Map shop maven to lead Progress Days Parade

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Dwarfed by the vast expanse of Fred Meyer on the east side of the Sterling Highway, Katherine Parker's Map Shop was a land mark well before Soldotna even dreamed of recruiting the national chain.

Opened in the early 1970s, 30 years later the shop remains a testament to Katherine, this year's grand marshal for the Progress Days' parade, and her deceased husband, Charlie, whose idea it was to open the shop.

Small and dark, it is filled to capacity with, as the name of the shop would lead one to believe, every type of map ever conceived. For the most part, the shop's inventory focuses on maps of Alaska, but some depicting geographical and political regions long forgotten adorn the walls.

While some of Katherine's customers are curious tourists looking for maps that highlight points of interest on the Kenai Peninsula, which she does have, a lot of her sales come from residents, mostly hunters looking for topographical maps of the peninsula.

Retail chains and convenience stores have sprung up around the region, but Katherine's specialty store continues to bring in customers. She has enough of a following so that when more than one or two customers stops by for a peek, the shop is far too small.

Before his death in May 2001, Charlie began construction on a new building for the shop. While it is unfinished, Katherine said she still has plans to complete the construction and relocate. The new shop, which lies on the same lot as the current Map Shop, is larger and will afford customers the space to browse through Katherine's selection of maps without the crunch for space.

Hopefully, with the move, the atmosphere of the Map Shop won't be lost. The original building also was built by Charlie when he and Katherine first moved to the peninsula in 1961. In addition to the maps, it holds relics of the old homesteading days in Soldotna that, like Charlie used to when he was alive, tell stories about the old days on the peninsula.

"He liked to talk and visit with people," she said of the time Charlie spent in the shop. "I enjoyed it more because of him. He was always the one entertaining guests."

Even though maps were not her passion, Katherine, 77, shows no sign of closing the shop. She admits, over time the maps and the chatting with customers has grown on her.

As a journalist for a good portion of her life, one might think that Katherine would have no problem visiting with residents and tourists who stop by for a map or a chat. After all, words are a journalist's trade.

However, for Katherine, being a reporter was a way for her to talk to people while hiding behind the job.

"I'd wish I'd taken up writing sooner," she said. "As a reporter, I had the nerve to ask questions I wouldn't have otherwise."

First, as a columnist for the former Anchorage Daily Times and later as a reporter for the Cheechako News, published in Soldotna until the late 1980s, Katherine was an amateur historian. She wrote first hand accounts of all the change and expansion that occurred from the time she moved to Soldotna in 1961 to when the Cheechako News folded in 1986.

"I'm always meeting somebody that recognizes me and they don't know why. Then they realize it is from way back," Katherine said recalling the days when she was always present at any of the community happenings.

She tries to downplay the role she had in the progress Soldotna has made in the past 53 years.

"My husband was more prominent in the community than I have been, though I have done things too," she said.

Katherine and her husband moved to the peninsula from Anchorage, but they met in Palmer where Parker moved from South Dakota in 1954.

A teacher and school secretary by trade, Katherine saw an advertisement for a position in Palmer while she was working on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

"It sounded like a real adventure," she said. "I thought everything was so different and coming from the airport everything was so different."

Katherine was introduced to Charlie through his aunt. Charlie was living in the Anchorage-Palmer area, but he was born in Juneau in 1922 to a family that had been in Alaska since the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Katherine recalls being thrilled to meet and fall in love with Charlie, who being born and raised in Alaska was, in her opinion, " a real sourdough."

They married in 1956 and the seed of the idea of moving to Soldotna was planted when Charlie, an engineer, traveled south to the developing peninsula and worked as a land surveyor in the subdividing of the current city of Soldotna.

"When he came down here, that was one of the things he really took pride in," Katherine said.

The two of them donated the land for the Soldotna Senior Center and Parker Park, dedicated in 2001 to the Parkers, in the early 60s before they moved to the peninsula.

"That was one land deal we both agreed on wholeheartedly," she said.

For the most part, Katherine said she is pleased with the city Soldotna has become.

"Soldotna is admirable. In ways they have managed to go forward. I don't think it's too big yet."

