by Lorien Nettleton ~ April 5th, 2012
One of the longest-operating roadhouses in Alaska has been destroyed by fire. The Forks Roadhouse in Petersville caught fire sometime Wednesday night. The caretaker for the roadhouse returned to find the structure smoking. The Alaska State Troopers received a call Thursday morning, but the Roadhouse is several miles off the road system, and they were unable to respond.
The Forks Roadhouse was established in the early 1900s when Belle McDonald build it as a stopover halfway between the Talkeetna Trading Post and the gold fields of the Susitna valley.
The Forks Roadhouse was accessible only by snowmachine in winter, and in recent years had been open only on weekends. It was a stopover for weekend recreation, a place for food and fuel for hundreds of winter travelers. There are few roadhouses remaining from the early days, and the Forks Roadhouse was dear to many area residents because of its history and character as an out-of-the-way destination.
*The Roadhouse had originally been accessible in winter by dog team, ski, showshoe, and by foot (when necessary)