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How well do you know Anchorage history? Take this quiz and find out

  • Author: David Reamer
    | Histories of Anchorage
  • Updated: November 23
  • Published November 22

The crescent moon hangs among the buildings of downtown Anchorage just after sunset on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. (Bob Hallinen)

Part of a continuing weekly series on local history by local historian David Reamer. Have a question about Anchorage history or an idea for a future article? Go to the form at the bottom of this story.

This article is the last of four celebrating 100 years since Anchorage’s incorporation. Last week we looked at the incorporation of Anchorage, the moment when a government railroad town become a self-governing city. This week, on this historic anniversary, we are testing your local history knowledge. How well do you know Anchorage?

1. Who or what is Anchorage named for?

A) Johnny Anchorage, a star of the early film industry.

B) General Theodore J. Anchorage, an Army commander for the Union in the Civil War.

C) Anchorage, Kentucky.

D) A convenient, safe place to drop anchor.

2. What is Chester Creek named for?

A) Admiral Colby Mitchell Chester.

B) A slang term for a drug dealer.

C) Chanshtnu, the local Dena’ina Athabascan name for the creek meaning “Grass Creek.”

D) Chesterfield cigarettes.

3. Why is there no J Street?

A) Planners wanted to avoid possible references to George Custer’s J Company that died at Little Big Horn.

B) When written J is too similar to I, and when spoken, J is too similar to A.

C) Planners were still angry about the policies of American statesman John Jay.

D) There is no J in the Swedish alphabet, and some of the Anchorage planners were Swedish.

4. Which of the following about Anchorage’s first police chief, Jack Sturgus, is TRUE?

A) He retired in 1935 and was honored with a parade.

B) He was born in Skagway and was the first Alaska police chief born in Alaska.

C) He was murdered in 1921, and the case was never solved.

D) He was distantly related to future Alaska Governor Bill Egan.

Mr. Whitekeys, pictured here on stage at the Tap Root Public House on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, has been producing the Whale Fat Follies on and off since 1986. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

5. Entertainer Mr. Whitekeys is most commonly associated with which Anchorage neighborhood?

A) Spenard

B) Muldoon

C) Fairview

D) Government Hill

6. What was the original name for Northern Lights Boulevard?

A) Woronzof Road

B) Joseph Lane

C) KFQD Road

D) North Star Boulevard

7. In what year was the Anchorage city manager position created?

A) 1920

B) 1946

C) 1975

D) 2010

8. In what year did Pope John Paul II visit Anchorage and perform a mass at Delaney Park?

A) 1971

B) 1976

C) 1981

D) 1986

9. In what year were Fort Richardson and Elemendorf Air Base merged into the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER)?

A) 2010

B) 2000

C) 1990

D) 1980

10. In what year was Muriel Pfeil Jr. killed by a car bomb in downtown Anchorage?

A) 1970

B) 1973

C) 1976

D) 1979

11. Which of these future Major League Baseball stars did NOT play for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots before embarking on their professional careers?

A) Mike Trout

B) Mark McGwire

C) Aaron Judge.

D) Randy Johnson.

Cody Lourie and Mackenzie Carpenter ski with dogs dogs Chuli and Tator at Russian Jack Springs Park on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (Bill Roth / ADN)

12. Who or what is Russian Jack Springs Park named for?

A) A small dog species originating from Russia.

B) A type of cheese.

C) Jacob Sanderson, a 19th-century Russian banker.

D) Jacob Marunenko, a bootlegger and murderer.

13. What is the next line from this commercial jingle? “Twin Dragon, Mongolian barbecue, can we cook up something, ________”

A) “fresh just for you.”

B) “just like we do.”

C) “special just for you.”

D) “something that makes you go woo.”

14. In what year did the first McDonald’s in Anchorage open?

A) 1960

B) 1965

C) 1970

D) 1975

Maggie, then a one-year-old orphaned African elephant, arrived Friday, Sept 30, 1983, at the Alaska Zoo. She was dwarfed by the zoo's resident Asian elephant, Annabelle. (Fran Durner / ADN)

15. How did Annabelle (1964-1997), the Alaska Zoo’s star painting elephant, end up in Anchorage?

A) She was intended for the San Diego Zoo, but a shipping error took her north.

B) She escaped a circus and wandered the Hillside for two years before being captured.

C) A Texan bought her as a baby and brought her to Anchorage as a pet.

D) An Anchorage grocer won her in a toilet paper contest.

16. What was Anchorage’s first professional sports team?

A) Anchorage Glacier Pilots (baseball)

B) Anchorage Northern Knights (basketball)

C) Alaska Wild (indoor football)

D) Alaska Aces (hockey)

A pedestrian walks past a fused glass art piece which honors the Parking Fairies in downtown Anchorage. (Bill Roth / ADN)

17. Who were the Anchorage Parking Fairies?

A) Linny and Susan Pacillo, who filled expired parking meters.

B) Tony and Susan Knowles, referencing their love of parking lots.

C) A cute nickname for the EasyPark Alaska enforcement officers.

