If you've read "Legacy of the Chief" by Ron Simpson, or "The Copper Spike" by Lone Janson, and/or other related stories and archived newspaper articles, you have some knowledge of the history of the town of Chitina, Alaska. It was a 'railroad' town roughly midway between The Kennecott Copper mine and copper ore loading facilities at Cordova. The Copper River and Northwestern Railroad transported ore for almost 30 years before the mines and railroad were shut down in 1938. Check out Wikipedia for a detailed history of the railroad.
During those years, the Chitina Cash Store supplied residents with all manner of consumer goods, paid for with cash or quite often charged on account. The store owners kept daily records of customer purchases and kept carbon copies of the cash and charge receipts.
Around 1999, these existing archived documents were salvaged from the old store building, offered by the store owner at that time to the documents current owner as a gift and part payment for maintenance work.
Some of these records are over 100 years old, containing names such as O.A. Nelson, Joe and Cap Goodlataw, John Billum, Alaska Road Commission, and many other individuals mentioned in stories of those times.
Monthly summaries of purchases made by certain people were also preserved, though the year is not recorded on those.
Documents have been roughly sorted and boxed by year. Month and week sorting has not been done.
Years include 1918, 1921-1938, 1940, 1943, and 1945. Because this collection was salvaged, some years are incomplete records. 1918 only has a few weeks in August and September.
The current owner offers this amazing look back into time for storage fees only, $50 per year for 20 years. Price is firm.
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