Cooper Landing

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Good morning.

Today is community hall and grounds cleanup at 10 a.m. Volunteers are needed to help with this work. Some folks see a time coming when we will have a mill rate or two added to our property taxes to support local community amenities as the community center and ambulance and fire services, but until that time, it's up to us. Coffee and cinnamon rolls will be available for break time.

The Cooper Landing Historical Society board meets Thursday at 2 p.m. at the museum for a meeting and cleanup in preparation for the general meeting Saturday.

Also, for the May 15 season opening. Everyone who would like to help is welcome. Again, coffee and cinnamon rolls will be served.

Recently retired U.S. Forest Service research entomologist Ed Holsten will give the CLHS program Saturday on the history of the spruce bark beetle outbreak on the peninsula. Holsten has been working on this for about 30 years and knows more about those beetles than you can imagine.

Some bug is coming for the birch trees, too, and he'll talk about that. The program begins at 2 p.m. with refreshments following before the business meeting. It is open to the public.

I've been hearing more about the seniors citizens and kids mission to Mars that took place at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska earlier this month. The kids and seniors enthusiastically related experiences during the mission. I counted 12 children and 11 adults in the pictures.

That reminds me, Mayme Ohnemus was hard-pressed to get her tasks completed be-cause what she really wanted to do was photograph everyone else at their jobs. A note from her partner, Jan Mitchell, was picked up by one of the kids regarding Mayme's performance: Do you have brain damage due to lack of oxygen?

Now a number of those attending are considering another mission to a space camp, which I hear is in the Lower 48.

Regarding that herd of turkeys I mentioned last week— I now understand the correct term for a group of turkeys is a rafter, and a group of swans are a bevy or wedge, according to my Time Almanac 2005.

A bevy of swans and the rafter of turkeys are still hanging out around the bridge while a pair of eagles are nesting in the cottonwood tree on Snug Harbor Road.

Feral bunnies and a multitude of squirrels are more numerous than the birds around several homes. We're looking for the first bear and keeping the garbage can emptied daily.

Thanks to Carol Benge in Seattle, historical information from the 14 and 15 census of the United States for the Cooper Landing area will be available at the museum.

The name of place for these census are Lower Lake Kenai and Scattered Settlements Kenai Lake. Living here, and nearby, in 1930 were Frank, Hazle and Patricia Towle; John Lean; Harry Brown; Frank Strawbinger; William Simpson, James Newman, Louis Bell and his wife (whose name I couldn't make out); William Fuller; the Jasper Hollman family of six; Margaret Barnett; Charles, Beryl and Nicholas Lean; Sleti or Saleta Lewis; Alice, Louise and Imogene Carlson; and Duncan Little.

Several residents on the 1930 census were fur trappers, fur ranchers and prospectors. Margaret Barnett was the school teacher and Duncan Little was a camp cook. William Simpson was a homesteader in the Quartz Creek area from 1916 to 1939, from the information I have, but he didn't finish the paperwork to receive a patent. On early maps of that area, Simpson Bay was a lake feature west of the current airstrip.

Frank Strawbinger's place was on Kenai Lake above Porcupine Island. Beryl Lean mentioned Strawbinger many years ago. She said people traveling on the lake would stop at his place and he kept a journal listing those who stopped. U. S. Forest Service employee G.C. Haneman mentions in his journals stopping at Straubinger's on Kenai Lake in March, by dog team, and in Oct. by boat in 1920.

Carol also sent the 1920 census of Seward. The census taker was Dr. J.H. Romig whose grandson Karl Romig and his family live in Cooper Landing.

Mona Painter can be reached by phone at 595-1248 or by email at

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