renovated structure is used (present day 2008) as a guest house by Don Bryant.
Editors Note: Carl Johnson died in 1940 before he could prove up on a parcel of land just south and east of Charlie Parker's homestead along Salmon River.