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Historic Forks Roadhouse Burns Down in Petersville

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)

10 Responses to Historic Forks Roadhouse Burns Down in Petersville

  1. Shoo Salasky

    Remember, it was accessible by dog team long before (and even after;-) snow machines started traveling out there.
    My team bedded down there many times while I shared a burger with daughter Ginger, after her folks passed on (..cant remember their names…argh!)

  2. Beatrice Abfalter

    Trapper George was one who walked down, and my mom and dad had traplines in the near vicinity , this was when Joe and Vera Duhl were the owners..

  3. Slim Randles

    So sorry to hear about the Forks burning down. Had many happy evenings there by the barrel stove while my dogs waited outside. My condolences to all who loved it.

  4. Trisha Costello

    How unbelievably sad and frightening.

  5. Fred Agree

    I stopped there many times in the 70 and 80s while training my dog team. Eric Poole, Vera Dul’s son and I trained our Iditarod teams using that as a HQ. The Moose Creek 200 and other races went thru there; I also remember many other mushers stopping there.. Dewey, Shannon Poole, Cris Ogar, Burt ,Jauque and Claire Phillip etc. Norman and Carolyn Vaughan were married there. Whatta loss….

  6. Jake Askren

    This is horrible! I have spent many nights drinking at the bar and many mornings having breakfast, even when they would run out of eggs and I would only get one! What a great piece of history lost. I am going to miss it very much.

  7. Don Moody

    I spent many a day and night there. Even watched the superbowl there in the mid 90′s. It was an awesome destination and a welcome sight after a long day of snowmachining in the Peters Hills.
    I am gonna miss it too. Sad.

  8. Rocelyn Daniels

    Surely a turning point. An allegoric Phoenix has risen from those ashes; so many, many historic, fun and unforgettable years. We of the far north have lost a faithful and steadfast part of our material world.

  9. ganderson

    please rebuild the roadhouse. many moose hunts. shot of wild turkey/beer chaser. thanx for the memories.

  10. Roy Monk

    Sad day. I spent lots of time there when I trained my dogs out of Peters Creek
    and enjoyed the company of Ginger – before it became a haven for irondogs !
    All best wishes to all concerned.

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