Parks and Recreation Image

Juneau-Douglas City Museum

Maver, Frank & Mary (Smith)

by Anne Maver Ross

Frank Maver was born at Trieste, Austria, in 1900, and died in 1985, at Kennewick, Washington. Mary Caroline Smith Maver was born at Helena, Montana, in 1910, and died in 1996, also at Kennewick. Daughter Anne Josephine Maver was born in 1929, and her sister Christina Antonia was born in 1930, both at Cle Elum, Washington.

During the Depression in 1933, the Cle Elum/ Roslyn/Ronald coal mines closed, thus Frank booked boat passage to Juneau, Alaska, and found work as a hoistman at the A-J Gold Mine among thousands of other seekers. His wife, Mary, then sold their home in Cle Elum and traveled to Juneau on the Alaska Steamship with the girls then aged four and three.

Within a year after moving from an apartment on the side of Mt. Roberts, a landslide took out all the buildings in its path, giving a person a life ride in a bathtub. This hillside is overgrown now, but shale prohibits building development.

The present Federal Building/Post Office is situated on the former baseball field, across from our family convenience store of 1934. A year later, we moved to a 55-acre homestead nestled near Lemon Creek in the Tongass National Forest. A great place to raise a family but with no electricity or indoor plumbing. A hand pump at the kitchen sink sufficed, with a rain barrel providing cold water into the bathtub. The hand washboard was an every week job. Frank felled trees for the cook stove and cleared land for truck gardening. Popular items for sale were cabbage, potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, which grew six feet tall, and experimented with celery. Chickens, rabbits, and the entertaining goats provided milk and meat. Hay was hauled from the cemetery for animal feed.

Frank continued working at the A-J Gold Mine until it closed due to the War in 1942. He did carpentry work near the docks and Mary answered a call for labor at the sawmill.

Entertainment was always highlighted with a big dinner and games of horseshoes. On a musical note, George Troychak taught Mary to play the accordion during summer months and those lessons were handed down to daughter Anne. School Mayfests and luncheon requests from many volunteer clubs developed Anne’s “presentation.” After sixty-three years of “playing around,” it is Anne’s most enjoyable endeavor, sharing music of the 40’s at dances and with seniors.

Anne and Christina attended Juneau schools from kindergarten on, with memorable teachers like Mrs. Monson Burford in second grade, chemistry teacher Mr. Eide, and Mr. Jeffries for the hard-to-understand Algebra. Before completing high school, our family left Juneau in 1946, to partake in the 50th wedding anniversary of Mary’s parents, Anton and Antonia Smith at Prosser, Washington. It was there the girls attended Ellensburg High School, and graduated in 1947 and 1950.

From a divorced marriage of twenty years with Jimmie Dee Ross, Anne has two children and sister Christina married Andy Job in 1953, and they have four children. Frank and Mary celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1978. At Kennewick, Anne continues to farm alfalfa on the forty acres where they built their home from sagebrush land, planting hundreds of spruce and pine trees for a woodsy environment. Sister Christina settled with her family in Pasco, Washington.

Anne attended the 50th class reunion at Juneau in 1996, sharing the moment with her mother and daughter June, and two teenage granddaughters. We recaptured the nostalgic importance of tall tales handed down over the years. Long-time ago friends of the family included Joe and Mathilde Kendler who owned a dairy farm; Mr. Switzer who raised pigs along Lemon Creek; Lillian Babcock and her daughter Malin; Gene Hanna and his sisters Marie Darlin and Joan Potolicchio; neighbor Tom Horn; classmates Lousan Krause and Julia Sakagami-Shank; and bakery owner Henry Sully.

Anne Ross, Mary and Frank Maver, and Christina Job, 1984.