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Ghost town gazette. [volume] : (Chitina, Alaska) 19??-19??
Place of publication:
Chitina, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Chitina, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
J. Wilson
Dates of publication:
  • English
  • Alaska--Chitina.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211178
  • Chitina (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Description based on: July 16, 1956.
  • Issues lack numbering.
sn 95060002
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Ghost town gazette. [volume] July 16, 1956 , Image 1


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Ghost Town Gazette

The Ghost Town Gazette was a newspaper in Chitina, Alaska, started by Jo Wilson in 1956. Wilson said in the August 15, 1956, issue that it was created "for the purpose of advertising our Tebay Lodge and to let a few people know about this place called Chitina." The issues were not numbered and were occasionally undated, making it difficult to identify issues or know if any are missing. The publication was produced on a mimeograph and often featured hand drawn pictures of ghosts engaged in various activities like fishing, hunting, and more. Carol Steadman was listed as the art editor and Jo Wilson as the editor. There was also a columnist and sometimes guest editor O.A. Nelson, who was usually referred to as "Old Cynic."

Nelson's column was referred to early on as the "Chief Ghost Column," likely in reference to Nelson's Native American ancestry; Wilson mentioned in the July 30, 1956, issue that Nelson was originally from a reservation in Missouri. Nelson was a fierce opponent of statehood for Alaska and didn't believe the state could support itself, referring to the state's population as parasites on Uncle Sam in the August 6, 1956, issue. The same issue included a note from Wilson saying that "this Editor and Publisher and my Art Editor are not in any manner shape or form responsible for the opinions of the 'Old Cynic.'" Nelson seemingly had a low opinion of Alaska Natives, and while he praised the "old untutored, unlettered Indians" as honest, in the July 30, 1956, issue he complained that they now felt "immune from all ordinary responsibilities" and "entitled to support from the whiteman."

The Gazette focused on local news including comings and goings, reports on people's fishing and hunting trips, business and construction developments around town, and various snippets of town gossip and news. The Gazette did cover some state news as well, primarily around the debate over statehood for Alaska, which the Gazette opposed. Another recurring topic was the power supply for the town of Chitina, which was hydro powered; the Gazette wrote in the February 5, 1957, issue that it was turned off during the day to "economise[sic] water for power until the spring thaw." The paper reported on the first airplane to land at Chitina in its June 10, 1957, issue.

Steadman moved away in 1956, but she sent her drawings for the paper back to Chitina. Sometimes others tried their hands at the ghost drawings when she was unavailable. The publication day and frequency for the Gazette were often irregular due to issues with the town's power supply, other jobs worked by the editor, and the difficulty of finding much to report. A note in the January 13, 1957, issue said that the Gazette did not accept money for subscriptions and only took money to cover the costs of postage for the paper. It is unclear when the Ghost Town Gazette ended.

Provided by: Alaska State Library Historical Collections