BYLINE1:By CARLY BOSSERT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

Dwarfed by the vast expanse of Fred Meyer on the east side of the Sterling Highway, Katherine Parker's Map Shop was a land mark well before Soldotna even dreamed of recruiting the national chain.

Opened in the early 1970s, 30 years later the shop remains a testament to Katherine, this year's grand marshal for the Progress Days' parade, and her deceased husband, Charlie, whose idea it was to open the shop.

Small and dark, it is filled to capacity with, as the name of the shop would lead one to believe, every type of map ever conceived. For the most part, the shop's inventory focuses on maps of Alaska, but some depicting geographical and political regions long forgotten adorn the walls.

While some of Katherine's customers are curious tourists looking for maps that highlight points of interest on the Kenai Peninsula, which she does have, a lot of her sales come from residents, mostly hunters looking for topographical maps of the peninsula.

Retail chains and convenience stores have sprung up around the region, but Katherine's specialty store continues to bring in customers. She has enough of a following so that when more than one or two customers stops by for a peek, the shop is far too small.

Before his death in May 2001, Charlie began construction on a new building for the shop. While it is unfinished, Katherine said she still has plans to complete the construction and relocate. The new shop, which lies on the same lot as the current Map Shop, is larger and will afford customers the space to browse through Katherine's selection of maps without the crunch for space.

Hopefully, with the move, the atmosphere of the Map Shop won't be lost. The original building also was built by Charlie when he and Katherine first moved to the peninsula in 1961. In addition to the maps, it holds relics of the old homesteading days in Soldotna that, like Charlie used to when he was alive, tell stories about the old days on the peninsula.

"He liked to talk and visit with people," she said of the time Charlie spent in the shop. "I enjoyed it more because of him. He was always the one entertaining guests."

Even though maps were not her passion, Katherine, 77, shows no sign of closing the shop. She admits, over time the maps and the chatting with customers has grown on her.

As a journalist for a good portion of her life, one might think that Katherine would have no problem visiting with residents and tourists who stop by for a map or a chat. After all, words are a journalist's trade.

However, for Katherine, being a reporter was a way for her to talk to people while hiding behind the job.

"I'd wish I'd taken up writing sooner," she said. "As a reporter, I had the nerve to ask questions I wouldn't have otherwise."

First, as a columnist for the former Anchorage Daily Times and later as a reporter for the Cheechako News, published in Soldotna until the late 1980s, Katherine was an amateur historian. She wrote first hand accounts of all the change and expansion that occurred from the time she moved to Soldotna in 1961 to when the Cheechako News folded in 1986.

"I'm always meeting somebody that recognizes me and they don't know why. Then they realize it is from way back," Katherine said recalling the days when she was always present at any of the community happenings.

She tries to downplay the role she had in the progress Soldotna has made in the past 53 years.

"My husband was more prominent in the community than I have been, though I have done things too," she said.

Katherine and her husband moved to the peninsula from Anchorage, but they met in Palmer where Parker moved from South Dakota in 1954.

A teacher and school secretary by trade, Katherine saw an advertisement for a position in Palmer while she was working on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

"It sounded like a real adventure," she said. "I thought everything was so different and coming from the airport everything was so different."

Katherine was introduced to Charlie through his aunt. Charlie was living in the Anchorage-Palmer area, but he was born in Juneau in 1922 to a family that had been in Alaska since the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Katherine recalls being thrilled to meet and fall in love with Charlie, who being born and raised in Alaska was, in her opinion, " a real sourdough."

They married in 1956 and the seed of the idea of moving to Soldotna was planted when Charlie, an engineer, traveled south to the developing peninsula and worked as a land surveyor in the subdividing of the current city of Soldotna.

"When he came down here, that was one of the things he really took pride in," Katherine said.

The two of them donated the land for the Soldotna Senior Center and Parker Park, dedicated in 2001 to the Parkers, in the early 60s before they moved to the peninsula.

"That was one land deal we both agreed on wholeheartedly," she said.

For the most part, Katherine said she is pleased with the city Soldotna has become.

"Soldotna is admirable. In ways they have managed to go forward. I don't think it's too big yet."

