by Joeann Monagle Mielke
In hopes of striking it rich in mining, my great grandparents Hudson traveled to Alaska and the Yukon Territory in the late 1800ís. Grandfather Monagle immigrated from Malin Head, Ireland, and married my grandmother, Mary Monica Hudson, in 1899, at the Cathedral of the Nativity in Juneau, Alaska. My grandfather worked for Treadwell and Juneau Mines and operated Monagleís Variety Store for many years.
My father, John Parker Monagle (born September 9, 1907), met Mary Agnes Ravet (born April 17, 1907), in Seattle, Washington, in 1927 or 1928. At the time, he was attending Gonzaga University to become a dentist, and my mother was taking nursing at Providence. My father dropped out of school due to a lack of funds. My parents married in Seattle on January 13, 1929, and moved to Juneau.
John worked in the A. J. Mine, California Grocery and California Liquor Store as well as construction work, building the subport, before going into police work. He joined the police force and was Chief of Police for Juneau before joining the Territorial Police. My father became a State Trooper after Alaska achieved statehood in 1959. He was stationed several points in Alaska from Barrow, to Fairbanks, to Juneau before settling in Anchorage. He retired as Captain of the State Police in 1970. He continued working for five more years as a Deputy Marshal in Anchorage. He died December 18, 1981.
Mary worked at St. Annís Hospital for a number of years, before taking a job as a school nurse. She was school nurse at Juneau Public School on 5th Street for about ten years. She then traveled with her husband while he was stationed with the State Troopers. Mary died September 26, 1987.
My parents had two children - a daughter (me), Mary Joeann Monagle born January 21, 1930, and a son, John Parker Monagle, Jr. born June 22, 1931. We first lived in a house where there is now a parking garage across from the Baranof Hotel parking. We lived also in a house right below the Bergman Hotel. I remember Dad coming down the mining trail after work.
We spent time with our grandparents, James and Monica, at their house on 6th Street. The 1937 slide on Franklin missed our house on Gastineau Avenue where we were living at the time. Grandma took us to her store where the slide came up to the front door. Monagleís Variety Store was next to the Juneau Cold Storage building. My grandmotherís sister, Margaret, who had been trying to persuade my grandmother to leave her store was caught by the slide at the Juneau Cold Storage and suffered a broken leg.
My brother and I liked to visit the blacksmith across the street to watch him work. We also frequented the docks behind the store watching the fishing boats come to unload their catch at the Cold Storage and the fish processing plant. We particularly remember the aromas wafting from the Sofoulisí Star Bakery that was right on the other side of the Cold Storage.
My brother and I went to school at St. Annís Catholic School. When not in school we spent winters riding our sleds from the water tank on Basin Road down the hill stopping, if lucky, on Gastineau Avenue road; as we naturally slowed going up the hill on the other side. Obviously, there werenít many cars then, and we had the right-of-way. However, I do remember one time sledding down the street on the other side of St. Annís hospital; my brother slid into a parked truck with tire chains on the tires. He split his scalp open and went howling home like crazy. Mom took him to the hospital where they bandaged him up. About that time he came down with mumps. He was one sorry sight with swollen face and bandaged head!
Juneau was pretty small when we were growing up. Everyone knew everybody here. There was nothing much beyond Willoughby and the flats where Parkshore Condos are located. The Smith farm was where Harborview School is now. There was a large metal building that held our yearly fairs where Bill Ray Center now sits. The Federal Building sits on what was our ballpark where 4th of July games were held. Across the creek, where the Federal Building parking lot is now, was the Government Hospital for Alaska Natives. Tuberculosis was a serious health threat in those days. When I was sixteen, I worked in the hospital; it broke my heart to see all those little suffering children, especially, a little girl named Barbara who died while I was working there. The Hermleís Grocery was on the corner. Madsenís bike shop and Gloverís Grocery Store were across the street from the ballpark.
John and I used to pack our skis across the Douglas Bridge and hike up the mountain to the ski slopes. Good skiing! We also used to skate in the winter at the old Skatersí Cabin by Mendenhall Glacier.
