Parks and Recreation Image

Juneau-Douglas City Museum


by Marie Darlin

Henrik Henriksson Kultala’s name was altered to Henry Hendrickson when he came through U.S. Immigration. He was born November 8, 1862, in Piehinge, Finland. Piehinge is in North Finland on the Gulf of Bothnia. Henry left Finland before he was 18, about 1879, so he would not have to serve in the Russian Army. His four younger half brothers left later, for the same reason. His father died when he was a month old. His mother,
Anna, later married Jack Koskela and had several more children. The brothers were Mike, Abel, Jack and Matt. His sisters were Anna, Helen, and Mary.

Hendrickson worked his way across the states, from the cranberry bogs of New Jersey to the Finnish community of Astoria, Oregon. He married Marie Hannila, November 29, 1888. Marie was born June 22, 1869, in Kalajoki, Finland, about 80 miles south of Piehinge. She immigrated around 1886, to be with her brother, Fred, in Astoria. Some time after their marriage, all the families, Hendricksons, Koskelas, and Hannilas, went to Rocklin, California, near Sacramento, where the men worked in the marble and granite quarries. Henry and Marie’s son, Arnot, was born in Rocklin, October 28, 1893.

Henry went to Juneau in 1894, but did travel back to Rocklin, because his naturalization papers are from Rocklin, dated March 18, 1895. He then returned to Juneau with some of his Koskela half brothers. Marie and son Arnot arrived later in 1895. Soon afterward they built the Rocklin House. It was a boarding house for miners on Franklin Street, between First and Second Streets, where the Baranof Hotel now stands. The rest of the children were born at that location: Waino Edward, June 18, 1896, Helen Marie, March 25, 1900, and Hilda Edith, August 5, 1904.

Sometime before the actual 1898 Klondike gold rush, Henry went to the Yukon through Dyea, built a boat on Lake Bennett, and took it down the Yukon to Dawson. He returned home a few months later, no richer. We are not certain if he went on to St. Michael or came home through Valdez, but we have two strings of ivory beads purchased by him in Valdez.

He was a powder monkey during most of his mining years; working in Perseverance and A.J. Mines. His crew drove the first tunnel through from Perseverance. He later used his skill with dynamite to help neighbors with land clearing and other chores.

While Henry and his brothers worked in the mine, Marie ran the boarding house and cared for the family. They provided room and board for twenty miners. All the guest rooms were upstairs, with the living, dining, kitchen and family bedrooms downstairs. Marie’s brother, Fred Hannila, came to Juneau about this same time, and by 1898, all the Koskey brothers were there.

In 1914, Henry decided to homestead eighty acres on Douglas Island, about five miles north of Juneau. Whether they sold the boarding house at that time, or later, we do not know. Arnot was already working and living on his own, Waino and Helen stayed in town with relatives to finish school, and ten-year-old Hilda went with Henry and Marie to the homestead. That was Hilda’s last year of schooling, but sixty years later she earned her GED high school diploma. The homestead was reached either by rowing a skiff, or by walking across the bar at low tide, from Switzer Creek or Vanderbilt Hill, on the Gastineau Channel, five to six miles from town. Henry considered it the Hendrickson farm and felt it should support them. There was a house, barn, and sauna by the creek. They had a pair of horses, cows, chickens, and two little burros from the mines named Happy and Jenny. Their large garden included a strawberry patch. Wild berries were in abundance on the island: blueberries, nagoon berries, yellow cloud berries and highbush cranberries. There were also wild crabapples. Hay was cut from a field on the other side of the point, dried in a barn there, and then hauled by horse and wagon or sled across the muskeg. It was a long day’s outing by boat, catching the tides, for friends and relatives from Douglas and Juneau to visit the Hendrickson ranch, but they did!

