Cooper Landing

Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Thank you to Joyce Flotre, Jane Baldwin, Gloria Whitaker, Dave Westerman, Linda Gephardt, George Pollard, Nate Esteban, Lyman Nichols, George and Mary Ford, Dick and Lotte Bogard, Chuck Tachick, Milli Martin and Mayme Ohnemus for letting me know you read the Cooper Landing neighbors column and for telling me what you find interesting and what needs clarification.

Joyce Flotre sent an e-mail after reading in the column that the Cooper Landing Museum had no visitors signed in from North Dakota to say her daughter, Jennifer, is living in North Dakota and tried to visit the museum but found it closed both times.

Give me a call if that happens.

Jane Baldwin sent a note after reading the Dec. 7 column in which I was remembering my Uncle Roy Bryson's bear trick on me in 1949. Jane's father, Bob Williams, acquired a Forest Service lease on their East Quartz Creek property in 1950 when she was a little kid. She remembers my aunt and uncle.

"I can just see Roy teaching you about respecting bears! My first meal of bear meat (and the first and only time I watched a bear being skinned out) was courtesy of Roy.

"He killed a black bear on the bear trail between our cabins. The bear had been a repeat visitor for a couple of weeks as I recall, making everyone nervous about meeting up with him. Believe we still have an old, dented canned milk can with definite bear bite punctures in it."

Local folks are celebrating the season in groups. Lead Librarian Brearley Wilson hosted a potluck dinner for the Friends of the Library at the library Dec. 4, the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce held a Christmas party at Sunrise Inn on Dec. 7, and also recently Cooper Landing Senior Citizens Corp. Inc. President Chuck Young and his wife, Gerry, hosted a dinner in their home for the CLSCCI board.

In looking through columns written by Helen Rhode in 1952 to see what was going on around here in December, I came across Helen's account of the death of Frank Towle's horses. Towle is spelled Toll in the column in the Seward Advertising Bulletin.

"Frank Toll reports the recent death of both his horses. Prince and Midnight have been a familiar sight in the Cooper Landing area for over 20 years. Toll is one of the few game guides on the Kenai that uses packhorses on his hunting parties. Midnight, the oldest horse, has an interesting background in that Toll and Harry Johnson found him running wild about 24 years ago. It was assumed that the animal had been released several years prior to that date and had been existing off the country."

Towle's father, George Washington Towle, and his company of miners brought horses with them to this area in the 1890s to carry supplies from Seward to Cooper Creek. An account in letters home written by one of the miners tells about the hazardous trips over the late spring ice on Kenai Lake with the horses. At the end of the season, the horses were left to forage for themselves as the miners were leaving by boat.

Helen Rhode mentioned the Moores in her Dec. 18, 1952, column.

"Mrs. Moore has resumed her duties as postmistress of Cooper's Landing," she wrote. Moore's granddaughter, June Anderson Cordasci sent pictures of that first Cooper Landing post office, which will hang in the post office as soon as I can arrange it.

Kenai Lake Baptist Church is presenting a day after Christmas program at 11 a.m. Sunday. Samuel Banse, Bushnell Backlund and Rachel, Bethany and John Weber are characters in the play, "Forgotten? No, Not One!" I get to be the old lady in the play. Joy Lyon is the director.

The New Year's Eve party at the community hall begins at 8 p.m. Dec. 31.

The Pinochle Club now meets at the community hall at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. Call J.B. Weber at 595-1817 if you would like to play. They won't be meeting on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. On Dec. 10, the club played in the schoolhouse museum, since the community hall was busy.

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

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