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Junge, Ken & Winnie

by Bev (Junge) Keithahn

The Daily Alaska Empire in April 1934, reported “Kenneth Junge was appointed Patrolman by Chief C.J. Davis, bringing the Juneau Police force to four, including Roy Hoffmann, Assistant Chief and W.J. Markle, Patrolman. Due to increased work necessary because of Juneau’s growth it has become essential that an addition to the City Police force be made...”

Ken Junge had graduated from Everett High School in 1925, applied for a job on a cannery tender heading for Yakutat and was hired because he’d learned Spanish, the only member of the crew that spoke English and Spanish. He was offered a job as winter watchman at the summer’s end, a job he came to enjoy immensely. The place was paradise for an athletic young man with boundless energy for whom hunting and fishing were so important.

Ken’s father, C. H. Junge, had journeyed to the Klondike in 1898, and on his return had stopped in Juneau where he staked mining claims around Montana Creek. In the summer of 1927, Ken joined his father buying and selling fish. They stopped in Juneau to check on the mining claims the senior Junge had staked in 1899. Ken really liked Juneau and at the end of the fishing season he moved into a boarding house owned by Alice Coughlin on the corner of Fifth and Harris, across from the Catholic School. He was a very fast typist and was hired by the Empire as a Linotype operator.

Across the street lived Winnie Carlson, five years his junior. Winnie’s father, from Sweden, had also been to the Klondike; had returned to Juneau and made it his home. He and his Finnish wife Sophia, had a house built at Fifth and Harris across the street from the boarding house.

The Empire on September 18, 1928, reported, “JUNGE IS NOW CAPTAIN - Kenneth Junge is now captain of the fishing boat Wooden Shoe, his father relinquishing the position during the winter and taking a trip to the States.” (Translated, this meant his father left him responsible for the boat while he was away.)

Ken organized a boxing club where boys could spar. Wendell Schneider remembered being part of that group. Ken acquired mats for the group from surplus mats provided by a Ketchikan outfit.

“PARTY OF HUNTERS TO YOUNG BAY FOR DEER, SUNDAY - A party of nine hunters left town early Sunday morning on the Tugboat Daring for a day’s hunt in the vicinity of Young Bay. Three bucks were bagged by Harley Rutherford, Billie Beach and Kenneth Junge of the Empire Press Room.”

Ken began courting Winnie while she was in high school. He wrote her a love letter one evening on a big sheet of white tissue paper, telling her he could see her in her room studying but could not get her attention. The letter is now more than seventy years old, but when his heirs took it to a printer to have it duplicated the printers were greatly impressed and felt it too precious to take the chance that it would be damaged in copying. Ken was not inhibited about his love of Winnie.

Winnie graduated from high school in 1930, valedictorian of her class. She studied drafting at Oregon State College and Ken followed her. They were a striking couple; he was tall and handsome and she was small and beautiful. In 1933, they were married. There were many Empire articles regarding showers and wedding parties. Juneau was a small town and the Empire kept its readers apprised of social events.

In the meantime, Ken had joined a baseball team. The Empire of May 23, 1933, in a more than three column story reported “JUNGE PITCHES FINE BALL AND VETS WIN GAME...Junge had a perfect day at bat with two doubles and a single in three times at bat, fanned six batters and walked but one. To top off a perfect day for the big hurler, the Legion Club presented him with an electric waffle iron and stand. It was a gift in recognition of his services and in honor of his wedding last Saturday evening to Winifred Carlson who is a real baseball fan and was seated in the grandstand when the presentation was made by Manager George Worth. Kenny had taken his position on the mound at the beginning of the seventh and was ready to pitch to the first batter when Umpire Regele called time out. Chief of Police Davis then marched to the pitcher’s box, grasped him by the arm and marched him toward the plate. It looked like a pinch for Junge, but he took it with a grin. Manager Worth then presented him with the package while the stands and bleachers applauded...” (The package was a porcelain-topped waffle iron that served their household for more than a quarter century.)

The Empire in those days was on Main Street, a three-story wood framed building bustling with activity, very noisy. The Linotype machines clicked and clacked, spilling their hot lead, the big press, one floor below, clanked. The editor Elmer Friend, and his ever present pipe, added to the aura of the lead, ink and paper. Dorothy Haley Pegues (mother of seven boys), a highly respected newspaper reporter, made her rounds of all the business establishments, noting the arrival and departure of the populace on steamships and fishing boats, and recorded social events. Helen Troy Bender (later Monson) was the publisher, having inherited the paper from her father, John Troy.