The government school for natives was where the Auke Tribe Building is now, next to the Fireweed apartments. Besides the government school, St. Annís Catholic School and the 5th Street School, there was a school in Douglas and one small school at Tee Harbor. It was on floats (logs) located on the beach.
Before the war, there was very little out the road except the dairies. The Smiths and Danners would run their cows out the road for summer months and then bring them back to town for the winter. My brother and I spent lots of time at Smiths. We would ride our bikes on the gravel dirt roads as far out as the airport area, where the Smiths and Kendlers were located. The Kendlers had a large gazebo in the yard in the front of their house. We used to hold birthday parties there.
From my classroom at St. Annís School, I watched the Goldstein Building burn. For a long time, it was flooded in winter and used as a skating rink. The Arctic Brotherhood Building was the place to roller skate. The jail in that area where my father worked as a policeman had winding stairs down to the cells, and it was a spooky place.
We had some pretty good fires here over the years. Lots of cold windy weather where the water froze in the hoses while they were trying to put out the flames. Seacliff and Seaview Apts. below Dixon were both completely burned to the ground.
We also lived for a time at 1036 D Street. The roller car derbies were held on 12th Street at that time. During the war, there were blackouts all the time. We got ready for school by candlelight. The Army moved in and put in all kinds of roads out the road. Their main camp was where Kirchoffers now live across from Grandmaís Bed and Breakfast and Restaurant. My husbandís family house was there also. The Mielkes had a garage built right over part of Duck Creek when the creek still had salmon. Dave and his brothers used to watch through the cracks in the floor of the garage and fish for them. Dave said he could take the skiff from the glacier to the airport when he was growing up.
I remember when the mine closed. This was due to the low price of gold and the low grade of gold, and because mining was not considered a war time essential industry. Too much material had to be handled for the amount of gold that was actually mined. A good friendís dad, Jack Harrington, was killed by falling rock just days before he was to leave.
I finished school at Juneau High School on 5th Street in 1950. I had married Bert Linne in 1948, when I was 17. We had three children, Lynda Jo, John Alan, and Kathleen Ellen. I divorced him and married Dave H. Mielke in 1952. He adopted my three children and together we had five more daughters, Lorraine Elma, Davida Joeann, Barbara Diane, Mary Kay, and Cecelia Helen. I once won a Motherís Day contest for being the youngest mother with the most children. The prize was a free dinner at the Salmon Creek Country Club.
When we were first married, Dave worked at Alaska Laundry and Cleaners which was then located in the Emporium Mall across from City Hall. Later he worked logging and construction jobs. He worked fifteen more years at Juneau Ready Mix retiring from there in 1983. He enjoyed outdoor life - fishing, camping, hunting and boating. I worked for the Legislature, Fish and Wildlife, Employment Security, the Forest Service and the Coast Guard as a contracting officer and head of the Procurement Section for 22 years. I took early retirement in 1985.
Dave and I enjoyed several years vacationing in Hawaii. I enjoyed traveling more that he did. This was a good thing as I traveled a lot in my job. Iíve enjoyed three trips to Europe and several trips in and around a few states, including my own, Alaska. I have also loved the outdoors, gardening, camping, hiking, swimming and fishing. Dave died March 5, 1988.
My Catholic faith and my family have always been important to me. God has blessed me with many wonderful people in my life. My daughter Kathy died in 1968, of asphyxiation by carbon monoxide along with another friend in a car. That was one of the most painful experiences in my life. I have one surviving uncle, Merritt Monagle, who lives in Prescott, Arizona. I have my brother and his family, many friends, seven grown children, twenty grandchildren, and as of this writing, four great grandchildren.
Mary Monica and James Monagle, 1899.
John and Mary Monagle, 1929.
Dave and Joeann Mielke family, 1960-Mom, Kathy, Lynda, John, Dave, Mary, Lorraine, Barbara, Davida and Helen.
John and Sari Monagle family-back row: Michael, John B., Christopher, Kari, Patrick, Kevin and Theresa. Front row: Marilyn, Sari and Matthew, Dad and Ryan, and Melanie, September, 1987.