After the house and barn were finished, they obtained a larger gas-powered boat and built a boat house on the beach in the cove. This boat was used to get yellow cedar and other timber on Shelter Island and elsewhere. They towed timber to Juneau or Douglas and sold it for docks, the steam laundry, etc. Hilda was the only one to help her dad with all this work, except when Arnot and Waino could find time on weekends to help. Hauling timbers and supplies to the Treadwell Ditch water flume and cabins was another source of income. That was usually done during the winter, using the burros. They sold produce from the farm; eggs, butter, and vegetables which were taken to town, either by rowboat, or by Hilda carrying them across the bar and into Juneau. The house burned in 1926. Only the family bible and some pictures were saved. The house was immediately rebuilt and grandson Gene Hanna’s home now sits on the exact same location.

Arnot Hendrickson went to work at an early age and, due to very poor eyesight, didn’t serve during WW I in the military. He worked at Izzie Goldstein’s fishing supply store on South Franklin Street (now the Filipino Community Hall) until his retirement in the 1950’s. He was commonly known by the name of Eshon during those years, a name given to him by Izzie Goldstein. Arnot was an active member of the volunteer fire department during his working years. Mae Quinn became his bride December 28, 1926. She was called Quinnie, a nickname from her years as a nurse at St. Ann’s Hospital. Their son Jack was born February 16, 1928, and George Henry on March 4, 1932. Arnot died November 13, 1977, and Mae on January 18, 1990. Their son George died August 18, 1993, in Juneau, leaving two grown children, Glen and Mary Alice. Glen died May, 20, 1996, leaving a daughter, Nena. Son Jack and his wife, Leona, had seven children and
currently live in Fairbanks, and many of their children still live in Alaska.

Helen Hendrickson married Frank Heinke, November 11, 1919. Frank came to Juneau in 1913, to work for the Gastineau Mine at Thane. He worked in the machine shop and was on their baseball team. They moved to Washington for a brief time, then returned to Juneau, where their daughter Doreen was born September 6, 1925. Frank worked for Harri Plumbing and Heating for twenty-three years and later owned his own plumbing and repair business. Helen died November 11, 1937, soon after they moved into their new home on Tenth Street, adjacent to the Waino Hendrickson home on C Street. Frank Heinke died October 27, 1960, and daughter Doreen, October 6, 1964. She is survived by two children, Richard Anderson and Virginia Ankney, both of Sedro Wooley, Washington.

Hilda Hendrickson married Henry C. Hanna, a six year resident of Juneau, on June 14, 1924. Henry Hanna partnered in a garage with Miles Godkins for a time, then worked for Harry Lucas at the Juneau Motor Co. He was a star baseball player for the American Legion team and known as “Shorty” by his many friends. When he was courting Hilda, he drove his Ford car across the bar at low tide from Switzers. After they were married, he promptly put an outboard motor on the Hendrickson’s skiff, so it was easier and faster for Hilda to travel back and forth to the homestead. Hilda still spent considerable time at the homestead, due to her mother’s illness. Daughter Marie, born in April, 1925, learned both Finnish and English, but always spoke to her dad in English. After twin sons, Gene Arnot and George Henry, were born May 11, 1927, trips to the homestead were less frequent. Henry was drowned September 3, 1928, while on a goose hunting trip at Gambier Bay.

Hilda’s mother’s health did not improve, so Mr. Hendrickson decided to move across the channel to Sunny Point, where he filed for a ten acre home site. He felt they could operate a small dairy, if Hilda and the children were living with them. Before they all moved to Sunny Point in 1929, Ray Peterman built them a house, barn and a small shed for a light plant. That May, the Juneau Empire reported that Mrs. Hilda Hanna had received four Jersey cows and a Ford Truck to start their dairy. A bit later they had a garage and a mink pen built. They raised mink until that market collapsed. Mr. Hendrickson still cut hay over on Douglas Island and, when dry, hauled it back across the bar to Sunny Point by horse and wagon. For a while he kept up the strawberries and some of the garden on the homestead and for many years the house was used by hunters as shelter. Hilda made all the milk deliveries to town.