BYLINE1:By CARLY BOSSERT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

Dwarfed by the vast expanse of Fred Meyer on the east side of the Sterling Highway, Katherine Parker's Map Shop was a land mark well before Soldotna even dreamed of recruiting the national chain.

Opened in the early 1970s, 30 years later the shop remains a testament to Katherine, this year's grand marshal for the Progress Days' parade, and her deceased husband, Charlie, whose idea it was to open the shop.

Small and dark, it is filled to capacity with, as the name of the shop would lead one to believe, every type of map ever conceived. For the most part, the shop's inventory focuses on maps of Alaska, but some depicting geographical and political regions long forgotten adorn the walls.

While some of Katherine's customers are curious tourists looking for maps that highlight points of interest on the Kenai Peninsula, which she does have, a lot of her sales come from residents, mostly hunters looking for topographical maps of the peninsula.

Retail chains and convenience stores have sprung up around the region, but Katherine's specialty store continues to bring in customers. She has enough of a following so that when more than one or two customers stops by for a peek, the shop is far too small.

Before his death in May 2001, Charlie began construction on a new building for the shop. While it is unfinished, Katherine said she still has plans to complete the construction and relocate. The new shop, which lies on the same lot as the current Map Shop, is larger and will afford customers the space to browse through Katherine's selection of maps without the crunch for space.

Hopefully, with the move, the atmosphere of the Map Shop won't be lost. The original building also was built by Charlie when he and Katherine first moved to the peninsula in 1961. In addition to the maps, it holds relics of the old homesteading days in Soldotna that, like Charlie used to when he was alive, tell stories about the old days on the peninsula.

"He liked to talk and visit with people," she said of the time Charlie spent in the shop. "I enjoyed it more because of him. He was always the one entertaining guests."

Even though maps were not her passion, Katherine, 77, shows no sign of closing the shop. She admits, over time the maps and the chatting with customers has grown on her.

As a journalist for a good portion of her life, one might think that Katherine would have no problem visiting with residents and tourists who stop by for a map or a chat. After all, words are a journalist's trade.

However, for Katherine, being a reporter was a way for her to talk to people while hiding behind the job.

"I'd wish I'd taken up writing sooner," she said. "As a reporter, I had the nerve to ask questions I wouldn't have otherwise."

First, as a columnist for the former Anchorage Daily Times and later as a reporter for the Cheechako News, published in Soldotna until the late 1980s, Katherine was an amateur historian. She wrote first hand accounts of all the change and expansion that occurred from the time she moved to Soldotna in 1961 to when the Cheechako News folded in 1986.

"I'm always meeting somebody that recognizes me and they don't know why. Then they realize it is from way back," Katherine said recalling the days when she was always present at any of the community happenings.

She tries to downplay the role she had in the progress Soldotna has made in the past 53 years.

"My husband was more prominent in the community than I have been, though I have done things too," she said.

Katherine and her husband moved to the peninsula from Anchorage, but they met in Palmer where Parker moved from South Dakota in 1954.

A teacher and school secretary by trade, Katherine saw an advertisement for a position in Palmer while she was working on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

"It sounded like a real adventure," she said. "I thought everything was so different and coming from the airport everything was so different."

Katherine was introduced to Charlie through his aunt. Charlie was living in the Anchorage-Palmer area, but he was born in Juneau in 1922 to a family that had been in Alaska since the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Katherine recalls being thrilled to meet and fall in love with Charlie, who being born and raised in Alaska was, in her opinion, " a real sourdough."

They married in 1956 and the seed of the idea of moving to Soldotna was planted when Charlie, an engineer, traveled south to the developing peninsula and worked as a land surveyor in the subdividing of the current city of Soldotna.

"When he came down here, that was one of the things he really took pride in," Katherine said.

The two of them donated the land for the Soldotna Senior Center and Parker Park, dedicated in 2001 to the Parkers, in the early 60s before they moved to the peninsula.

"That was one land deal we both agreed on wholeheartedly," she said.

For the most part, Katherine said she is pleased with the city Soldotna has become.

"Soldotna is admirable. In ways they have managed to go forward. I don't think it's too big yet."

