Writers celebrate peninsula's history

Posted: Monday, April 05, 2004

Alternative tours of the Kenai Peninsula, past and present, can be had at your bookstore or library.

Classic works offer over-views of the area. Both oldest and newest is "Alaska's Kenai Peninsula: The Road We've Traveled." It includes a 1946 book, Lois Hudson Allen's "Alaska's Kenai Pen-insula," plus updates the Kenai Peninsula Historical Association published in 2002.

Alaska Geographic covered the Kenai in two volumes, its 1978 "Cook Inlet Country" and 1994 "The Kenai Peninsula."

The standard local reference long has been Elsa Pedersen's 1983 "A Larger History of the Western Kenai Peninsula."

Peninsula towns inspire historians. Mary J. Barry wrote the three-volume "Seward Alaska: A History of the Gateway City."

Janet Klein has written several books, including "Kachemak Bay" and "The Homer Spit."

One of the most impressive recent works is Susan Woodward Springer's "Seld-ovia Alaska."

For insight into the lives of the pioneers, read two volumes compiled by post-World-War-II homesteaders. "Once Upon the Kenai" portrays the central peninsula and "In Those Days" the southern peninsula.

Other insights into past lives come from memoirs such as Albert Weldon Morgan's gold-rush diary "Memories of Old Sunrise," Ethel Kavan-augh's story of the Fox River Valley in "Wilderness Home-steaders" and the recently published journal of Kenai and Kasilof sourdough Andrew Berg in "Alaska's No. 1 Guide."

An acclaimed modern memoir is Nancy Lord's "Fish Camp," about setnetting on Cook Inlet's western shore.

Information about the Kenai's Native cultures is just beginning to appear in print. The landmark book about the Dena'ina Athabascans of the western peninsula is "A Dena'ina Legacy, K'tl'egh'I Sukdu: The Collected Writings of Peter Kalifornsky."

The best sources about the Kachemak Bay and outer coast Alutiiq or Pacific Eskimo are little books titled "Fireweed" and "Alexandrovsk," published by schools in Port Graham and Nanwalek.

The most complete book so far about Ninilchik's roots is "Agrafena's Children: the Old Families of Ninilchik, Alaska," edited by Wayne Leman.

Travelers seeking guidebooks should check out the classic "55 Ways to the Wilderness of Southcentral Alaska," by Helen Nien-heuser and John Wolfe Jr., last updated in 2002, and the 2001 "Alaska's Kenai Pen-insula: A Travelers Guide," by Andromeda Romano-Lax.

Fishing enthusiasts have the new "Fishing Alaska's Kenai Peninsula," by Dave Atcheson, and "Fishing the Kenai," by Dan Sisson.

For birding, check out the works of George West, who has published booklets of localized lists.

The peninsula is home and inspiration for talented writers, who often work the land into their writings.

It is impossible to list them all, but two fiction writers deserve special mention for prolific and popular depictions of the area. Ped-ersen, who lived in Bear Cove and Sterling, penned a series of Alaska adventure novels for young people during the 1950s and 1960s; many were reissued in the 1980s.

Tom Bodett, sometime Homer resident, wrote a series of humorous works inspired by life at "the end of the road" and the well-received 1999 novel "Williwaw!"

If you get weathered in, curl up with one of these titles and let your imagination do the walking.

Alternative tours of the Kenai Peninsula, past and present, can be had at your bookstore or library.

Classic works offer over-views of the area. Both oldest and newest is "Alaska's Kenai Peninsula: The Road We've Traveled." It includes a 1946 book, Lois Hudson Allen's "Alaska's Kenai Pen-insula," plus updates the Kenai Peninsula Historical Association published in 2002.

Alaska Geographic covered the Kenai in two volumes, its 1978 "Cook Inlet Country" and 1994 "The Kenai Peninsula."

The standard local reference long has been Elsa Pedersen's 1983 "A Larger History of the Western Kenai Peninsula."

Peninsula towns inspire historians. Mary J. Barry wrote the three-volume "Seward Alaska: A History of the Gateway City."

Janet Klein has written several books, including "Kachemak Bay" and "The Homer Spit."

One of the most impressive recent works is Susan Woodward Springer's "Seld-ovia Alaska."

For insight into the lives of the pioneers, read two volumes compiled by post-World-War-II homesteaders. "Once Upon the Kenai" portrays the central peninsula and "In Those Days" the southern peninsula.

Other insights into past lives come from memoirs such as Albert Weldon Morgan's gold-rush diary "Memories of Old Sunrise," Ethel Kavan-augh's story of the Fox River Valley in "Wilderness Home-steaders" and the recently published journal of Kenai and Kasilof sourdough Andrew Berg in "Alaska's No. 1 Guide."

An acclaimed modern memoir is Nancy Lord's "Fish Camp," about setnetting on Cook Inlet's western shore.

Information about the Kenai's Native cultures is just beginning to appear in print. The landmark book about the Dena'ina Athabascans of the western peninsula is "A Dena'ina Legacy, K'tl'egh'I Sukdu: The Collected Writings of Peter Kalifornsky."

The best sources about the Kachemak Bay and outer coast Alutiiq or Pacific Eskimo are little books titled "Fireweed" and "Alexandrovsk," published by schools in Port Graham and Nanwalek.

The most complete book so far about Ninilchik's roots is "Agrafena's Children: the Old Families of Ninilchik, Alaska," edited by Wayne Leman.

Travelers seeking guidebooks should check out the classic "55 Ways to the Wilderness of Southcentral Alaska," by Helen Nien-heuser and John Wolfe Jr., last updated in 2002, and the 2001 "Alaska's Kenai Pen-insula: A Travelers Guide," by Andromeda Romano-Lax.

Fishing enthusiasts have the new "Fishing Alaska's Kenai Peninsula," by Dave Atcheson, and "Fishing the Kenai," by Dan Sisson.

For birding, check out the works of George West, who has published booklets of localized lists.

The peninsula is home and inspiration for talented writers, who often work the land into their writings.

It is impossible to list them all, but two fiction writers deserve special mention for prolific and popular depictions of the area. Ped-ersen, who lived in Bear Cove and Sterling, penned a series of Alaska adventure novels for young people during the 1950s and 1960s; many were reissued in the 1980s.

Tom Bodett, sometime Homer resident, wrote a series of humorous works inspired by life at "the end of the road" and the well-received 1999 novel "Williwaw!"

If you get weathered in, curl up with one of these titles and let your imagination do the walking.



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