The Empire reported “JUNEAU FLYING CLUB ORGANIZED; NINE MEMBERS JOIN. FIRST MEETING HELD - The Juneau Flying Club was organized last night...members already in the club are Fred Soberg, W.A. Gallmore, W.C. Walther, Harold Swanson, Fred Barragar, Lloyd Jarman, K Junge, B.J. Carry and Lee Barragar...”

It was at this time, April 1923, that Ken was offered the position with the police department. After working at the Empire for six years, he left very reluctantly. He had gotten printers ink in his blood and newspaper business is hard to leave behind. He had made many good friends.

In the fall of 1934, the Empire noted “A HUNTING EXPEDITION TO GAMBIER BAY - A party of nimrods left this afternoon on Captain Pete Hildre’s gas boat, the Margaret T. Those making the trip were Malcolm Morrison of the U.S. Radio office staff, Kenneth Junge of the City Police, Walter ‘Doc’ White of Butler-Mauro Drug Company and Ludwig Nelson, proprietor of Nelson’s Jewelry Store” (Ken’s brotherin-law). Ludwig’s daughter, Betty Cantillon recalls that the hunters were always pleased when Ken Junge was among their group as the food was always exceptional. He cooked well and liked to eat well.

In December 1935, another hunting trip was reported. Ken, James Dennis and Capt. Steve Ward, skipper of the Betty Ross went goat hunting and didn’t return at their expected time. Ole Westby, Captain of the Oceanic, took a search party out. The Empire reported that the trio had been found after a “waiting and watching contest.” The gas boat had broken down at Young Bay and was beyond repair. The skiff washed overboard. For two days in bad weather they lay at anchor before being rescued!

In 1935, the miners struck the A.J. Mining Company for better pay and safer conditions. The Alaska-Juneau, of course, opposed the miners. The merchants of Juneau sided with the mining company. Erv Hagerup, Sr. remembers climbing a telephone pole (with a camera) to watch and take pictures as the miners faced the company on the waterfront. The miners were unarmed. The A.J. had hired men with weapons. “There was terrible tension in the air until two very large policemen arrived. The crowds of miners and hired guns just faded away,” said Erv, who hadn’t taken a single picture (of the arrival of Roy Hoffman and Ken Junge.) The miner’s troubles went on. John Dapcevich recalls some of the miners that struck were jailed. The wife of one of the jailed miners threatened the judge that he’d be personally responsible for the starving of little children; children dependent on the miners. The leaders of the strike were refused credit in the grocery stores. It was a very sad experience for those striking miners but in the end, they were granted slightly better working conditions and a very small raise in pay.

The police department was located on the dock at the bottom of Seward Street in those days. One of Ken’s duties was to put dogs down if they were sick or victims of traffic accidents. One day an elderly couple came into the police station with their little dog and told Ken the dog was having seizures and needed to be put down. He took the dog from them and after the old couple left he took the dog outside where there was a hole in the dock, surrounded with chicken wire, meant for the disposal of animals. He shot the dog and dropped it to the water below. About a month later the old couple came into the station. They thanked Ken for not putting the dog down and wondered “what he had done to cure the dog of the seizures?” He said the hair on the back of his neck stood on end!

Another of Ken’s duties was to take the ladies of the night to their regular Wednesday doctor’s appointment.

The Goldstein Building caught fire during a frigid spell in the winter of 1939. Ken was a member of the Juneau Fire Department and helped fight that fire. The Taku wind was howling and there was little the firemen could do. In the wee hours of the morning, Winnie heard a thump on the front door which then opened and Ken fell into the house to the sound of a million pieces of glass shattering. His fire gear had gotten caked with ice. He had walked approximately a mile from the fire to his home on Eleventh Street. (Cars weren’t common in those days.)

The Juneau Rifle Range, built by the C.C.C. during the 1930’s, was a fine range. The Juneau Police used that range for practice and helped keep it in good order. The Empire reported in 1938 and 1939, that Ken was sent to the famed Camp Perry, Ohio National Rifle Meet with team members Dr. William Blanton, John Osborn, L.G. Healey and Tex Leonard. Junge took the Crowell Trophy Medal awarded to outstanding individual team members, and a medal for the Civilian Club match. In this hard-to-get-entrance-to school, Junge studied methods in “personal mayhem” which involved a multitude of moderated jiu jitsu tricks. He won the High Individual Pistol trophy. There were between 6000 and 7000 participating in these meets.

Ken, a Democrat, was a candidate for the Territorial House of Representatives in 1936. He ran and lost in the primary against Crystal Snow Jenne (later the Juneau Postmistress.)

