Article About the Alaska Building

Building Historic Juneau Logo Church

Alaska Will Be Represented by a Copy of the Building and by Many Fine Exhibits

Commissioner Jackson Camps Out and Starts Work

Buffalo Courier May 7, 1901

Alaska, that wonderful territory of the United States, of whose resources the people of the central and eastern states are as little informed as they are of those of Turkey or Persia, will have an exhibit on the grounds which will open the eyes of Pan-American visitors. This exhibit will be divided between the Alaskan Building, the Mines and Ethnological Buildings. Arthur C. Jackson, who is the Pan-American commissioner of the territory, as well as being president of the Alaska Geographical Society, has just returned from Alaska, and work of erecting the building and of installing the exhibits in the Mines and Ethnological buildings is now underway and will be pushed rapidly to completion.

Alaska's building, which will occupy a site just east of the Indian Mound, near the east extremity of the grounds, will be a copy of the old historic log church at Juneau. This church is one of the oldest religious edifices of Protestantism in Alaska, and since the territory has become traveled by tourists from the states, has been visited by thousands of Americans. The main dimensions of the reproduction will be 40 x 60 ft., somewhat larger than the original. Like the original, it will be built of logs and will be one of the most unique buildings on the grounds.

Considering that the Alaskan Building is a copy of a chapel, Commissioner Jackson will inaugurate a novel feature which, he believes, will not only be edifying but popular. He will open the building every Sunday during the Exposition for church services, the preachers being chosen from among the noted pulpit orators who will be brought to the city by the Exposition. On week days, besides serving as an exhibit hall, the building will be used for illustrated lectures on Alaska. These lectures will be delivered by Prof. Fred I. Munsen, secretary of the commission. They will be illustrated by many stereopticon views and will be calculated to give the hearer an adequate conception of the great extent and wealth of the territory of Alaska.

"Very few people in the East have any proper idea of the size of the territory," said Mr. Jackson last evening. "In Massachusetts I have heard teachers tell their pupils it was several times the size of Massachusetts. As a matter of fact, it is just 200 times as large. This and many other popular misconceptions of the country we hope to remove."

As Alaska has no territorial government of its own, it was unable to make an appropriation for its exhibit at the Pan-American. This could have been secured only through a law enacted by Congress, and as that plan was not feasible the citizens, under the lead of the Historical Society, subscribed the fund which has collected the exhibit and brought it to the Pan-American Exposition. Generous aid was given by the cities of Seattle and Portland, which have large trade interests in Alaska.

Work was begun yesterday installing the educational exhibit of the territory in the Liberal Arts Building. This will surprise, in its completeness and the character of the work, everybody who is not aware that the public school system of Alaska has been in operation less than one year. The work of installing the mining exhibit has also begun. Shown in this exhibit will be two tons of copper ore which was brought from the celebrated Whitehorse district. In recognition of Alaska's prominence as a mining territory, it has been assigned a liberal and well-located space in the building.

In the Ethnology Building Alaska will also make a magnificent exhibit. A portion of this will be made up of the Crane Alaskan collection, which was recently on exhibition at the Coliseum in Chicago and which is valued at $35,000. It contains a fine natural history collection, completely covering the fauna of Alaska. One of the specimens shown - a finely mounted polar bear - is said to be the finest specimen of its class ever exhibited. The bear weighed 1,600 pounds when shot by Mr. Crane. The collection ablso shows a large number of bones of prehistoric animals, such as the mastodon, and is rich in the ethnology of the Esquimaux. By special request of the superintendent of this department, Mr. Jackson secured, while on his recent visit to Alaska, two fine totem poles. These are among the largest in the territory. Ex. Gov. Swineford has secured and will shortly send to the Exposition the largest war canoe now in Alaska. It was used by the Alaska Indians and was capable of carrying fifty warriors.

The Alaskan Building, which will be a general headquarters, will contain the many exhibits which do not properly come under any of the Exposition classifications, or which for reasons the commisssioners desire to show alone. They will also show exhibits in mining and ethnology, to a certain extent amplifying their exhibits in the other buildings. One of the interesting things in the Alaskan headquarters will be a collection of panorama photographs in the interior of Alaska. Two years ago the Historical Society sent a photographer in a small boat to the head of the Yukon River for the purpose of getting these views. That the value of the work is recognized is shown by the fact that the United States Census Commission has applied to the society for permission to use them in illustrating its report upon Alaska, which will be a separate volume in the series of census reports.

In order to see that the work of erecting the Alaska Building is pushed forward as rapidly as possible. Commissioner Jackson has camped out on the grounds in one of the cabins of the Six Nations exhibit adjoining the Alaskan site. He hopes to have the building completed by Dedication Day, though it will be impossible for it to contain all its exhibits as some from the interior of Alaska, which could not be shipped till after the ice broke up late in the spring, have not arrived here yet.




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