The Chugiak Community Club
It was a small group of early residents that met at Park’s Coffee Shop that February in 1947. Their main purpose was to decide on a name for their community and to get themselves properly organized into a group that could oversee activities in their area.
After rejecting name suggestions such as Knik Heights, Inlet Park, Rocky Run, Williwaw and Nanook, the winner turned out to be Chugiak. And so it has been ever since.
Bylaws that were drawn up stated, “Purpose shall be to hold meetings for social gatherings and to promote the welfare of the Community.” Membership would include any residents from Eagle River to Peters Creek and from Knik Arm to the Chugach Mountains. There was an initiation fee of $1 plus dues of 25 cents a month. Future tasks included obtaining electricity from MEA and a school with well-paid teachers. It was noted that there were 28 school-age children in the area at the time.
Officers were elected at the following monthly meeting. The meetings rotated from one officer’s home to another. Paul Swanson was elected president, Henning Johnson became vice president, Marie McDowell was secretary and Les Fetrow was treasurer.
The club held its first fundraiser box social on Oct. 30, 1948. The event took place in the Haik Coffee shop. The evening began with dancing and music furnished by a group of musicians from Fort Richardson. The fun was climaxed by the sale of the decorated boxes at midnight. Paul Swanson, adding to the gaiety of the evening, was dressed as a woman and auctioned the boxes off to the men. The hall was decoraged in orange and black streamers and pumpkin and pussycat lanterns. Mrs. Haik served coffee with the lunches. The party was unanimously called a success. Proceeds totaled $171.30, which was banked by the treasurer into the building fund.
An item from the club’s May 20, 1949 minutes offered another “duty” of the club members:
“Discussion of insect spraying by the Army was underway when Gib Reid announcd a forest fire on the Hasekoester homestead. Meeting adjourned very quickly so everyone could help fight the fire.”
Information taken from Les Fetrow’s series of articles titled, “Chugiak is 15,” published in the Knik Arm Courier (1962) and the minutes of the Chugiak Community Club. Both are housed in the archives of the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Contact the society at [email protected]