Mrs. Hendrickson had a stroke soon after they moved to Sunny Point. She was cared for by Hilda, then Waino and his wife, until she died December 15, 1932, at St. Ann’s Hospital. The dairy was sold in 1932, after Hilda married John Osborn. They had a daughter, Joan Gail, born April 22, 1933. Hilda contracted tuberculosis in 1937, and spent six months in a sanitarium in Seattle. She, John and the children moved to Auke Bay in 1938. Mr. Hendrickson remained at the Sunny Point home until his death, August 11, 1945, two months before his first greatgrandchild was born. Hilda and her family moved closer to town in the fall of 1943, when they bought a house from Lydia Webber at Mile 2. Hilda and John divorced in 1948, and she resumed the name of Hanna. Hilda began work in the 1940’s, as a sales clerk in several dress shops. Her final job was at the Ludwig Nelson
Jewelry Shop, at age seventy. She died at the Sitka Pioneer Home, April 22, 1981. Her son George died April 26, 1978. Son Gene died September 1, 1999 and her daughter Marie Darlin still lives in Juneau. Daughter Joan Potoliccho lives in Washington State.

Waino Hendrickson graduated from Juneau High School in 1916, and went to work in the A.J. Mine, where he lost partial sight in one eye in a machine shop accident. He enlisted and was inducted into the Army at Ft. Seward (Chilkoot) in 1918. He served in the Midwest and was headed for Europe when the war ended. Upon returning to Juneau, he worked on the City Dock. Waino married Marion Kingsnorth Jones, a nurse at St. Ann’s Hospital, August 12, 1924. He worked for the Alaska Laundry and became part owner in 1927. Their daughter, Dorothea, was born April 16, 1928. He served as Department Commander of the American Legion in 1943, and was also an active member of the volunteer fire department, Pioneers, Elks, Rotary, and the Republican Party. He was elected Mayor of Juneau from 1946 to 1953 and served in the Territorial House of Representatives from 1948 to 1953. He also worked those years in wholesale grocery sales.

Waino Hendrickson was appointed Secretary of State, under Territorial Governor Frank Heintzleman, in 1953, and served in that position until the time of Statehood. Waino was Acting Governor twice during those years: January 3 to April 8, 1957, and again August 9, 1958 to January 3, 1959. He was then appointed chairman of the Department of Interior Field Committee until 1960. From 1961 to 1965, he was manager of the Juneau Bureau of Land Management office. His wife, Marion, died February 25, 1962. When he retired from the BLM in 1965, he moved to Anchorage and lived with his daughter Dorothea Forrest and her family. Waino was also Grand President of the Pioneers of Alaska in 1965, and served on several statewide committees for a few more years, until his eyesight became worse. He died June 17, 1983, and is buried beside his wife in Juneau’s Evergreen Cemetery. He had seven grandchildren and several great grandchildren when he died.

From four children and eight grandchildren, Henry Hendrickson has thirty-five great grandchildren and forty-five great, great grandchildren.

The Koskey (Koskela) brothers were half brothers of Henry Hendrickson (Kultala). Matt did not remain in Juneau for long, returning to Astoria, Oregon. Matt married in August, 1899, and had four children, a son and three daughters. They settled in Naselle, Washington, and he fished on the Columbia River.

Mike stayed in Juneau, and never married. He even ran liquor from Canada during the Prohibition years. He did some fishing, and was still alive in 1945, when Henry Hendrickson died. He died later in the Sitka Pioneer Home and is buried in Sitka.

Jack was killed in a mine accident in 1903. Listed as Jack Koski in records, he and his wife Marion, who died in 1912, had four children.

Abel worked in the mine for many years. He married Amanda Kopsala in 1902, and they owned an apartment house on Gastineau Avenue. He and his wife had two children, Florence and Olavi. After Jack’s death, Abel and Amanda cared for Jack’s wife and four children, Sylvia, Lulu, Axel and Harold. Abel was a blacksmith by trade and also shod horses. He quit the mine sometime in the 1920’s and fished commercially until he retired, about 1950. His nephew, Axel, died July 4, 1934, and his wife, Amanda, September 1, 1938. Son, Olvai, died June 14, 1948, and Abel died February 19, 1956. All are buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Marion and Waino Hendrickson, Hilda and Henry Hanna at Hendrickson homestead on north Douglas Island, about 1924.

Arnot, Marie, Helena and Waino Hendrickson, 1903.