Gustavus Historical Archives & Antiquities
Press Release, August 2006
Leland (Lee) Parker, third generation of Gustavus, Alaska and grandson of
homesteader Abraham Lincoln Parker has recently formed a nonprofit corporation
called Gustavus Historical Archives and Antiquities. Lee says he believes such
an organization is long overdue as a means to collect, preserve and maintain
the historical integrity of Gustavus---called Strawberry Point in its
The organization's goal is to make early original documents dating from the
1910's available to anyone who may be interested in researching Gustavus
history and its surrounding areas. "It's a monumental task that's going to take
time and resources," said Linda Parker who already has an estimated 6 months in
full-time dedication organizing and archiving documents. "Eventually we would
like to see them all time-lined, indexed, scanned and made available online in
digital form," she added.
Lee Parker reports they are currently working with several thousand
documents, hundreds of early letters, photographs "too many to count", and
interesting Alaskan ephemera. In addition there are early handmade and other
antiquities, and dozens of books and reference material dating from the 1800's
and early 1900's used in Gustavus by the homesteaders in the schoolhouse, in
farming, mining and home.
Other important documents include Abraham Lincoln Parker's personal
yearly ledgers dating from 1917 (their Gustavus arrival) detailing everyday
life, commerce---including crops, sales, trading, livestock, income etc., as
well as activities of the other homesteaders such as Davis, Goods, Rinks, and
Halls. Edith Arminthea Parker's diary and account books detail the comings and
goings, household income, wars and other major events of the day.
"They may have been homesteading a very remote, undeveloped Alaskan wilderness,
but I'm convinced my Grandparents Abraham and Edith Parker pretty much
kept up with everything important going on, on the outside," said Lee Parker.
"They were surprisingly well informed."
The locating of the Leroy gold mine in Glacier Bay in 1938 by Leslie
Franklin Parker on one of he and his father Abraham's many prospecting trips
has several cases full of documents organized but yet to be archived for
historical purposes. "It's quite a story," said Lee Parker, "and there are a
great deal of other mining activities in Glacier Bay as well as documents
detailing the great friendship that developed between the Parkers and Joe and
Muz Ibach of Glacier Bay and Lemesurier Island."
"It's truly been a treasure hunt as well as a labor of love," said
Lee Parker. "The early homesteaders were a hearty lot who in spite of numerous
challenges and defeats moved from agriculture and farming to cattle raising,
lumbering, fishing and gold mining---whatever worked at the time. They were
resourceful, hard working and self- sufficient. But there has also been a lot
of misinformation and confused stories that have taken wings and migrated over
the years and frankly, some of the assertions have gotten pretty wild."
"Our goal is to be able to offer original evidence and documentation,
relying on verifiable facts as best we can before the years of re-telling,
personal or political agendas, or the failings of human nature rewrite the
course of Gustavus history."
Archives and Antiquities is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization. All donations are recognized by
the IRS as being tax deductible.
Anyone who may have documents, photographs, ephemera or antiquities
of early Gustavus that they are willing to add to the historic library (whether
originals or copies of originals) all are welcome and source credits will be
given. "In the event duplicate copies are received," said Lee Parker, "Source
credits will be given to the first person or family who submits the new
inquiries, suggestions, or contributions call (907) 697-2242, Lee or