by Edie Trambitas
Wes Waydelich came to Auke Bay in 1892, and had a 118 acre homestead; Waydelich Creek runs through his property. Wes was the first white man to settle in Auke Bay, and he was also the first president of the Pioneers of Alaska. He was a graduate of Yale University, but the gold bug bit him and he came to Alaska to seek his fortune mining for gold. Before settling in Auke Bay, he had mined along the Stikine River.
Wes raised vegetables and fruit on his Auke Bay homestead. He loaded his produce into his small boat and rowed them over the bar to sell in Juneau. He had a few mining claims around Auke Bay, but he never got rich from them!
Wes Waydelich’s only daughter Dora married Victor Spaulding, who was a miner. He had mining claims on Treasure Hills where Spaulding Meadows is today. Their children were John, Edith and William. Victor and Dora operated the vegetable farm for many years. When the road came to Auke Bay, the storekeepers drove out to their farm in their cars and picked up the produce. Sometimes in the winter when the road hadn’t been plowed, Victor had to row his children across Auke Bay to Fritz Cove Road so they could catch the school bus. On the bus the kids sat on wooden egg crates because there were no seats.
Victor had the gold fever bad, too. He went up the Chilkoot Trail to Atlin and mined there before coming to Auke Bay.
On June 10, 1938, Jack Trambitas arrived from Portland, Oregon, at age 18, traveling steerage on the North Star. His fare was $25 for the trip from Seattle to Juneau. On July 3, 1939, he married Edie Spaulding. They had one daughter, Judy. Jack worked in the Alaska Juneau Mine as a nipper, delivering supplies into the mine by trolley. He also worked as a bulldozer, one of the most dangerous jobs in the mine. The pay was $5.65 a day. In June, 1944, he went into the Army and went to India, China and Burma for two years. After the war, he worked for the Bureau of Public Roads as a grader and truck operator. He went on to become foreman. When Alaska became a state, he went to work at the airport during the winters and went commercial fishing during the summers, until he retired in 1984.
Their daughter Judy married Swede Haffner and they had four children. Jack and Edie still live at Auke Lake in the same home they had built in 1940. They raise beautiful flowers in their yard all summer long, and during the Christmas season, it’s decorated like a fairy land.
Three generations (l to r): Edie Trambitas, Dora Spauling and Judy Trambitas Haffner.