D) A prominent local folk band active during the 1970s and 1980s.

18. Where was Anchorage’s first combination golf course and airfield?

A) Delaney Park (a.k.a. Park Strip).

B) Ship Creek mudflats.

C) Kincaid Park.

D) Valley of the Moon Park.

19. What was the first name for the neighborhood of Fairview?

A) Lincoln Heights.

B) Birchwood.

C) East Anchorage.

D) Eastchester.

20. In 1952, Prince Andy was stolen from his Anchorage home. Then worth an estimated $50, he was smuggled out of Alaska to Oregon, where law enforcement tracked down the thief. What was Prince Andy?

A) Lion

B) Horse

C) Chinchilla

D) Reindeer

21. Who was Miss Wiggles?

A) A member of a popular children’s music band.

B) An exotic dancer.

C) A local worm farmer.

D) Main character in a young-adult book series set in Anchorage.

22. Which Anchorage church was the first predominantly Black church in Alaska?

A) Greater Friendship Baptist Church

B) Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

C) Greater Friendly Temple Church of God in Christ

D) Mountain View Baptist Church

23. What was the name of the Dena’ina fishing camp located at the mouth of Ship Creek before the development of Anchorage?

A) Qin Cheghitnu

B) Dgheyay Leht

C) Nutul’iy

D) Ggeh Betnu

24. The first escalator in Alaska was located in what Anchorage department store?

A) Caribou

B) J.C. Penney

C) Sears

D) Nordstrom

25. Who is Muldoon Elementary named for?

A) Homesteader Arnold Muldoon.

B) Mysterious Will Muldoon.

C) Actor Patrick Muldoon.

D) Literary character Máel Dúin.

26. How many people died in the Lane Hotel fire of 1966?

A) 2

B) 8

C) 14

D) 22

Spenard Road, photographed on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

27. Is a drunk cow the reason for Spenard Road’s winding path?

A) True

B) False

28. Within the boundaries of what modern Anchorage neighborhood was the city’s first red-light district located?

A) Spenard

B) Fairview

C) Mountain View

D) South Addition

29. Who was Anchorage’s first mayor?

A) Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr.

B) Zachariah Loussac

C) Leopold David

D) Sydney Laurence

30. In what year did the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough merge to form the Municipality of Anchorage, our current local government?

A) 1920

B) 1959

C) 1964

D) 1975


Give yourself one point for each correct answer. Zero to seven points, welcome to Anchorage! Eight to 14 points, not bad! Fifteen to 21 points, very good! Twenty-two to 28 points, you are a true Anchorage sourdough! Twenty-nine to 30 points, you are a scholar of Anchorage!


1. D: There is indeed a landlocked Anchorage in Kentucky that predates the Alaska Anchorage.

2. C

3. B: There was no J Company at Little Big Horn. Animus towards John Jay is sometimes, though erroneously, attributed as the reason why Washington, D.C., lacks a J Street.

4. C

5. A: Longtime residents will really laugh at you if you get this one wrong.

6. A: This is a trick question. Northern Lights Boulevard was originally called the Woronzof Road because it led to Point Woronzof. However, Woronzof Road was renamed KFQD Road, because of the radio station near the road’s western terminus, before being renamed again as Northern Lights.

7. B

8. C

9. A

10. C: Muriel Pfeil Jr. was killed in a parking lot across from the building that now houses Snow City Café. No one was ever charged for her murder.

11. A

12. D: Jacob “Russian Jack” Marunenko was separately convicted of bootlegging and murder in Anchorage but later become something of a beloved local figure.

13. A: The commercials for Fairview’s Twin Dragon Mongolian Bar-B-Q ran for many years with this earworm.

14. C

15. D: Anchorage grocer Jack Snyder won her from the Chiffon toilet paper company in 1966. He was given the choice of $3,000 or a baby elephant. He was supposed to take the money but instead chose the elephant.

16. B: Though the Glacier Pilots predate the Northern Knights, the former is an amateur, not professional, team.

17. A

18. A

19. D: Eastchester was renamed Fairview in 1954. Longtime residents might remember Eastchester Drugs (1952-1978), which maintained its original name. The owner had bought a new sign right before the change and didn’t want to buy another.

20. C: Chinchillas were a popular breeding investment during the 1940s and 1950s.

21. B: Miss Wiggles (1922-2012), real name Velma Adkerson, was one of the most popular adult entertainers of her time.

22. A

23. B: Qin Cheghitnu, Nutul’iy, and Ggeh Betnu are the Dena’ina names for Campbell Creek, Fire Island and Rabbit Creek, respectively.

24. A: Caribou was bought by Montgomery Ward in 1966. The store was renamed Caribou-Ward before being rebranded as a Montgomery Ward.

25. A

26. C: The Lane Hotel fire of September 12, 1966 was the single deadliest event in Anchorage history.

27. B: Humorist Ruben Gaines created the legend of the drunken cow winding his way from Chester Creek to Lake Spenard for one his radio programs.

28. D

29. C

30. D