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The Star (Ketchikan, Alaska)
Alaska Heritage Resources Survey
|Location||5 Creek Street, Ketchikan, Alaska|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Part of||Creek Street Historic District (ID14000454)|
|NRHP reference No.||93000336|
|Added to NRHP||April 26, 1993|
|Designated CP||August 6, 2014|
The Star is a historic commercial building at 5 Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska, United States. It is the only one of a once-numerous collection of brothels that famously lined Creek Street to retain its historical integrity,[clarification needed] and was one of the largest in the city.
The Star's origins (like those of other brothels on Creek Street) lay in a 1903 city ordinance banning brothels from the city center, after which those businesses began building in "Indian Town", in what is now Creek Street on stilts over the north bank of Ketchikan Creek. Winding into the hills above Creek Street is Married Man's Way, a trail used by patrons of the brothels to escape raids. Its name derives from the star inlaid in the center of the wooden dance floor.
The Star was built as a modest gable-roofed structure in 1903, not long after the ordinance was passed, and was enlarged in 1910 and again in 1917 to achieve its present size, probably whilst owned by Mattie Wilkes. The extensions included a dance hall.
"Black Mary" brought the house in 1917 for $4,000. Mary was a large woman who was affectionately known as "mama". She had owned a brothel in Petersburg, Alaska before buying the Star. One of her prostitutes from Petersburg, Dolly Arthur, worked at the Star before opening her own house at 42 Creek Street. With her health failing, Mary sold the house to Thelma Baker in 1924. Less than a year later Mary died.
Thelma Baker had been born Linda Ruth McCowan in 1892 in Washington state. She was described as a thin mulatto with a good head for business. Despite police raids, the Star and Creek Street in general, served alcohol during Prohibition. This attracted fishermen to stop at Ketchikan and not only did they visit the Star and the other brothels in Creek Street, but spent money in the town on supplies and repairs. The brothels were generally tolerated because of the cash income to the town.
The Star continued as a brothel with a few brief closures until WW2. Prostitution was banned in Ketchikan during the war years. The women returned in 1946 but did not restrict themselves to Creek Street. In 1953, the city banned all prostitution and the Star closed.
Thelma Baker continued to live in the house alone. For a short time in the 1960s, the ground floor was used as a woodworking shop. On August 7, 1972, the building caught fire. The fire had started from an oil stove in Baker's apartment. Barker, by then 80 years of age, and her dog died in the fire.
The building stood derelict until it was restored in 1991 by Steve Reeves and Karen Wolfred. The restoration kept as many of the original features as possible, including the maple dancefloor, which was sanded back to its former glory.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- Allen, June (21 February 2004). "Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska - June Allen". www.sitnews.net. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
- "Creek Street Ketchikan". Fish Creek Company. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
- "The Star". www.creekstreet.com. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
- "NRHP nomination for The Star". National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
- "NRHP nomination for Creek Street Historic District" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
List of National Historic Landmarks in Alaska
The National Historic Landmarks in Alaska represent Alaska's history from its Russian heritage to its statehood. There are 50 National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) in the state. The United States National Historic Landmark program is operated under the auspices of the National Park Service, and recognizes structures, districts, objects, and similar resources according to a list of criteria of national significance. Major themes include Alaska's ancient cultures, Russian heritage, and role in World War II, but other stories are represented as well. In addition, two sites in Alaska were designated National Historic Landmarks, but the designation was later withdrawn. These sites appear in a separate table further below.
The National Historic Landmark Program is administered by the National Park Service, a branch of the Department of the Interior. The National Park Service determines which properties meet NHL criteria and makes nomination recommendations after an owner notification process. The Secretary of the Interior reviews nominations and, based on a set of predetermined criteria, makes a decision on NHL designation or a determination of eligibility for designation. Both public and privately owned properties can be designated as NHLs. This designation provides indirect, partial protection of the historic integrity of the properties via tax incentives, grants, monitoring of threats, and other means. Owners may object to the nomination of the property as a NHL. When this is the case the Secretary of the Interior can only designate a site as eligible for designation.