When the bars called with customers too drunk to make it home, Ken was called on to pick them up. He’d hoist them into the paddy wagon and drive them home. Often they would be friends, acquaintances or neighbors. An embarrassing chore, made even more so when the occasional wife refused the delivery!

The most wrenching experience in his police career was the unsolved disappearance of little Teddy Tanaka on the Fourth of July, 1939. Teddy, nine years old, was last seen on the waterfront. The channel was dragged, the docks were searched. The mountains were searched, even steamships that had visited Juneau that day were checked for disembarking passengers at their next destination. The Scout Camp was checked, in the event Teddy might have gone to see his brother there. The search went on until there were no leads left to follow; telling Mr. Tanaka that they were giving up the search was agony for both men.

In 1941, Ken was promoted to Chief of Police, succeeding Dan Ralston. John Monagle was named Patrolman, according to the Empire.

Ken’s younger daughter remembers being chased home from school by bullies and as she neared home she yelled to them, “My father’s the Chief of Police and he’ll arrest you if you chase me again.” She was sure he would. However, he had heard her yell this. And had no sympathy. She got a spanking and was told never never was she to say that again.

In the forties, the City of Juneau had an outdoor swimming pool built in the Evergreen Bowl. For the opening ceremony, Ken was asked to “try out and test” the diving board. As he was an excellent swimmer he was happy to do the job. He tested the board and it broke and so did his toe, according to the Empire.

When he arrived in Juneau, Ken had been a tall (over 6’2") slim fellow, nicknamed “Snake Hips.” He was a good cook and often was asked to cook at socials; frequently at the Elks Club. “Snake Hips” outgrew his name. In 1942, he weighed 308 pounds and weighed himself on the halibut scales at the cold storage. (Not often, however.) Bud Cantillon remembers arriving in Juneau on a troop ship. Ken stood out as the dominant fellow in the welcoming committee.

The war was on and in 1942, the Army Transport service asked Ken to run supply ships between Seattle and Whittier. He resigned as Chief of Police and went back to sea. He was 36 years old and had been on the police force for eight years.

After the war, things were livelier in Juneau. The troops that had been stationed, first at Duck Creek in tents, then later in better living conditions, didn’t all wish to leave Juneau. The population had increased. And the police force included a woman officer.

Hugh Doogan tells this story. His sister Rosie and friend Marilyn McAlister (both under the “legal age”) accompanied Mrs. McAlister to a pre-wedding party one Sunday evening in the Bubble Room of the Baranof Hotel. The policewoman, Mrs. Hartung, caught Rosie coming out of the restroom and said Rosie must leave as she was underage. Rosie assured her she was accompanying Mrs. McAlister, her mother’s very close friend. In those days, it was customary for minors to be in bars and restaurants with adults. People didn’t have money for babysitters, and besides, everyone knew everyone else and the kids were kept safe. But Mrs. Hartung was adamant that Rosie must leave. Rosie did leave. She went home and told her mother, Mary Doogan. Mary was most displeased that her daughter was singled out unfairly so she accompanied Rosie to the party in the Bubble Room. Again Mrs. Hartung accosted Rosie, telling her she must go home. This time Mrs. Doogan appeared and gave the lady officer (known to the young crowd as “Dick Tracy”) a piece of her mind. Ken Junge soon got a call that he needed to bring the paddy wagon as Mary Doogan was under arrest. Apparently, Mary had threatened the officer, saying “Let go of my arm or I’ll biff you.” When Ken arrived, he tried to ease the situation but ended up having to take Mary to jail as he had to support his arresting officer. Father Whelan and Father Sweeney were summoned. They wanted Mary Doogan out of jail. The two priests called Mary’s teenaged son Hugh. Hugh asked what could he do and was told to go pronto to see Charlie Miller who had a tavern nearby. Hugh raced off and borrowed $25 from Charlie and raced back to the station and made bail. Mary was charged with disorderly conduct, a fine of $100. Eight months later, Mary Doogan went to the court to find out when she would have her trial. She was told there was absolutely no record of any charges filed against her. Mike Monagle had offered to represent her. Howard Stabler represented the City, the mayor then was Harry Lucas. Mary Doogan worked nights cleaning local offices. She was widowed before her tenth child was born. There wasn’t a soul wanting to add to the burden of a hardworking widow protecting her child. It has been noted that this stubborn Irish lady had practically brought the law and order community to its knees.

Ken succumbed to cancer in 1973. Three grandchildren and two great grandchildren reside in Juneau.

Ken Junge, policeman, third from left.

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