Parks and Recreation Image

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Wilhelm, Victor Hugo and Bonnie (Taylor)

by Susan J. Floyd

My grandfather, Victor Hugo Wilhelm, was born in1885, in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Stanford University in the fields of civil engineering and geology and later became a petroleum engineer. He retired from the Navy as Captain. He is believed to have been in Alaska as early as 1910, and worked not only in Juneau, but all over Alaska, including the Copper River area. He assisted another man in the layout of the City of Anchorage. I believe he was associated with the Kensington Mine and the development of the Willoughby residential area in Juneau during that time.

My grandmother, Bonnie Taylor was born in 1889, in Lincoln County, Washington. She graduated from Normal School in Washington and taught school at Juneau. Victor Wilhelm and Bonnie Taylor were married and had a daughter, Virginia Ellen in 1913 in Juneau.

The Wilhelms left Juneau in 1919, when my grandfather took another engineering job in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They later lived in Glendale, California. Victor Wilhelm died at Long Beach in 1949, and Bonnie Taylor Wilhelm died at La Jolla in 1960.

Virginia met her husband, my father, in Santiago, Chile, and after their marriage they owned an avocado ranch in Escondido, California. She was also a teacher. She died at San Diego in 1979.

My grandparentsí home in Juneau was at Seventh and Gold. I personally visited there several times with Ms. Rociel Zemke who ran a boardinghouse for women working on the Alaska Ferry System. The house was little changed, although a new owner has built a wooden deck in the front.

Virginia Wilhelm, 7th and Gold house, Juneau, 1914.

7th and Gold - Wilhelm house (center), 1914.