The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Rocking the Boat


The following is from the editorial page of the March 17, 1977 Seward Phoenix LOG.

When Lee McAnerney was mayor of Seward she tried to promote interest in observance of Seward’s 75th anniversary which will be in 1978. Lee went on to bigger things as Commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs and moved to Juneau, and the project died aborning.

Now however, time is getting short for any long-range planning for such an observance if someone doesn’t get busy working on it soon. For that reason I have sent letters out to various individuals and groups in the community, asking for ideas and support of a Diamond Jubilee celebration to take place in the summer of 1978. There has already been a response. Doug Capra, drama teacher at Seward High School, has promised to direct a play, or some other form of theatrical performance either this coming fall or next spring to spark interest in the history and settlement of Seward. Doug’s presentations are always enjoyed and we can be sure whatever he comes up with will be an inspiration to others to participate in some way in plans for 1978.

There are upwards of 50 organizations of various kinds in Seward – from fraternal and social groups to civic and quasi-governmental gatherings. There are Elks, Legionnaires, Jaycees, church groups, Masons, Pioneers, Rebekahs, Historical Society, Library Board, Campfire Girls, and so on. There are federal agencies which might take part if asked, such as the Forest Service and Alaska Railroad. After all, it was to build a railroad that his community was founded in the first place. And there are unions which could take part. It was the waterfront and longshoring which for many years dominated the economy of our town. The longshoremen would surely like to take part.

It is true that the bicentennial celebration drew little enthusiasm in Seward and most of Alaska. But the Alaska Purchase Centennial observance in 1967 was a success here. It resulted in funds for an addition to the library, and participation by many groups in Seward. One of the highlights of that celebration was having so many former Sewardites return to the old home town for a visit. All of the graduates of Seward High School held a reunion, surely a one-of-a-kind occasion, and one that is still talked about by those who were there.

Since we do have a wealth of organizations there is unlimited resources right here. All it will take is each organization pledging itself to take one weekend of the summer of 1978 to sponsor one thing. It could be a picnic, a beach barbecue, a ceremony of some sort. There will need to be lots of effort put into floats and participation in the 4th of July parade. And certainly there should be some ceremony on Aug. 28, the 75th anniversary of the landing of the founders of Seward.

There needs to be lots of letter writing done, invitations sent to attend these functions (1978 will be a political year, we can expect lots of visitors). The Alaska Skill Center clerical cluster and the clerical students at Seward High need practical experience in this line – and surely the ASC and high school will cooperate.

Let’s all get to thinking. Ideas are needed first, then the bodies to carry them out. There is a place in this celebration for every age group, for every interest. How about it? Will you and your organization take part?


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