"The Parkgate Building"
Four pages of the July 19, 1973 issue of the Chugiak-Eagle River Star were devoted to the opening of the Parkgate Building in Eagle River. It was located on the site of the former “Swap and Shop” business that had opened in the 1950s which had new and used merchandise. The following information was gleaned from that issue of the Star and edited by the Memory Retrievers:
The Parkgate Professional Building opened in July 1973 with an open house hosted by the builder, Ramstad Construction Company. The firm showed off the new building, which was said to be the first mult-story steel building constructed in Alaska. Exterior walls are panels with steel outside and a finished interior surface. Three inches of foam fills the space between, which makes these panels ideal for Alaskan buildings. They were widely used in construction of state schools in the remote areas of Alaska and a number of high schools that were being constructed at that time.
Among the first businesses to open in the Parkgate were Read and Company Insurance Agency, Deborah’s House of Beauty, the Eagle River branch of Alaska Chiropractic Clinic, an advertising agency specializing in making filmed commercials, and a jewelry manufacturing firm. Several additional firms were planning to open offices there in the near future.
At that time, the owner of the building was a corporation known as Progress, Inc., which was made up of a group of local investors. Ramstad Construction Co. was a franchised builder for Stran Steel, which is a subsidiary of National Steel Corp., the third largest steel company in the nation at that time.
In the nearly 40 years since then, the Parkgate Building has seen many different businesses come and go as occupants. At present, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Job Corps, Home Optics, CYSA, AK Summit Enterprises, Kitchen Cabinets Design, Northern Glitter Boutique, Edward Jones Investments, Northern Chiropractic, Signature Hair Salon, AK Orthopedic Massage, Alaskan Insurance Services, R&S Plumbing, Thomas R. Bird DDS, Expert Approach Technology & Marketing Services, and J.P. Caterinichio DDS are all housed in this historic building, which faces the Old Glenn Highway between Easy Street and Park Place in Eagle River.
This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 688-4706.