BYLINE1:By CARLY BOSSERT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

Dwarfed by the vast expanse of Fred Meyer on the east side of the Sterling Highway, Katherine Parker's Map Shop was a land mark well before Soldotna even dreamed of recruiting the national chain.

Opened in the early 1970s, 30 years later the shop remains a testament to Katherine, this year's grand marshal for the Progress Days' parade, and her deceased husband, Charlie, whose idea it was to open the shop.

Small and dark, it is filled to capacity with, as the name of the shop would lead one to believe, every type of map ever conceived. For the most part, the shop's inventory focuses on maps of Alaska, but some depicting geographical and political regions long forgotten adorn the walls.

While some of Katherine's customers are curious tourists looking for maps that highlight points of interest on the Kenai Peninsula, which she does have, a lot of her sales come from residents, mostly hunters looking for topographical maps of the peninsula.

Retail chains and convenience stores have sprung up around the region, but Katherine's specialty store continues to bring in customers. She has enough of a following so that when more than one or two customers stops by for a peek, the shop is far too small.

Before his death in May 2001, Charlie began construction on a new building for the shop. While it is unfinished, Katherine said she still has plans to complete the construction and relocate. The new shop, which lies on the same lot as the current Map Shop, is larger and will afford customers the space to browse through Katherine's selection of maps without the crunch for space.

Hopefully, with the move, the atmosphere of the Map Shop won't be lost. The original building also was built by Charlie when he and Katherine first moved to the peninsula in 1961. In addition to the maps, it holds relics of the old homesteading days in Soldotna that, like Charlie used to when he was alive, tell stories about the old days on the peninsula.

"He liked to talk and visit with people," she said of the time Charlie spent in the shop. "I enjoyed it more because of him. He was always the one entertaining guests."

Even though maps were not her passion, Katherine, 77, shows no sign of closing the shop. She admits, over time the maps and the chatting with customers has grown on her.

As a journalist for a good portion of her life, one might think that Katherine would have no problem visiting with residents and tourists who stop by for a map or a chat. After all, words are a journalist's trade.

However, for Katherine, being a reporter was a way for her to talk to people while hiding behind the job.

"I'd wish I'd taken up writing sooner," she said. "As a reporter, I had the nerve to ask questions I wouldn't have otherwise."

First, as a columnist for the former Anchorage Daily Times and later as a reporter for the Cheechako News, published in Soldotna until the late 1980s, Katherine was an amateur historian. She wrote first hand accounts of all the change and expansion that occurred from the time she moved to Soldotna in 1961 to when the Cheechako News folded in 1986.

"I'm always meeting somebody that recognizes me and they don't know why. Then they realize it is from way back," Katherine said recalling the days when she was always present at any of the community happenings.

She tries to downplay the role she had in the progress Soldotna has made in the past 53 years.

"My husband was more prominent in the community than I have been, though I have done things too," she said.

Katherine and her husband moved to the peninsula from Anchorage, but they met in Palmer where Parker moved from South Dakota in 1954.

A teacher and school secretary by trade, Katherine saw an advertisement for a position in Palmer while she was working on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

"It sounded like a real adventure," she said. "I thought everything was so different and coming from the airport everything was so different."

Katherine was introduced to Charlie through his aunt. Charlie was living in the Anchorage-Palmer area, but he was born in Juneau in 1922 to a family that had been in Alaska since the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Katherine recalls being thrilled to meet and fall in love with Charlie, who being born and raised in Alaska was, in her opinion, " a real sourdough."

They married in 1956 and the seed of the idea of moving to Soldotna was planted when Charlie, an engineer, traveled south to the developing peninsula and worked as a land surveyor in the subdividing of the current city of Soldotna.

"When he came down here, that was one of the things he really took pride in," Katherine said.

The two of them donated the land for the Soldotna Senior Center and Parker Park, dedicated in 2001 to the Parkers, in the early 60s before they moved to the peninsula.

"That was one land deal we both agreed on wholeheartedly," she said.

For the most part, Katherine said she is pleased with the city Soldotna has become.

"Soldotna is admirable. In ways they have managed to go forward. I don't think it's too big yet."

