Pioneer School House Annual Re-Creation

In April of 1915, President Woodrow Wilson planned the route of the Alaska Railroad with Ship Creek Landing for its headquarters. More than 2,000 workers traveled to Alaska, living in tents. A town was formed, and the realization came that there was not a school for the children.

Mothers, who had not previously known each other, met in the home of Jane Mears, wife of Lt. Frederick Mears of the Alaska Engineering Commission for the railroad. They organized a women's club whose major goal was to establish a school. Hence, the Anchorage Woman's Club was formed September 16, 1915, with Jane Mears as its first president.

The original school building was outgrown, but it served as a meeting place for community activities and was named Pioneer Hall. Money has been set aside at various times since 1920 for a woman's club clubhouse. The nearest to the dream being accomplished was the club using its own funds and funds from the community to move the Pioneer Hall, which was to be torn down, to its present location in the Ben Crawford Memorial Park, named after a pioneer Alaskan and banker.

The building is owned by the Municipality of Anchorage, but through the efforts of the Anchorage Woman's Club in moving the building, it has retained grandfather rights, along with the Anchorage Garden Club to use the building. The club is responsible for some furnishing in the building. The building was placed on the Historical Register on December 6, 1980.

Anchorage Woman's Club presents a week-long Pioneer Schoolhouse Re-Creation each year in late April. The complete tour is 1 ½ hours where the student will be greeted by Miss Orah Dee Clark, an historian, see a model Alaska Railroad Train, a teacher in a classroom setting, a tour of the Family Cabin and Trapper Cabin.

The tours begin at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00 for the Anchorage School District Students and at 2:00 for Private Schools and Home School Students.

Please contact Julie Wold, Chairman at 346-2253 or juliewold@acsalaska.net for scheduling.