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Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Douglas vs. Juneau:

A Chronicle of the 50-year cross-channel high school basketball rivalry between Douglas and Juneau from 1903-1955 is now available to the public!

 

 boys basketball fighting over ball

 Action shot, Douglas 1955.  JDCM 85.22.067.  Click here to view more photos.

 

In 2004, Juneau and Douglas residents came together to form a working group with the goal of compiling an archive of the colorful and intense basketball rivalry between the two high schools on the Gastineau Channel.  The group wrote and was awarded a 2008/09 Juneau History Grant.  The time and money spent on these volumes far exceeded the group’s history grant award, which barely covered printing costs.  The amount of information that the group began to unearth was quite a surprise!. After two grant extensions, the committee presented the Juneau-Douglas City Museum with six volumes of precious local basketball history and a slice of life as the communities grew and changed through the years.

 

Basketball History Committee

Mike Grummett, Juneau High School ’55, Chairman;

Mike Blackwell, Juneau High School ’55,

Dick Forrest, Juneau High School ’52,

Dick McCormick, Douglas High School ’46,

Tony McCormick, Douglas High School ’54,

 

Personal copies of one or more of the following six volumes are available.  Please contact Capital Copy Printing to arrange printing options and payment, phone: 907 586-9696 or email: capitalcopy@capitalcopy.com

 

Introduction and Summaries

The Early Years 1903-1919

The Twenties 1919-1929

The Thirties 1929-1939

The Forties 1939-1949

The Fifties 1950-1955

 

Sample copies of the Juneau Douglas Basketball History can be viewed in the “Hoop Time Gastineau Channel Basketball through the Years” exhibit on display at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum until November 21, 2009.

 

A Closer Look at the Douglas vs. Juneau project

 

The first formal game across the Channel was in 1914, but it appears that there was informal competition before this time.  The last game was in 1955, after which the schools were consolidated.  The committee worked diligently to include one account of each major game.  The high schools played in the city league and in the early years of the Gold Medal which began in 1946, so some coverage of those games are also included in the booklets.

 

Many accounts that are compiled in these volumes are superbly written and make interesting and enjoyable reading.  More broadly, the saga of Douglas vs. Juneau is an interesting reflection of 50 years of big changes in the community. 

 

In the early years, travel across the Channel on the ferry for a game could be a major undertaking, what with the winter weather and the Taku winds.  Games with other towns involved chartering a boat and journeys lasting up to a week or two.  Initially, the games were just between the two high schools on the Channel, and with the other teams in various local leagues.  Eventually, as travel became easier, local teams competed against others in the region and territory.

 

At the beginning of the story, there were four towns on the Channel: Thane, Treadwell, Douglas, and Juneau.  Despite the closure of the mines on the Island, Douglas maintained itself as an incorporated city, and distinct community until the 1960s.  Douglas had a city government, a very successful school system, a volunteer fire department, and several popular entertainment destinations.

 

In the early years, there is evidence that games between girls teams from the two schools began before boy’s competition did.  By the 1920s, the girls received equal attention. By the 1940s and 1950s, girl’s games across the Channel were informal and sporadic.

 

The group has compiled their information from Juneau and Douglas high school annuals, the Totem and Taku, school papers the J-Bird and Gastineau Breeze, local papers, Empire, Independent, Douglas Island News, and a few non-local publications.  Most of the photos are from the annuals, supplemented by images from personal collections.