CREDIT:photo provided by Katherine Parker

CAPTION:Katherine and Charlie Parker in the mid-1990s

HEAD:Map Shop maven to lead Progress Days parade

BYLINE1:By CARLY BOSSERT

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

Dwarfed by the vast expanse of Fred Meyer on the east side of the Sterling Highway, Katherine Parker's Map Shop was a land mark well before Soldotna even dreamed of recruiting the national chain.

Opened in the early 1970s, 30 years later the shop remains a testament to Katherine, this year's grand marshal for the Progress Days' parade, and her deceased husband, Charlie, whose idea it was to open the shop.

Small and dark, it is filled to capacity with, as the name of the shop would lead one to believe, every type of map ever conceived. For the most part, the shop's inventory focuses on maps of Alaska, but some depicting geographical and political regions long forgotten adorn the walls.

While some of Katherine's customers are curious tourists looking for maps that highlight points of interest on the Kenai Peninsula, which she does have, a lot of her sales come from residents, mostly hunters looking for topographical maps of the peninsula.

Retail chains and convenience stores have sprung up around the region, but Katherine's specialty store continues to bring in customers. She has enough of a following so that when more than one or two customers stops by for a peek, the shop is far too small.

Before his death in May 2001, Charlie began construction on a new building for the shop. While it is unfinished, Katherine said she still has plans to complete the construction and relocate. The new shop, which lies on the same lot as the current Map Shop, is larger and will afford customers the space to browse through Katherine's selection of maps without the crunch for space.

Hopefully, with the move, the atmosphere of the Map Shop won't be lost. The original building also was built by Charlie when he and Katherine first moved to the peninsula in 1961. In addition to the maps, it holds relics of the old homesteading days in Soldotna that, like Charlie used to when he was alive, tell stories about the old days on the peninsula.

"He liked to talk and visit with people," she said of the time Charlie spent in the shop. "I enjoyed it more because of him. He was always the one entertaining guests."

Even though maps were not her passion, Katherine, 77, shows no sign of closing the shop. She admits, over time the maps and the chatting with customers has grown on her.

As a journalist for a good portion of her life, one might think that Katherine would have no problem visiting with residents and tourists who stop by for a map or a chat. After all, words are a journalist's trade.

However, for Katherine, being a reporter was a way for her to talk to people while hiding behind the job.

"I'd wish I'd taken up writing sooner," she said. "As a reporter, I had the nerve to ask questions I wouldn't have otherwise."

First, as a columnist for the former Anchorage Daily Times and later as a reporter for the Cheechako News, published in Soldotna until the late 1980s, Katherine was an amateur historian. She wrote first hand accounts of all the change and expansion that occurred from the time she moved to Soldotna in 1961 to when the Cheechako News folded in 1986.

"I'm always meeting somebody that recognizes me and they don't know why. Then they realize it is from way back," Katherine said recalling the days when she was always present at any of the community happenings.

She tries to downplay the role she had in the progress Soldotna has made in the past 53 years.

"My husband was more prominent in the community than I have been, though I have done things too," she said.

Katherine and her husband moved to the peninsula from Anchorage, but they met in Palmer where Parker moved from South Dakota in 1954.

A teacher and school secretary by trade, Katherine saw an advertisement for a position in Palmer while she was working on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

"It sounded like a real adventure," she said. "I thought everything was so different and coming from the airport everything was so different."

Katherine was introduced to Charlie through his aunt. Charlie was living in the Anchorage-Palmer area, but he was born in Juneau in 1922 to a family that had been in Alaska since the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Katherine recalls being thrilled to meet and fall in love with Charlie, who being born and raised in Alaska was, in her opinion, " a real sourdough."

They married in 1956 and the seed of the idea of moving to Soldotna was planted when Charlie, an engineer, traveled south to the developing peninsula and worked as a land surveyor in the subdividing of the current city of Soldotna.

"When he came down here, that was one of the things he really took pride in," Katherine said.

The two of them donated the land for the Soldotna Senior Center and Parker Park, dedicated in 2001 to the Parkers, in the early 60s before they moved to the peninsula.

"That was one land deal we both agreed on wholeheartedly," she said.

For the most part, Katherine said she is pleased with the city Soldotna has become.

"Soldotna is admirable. In ways they have managed to go forward. I don't think it's too big yet."



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