The six homes of Chugiak Post Office
The First Chugiak Post Office was established in 1947. It was located at the Moosehorn Trading Post with Marie McDowell as its first Postmaster. It was commissioned as a fourth class post office, but soon after attained third class status. The post office was located at Moosehorn until 1955, but was temporarily located in a building owned by postal clerk Inez Huseby while Moosehorn was being remodeled. The original Trading Post was eventually torn down.
Paul Swanson (pictured at left in the photo) became the Postmaster in September 1957, when the post office was located in the red building across from the Chugiak Elementary School. When these quarters became too small, it was moved to a converted military barracks building that had been moved next door by Swanson. This was in December of 1960.
The building which next housed the Chugiak Post office was located just on the other side of the old red post office, and had a history of varied uses. It was originally built by Swanson to be a grocery store, which he operated until he sold the building to the Methodist Church, becoming the first home for that church in Chugiak. When the church relocated to its new site a mile or so south on the Old Glenn Highway, the building was subsequently leased to a number of organizations. It has been in turn: a temporary classroom for the Chugiak Elementary School, a health center, and — just prior to its conversion to a post office — was used by the Chugiak branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for their services.
The building belonged to Harold Groseth, who purchased it from the Methodist Church. He both enlarged and remodeled the building to meet the specifications as set forth by the Post Office Department.
As the community continued to grow, that post office also became too small to accommodate Chugiak’s increasing population. A new post office was built and opened in 1986 on the access road between the Old and New Glenn Highways, across from the new elementary school.
Paul Swanson retired in 1975 and passed away in 1992.
This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society, which is located at 18606 Old Glenn Highway. Email them at [email protected] or call 688-4706.