NHLs in Alaska
The table below lists all of the National Historic Landmark sites, along with added detail and description.
|||Landmark name||Image||Date designated||Location||County||Description|
|1||Adak Army Base and Adak Naval Operating Base||February 27, 1987
|Adak Station||Aleutians West||Established in 1942 as part of World War II, this military base was the launching pad for the American attack on the Japanese-held Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu.|
|2||Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall||June 2, 1978
|235 Katlian Street, Sitka||Sitka||This 1914 meeting hall and headquarters building served the original chapter of Alaska Native Brotherhood, founded by Tlingits in the early 1900s to fight discrimination and represent interests of natives.|
|3||Amalik Bay Archeological District||April 5, 2005
|Address restricted, Katmai National Park and Preserve||Kodiak Island||An archeological site located in Kodiak Island Borough|
|4||American Flag Raising Site||June 13, 1962
|On Castle Hill, Sitka||Sitka||In 1867, site of Russian flag lowering and American flag raising marking the transfer of Alaska to the U.S.; in 1959, after Alaska admitted as 49th state, site of first official raising of 49-star U.S. flag; also known as Castle Hill and Baranof Castle.|
|5||Anangula Site||June 2, 1978
|Nikolski||Aleutians West||Site of earliest signs of human occupation in the Aleutian Islands.|
|6||Attu Battlefield and U.S. Army and Navy Airfields on Attu||February 4, 1985
|Attu Island||Aleutians West||Site of bloody battle in which only 29 of 2,500 Japanese survived, only land battle on U.S. soil during World War II.|
|7||Bering Expedition Landing Site||June 2, 1978
|On Kayak Island||Valdez-Cordova||Site of first recorded contacts between natives and Europeans|
|8||Birnirk Site||December 29, 1962
|Address restricted, Barrow||North Slope||Sixteen prehistoric mounds of the Birnirk and Thule cultures.|
|9||Brooks River Archeological District||April 19, 1993
|Address restricted, Katmai National Park and Preserve||Lake and Peninsula||An archaeological site located along an ancient beach and modern river. There are twenty separate well preserved sites which have provided a large number of Arctic Small Tool Tradition artifacts.|
|10||Cape Krusenstern Archeological District||November 7, 1973
|Address restricted, Kotzebue||Northwest Arctic||The archeological district comprises 114 ancient beach ridges which formed nearly 60 years apart. They provide a rare sequential look at over 5000 years of inhabitation.|
|11||Cape Nome Mining District Discovery Sites||June 2, 1978
|Nome||Nome||Significant for role in the history of gold mining in Alaska|
|12||Chaluka Site||December 29, 1962
|Address restricted, Nikolski||Aleutians West||Includes a large mound; yields information about origins of Aleuts|
|13||Chilkoot Trail and Dyea Site||June 16, 1978
|Skagway||Skagway||Major access route from the coast to Yukon goldfields in the late 1890s.|
|14||Church of the Holy Ascension||April 15, 1970
|Unalaska||Aleutians West||Built in 1826 by the Russian American Fur Company to help acclimate indigenous population in Russian Alaska.|
|15||Dry Creek Archeological Site||June 2, 1978
|Address restricted, near Healy, Alaska||Denali||This archeological site has provided evidence which supports the Bering land bridge theory|
|16||Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army||February 4, 1985
|Unalaska||Aleutians West||Only U.S. fortifications in the Aleutian Islands prior to bombing of Pearl Harbor, attacked by the Japanese Navy during the Battle of Dutch Harbor in June 1942.|
|17||Eagle Historic District||June 2, 1978
|Eagle||Southeast Fairbanks||Historic district with over 100 well-preserved buildings from the Gold Rush years on the Yukon River. Roald Amundsen announced his successful traverse of the Northwest Passage from here in 1905|
|18||Fort Durham Site||June 2, 1978
|Address restricted, near Taku Harbor in Juneau City and Borough, Alaska||Juneau||One of three Hudson's Bay Company posts set up in Alaska|
|19||Fort Glenn||May 28, 1987
|Fort Glenn||Aleutians West||Well preserved World War II defense base.|
|20||Fort William H. Seward||June 2, 1978
|Haines||Haines||Last of a series of 11 military posts established in Alaska during the gold rush era|
|21||Gallagher Flint Station Archeological Site||June 2, 1978
|Address restricted, Sagwon||North Slope||Discovered in 1970 during the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, it was at the time the earliest dated archaeological site in northern Alaska.|
|22||Holy Assumption Orthodox Church||April 15, 1970
|Kenai||Kenai Peninsula||Russian Orthodox church in Kenai, Alaska.|
|23||Ipiutak Site||January 20, 1961
|Address restricted, Point Hope Peninsula||North Slope||The type site for the Ipiutak culture|
|24||Iyatayet Site||January 20, 1961
|Address restricted, Cape Denbigh Peninsula||Nome||Shows evidence of several separate cultures, dating back as far as 6000 BC.|
|25||Kake Cannery||December 9, 1997
|About 1 mile (1.6 km) southwest of Kake||Prince of Wales-Hyder||Built 1912-1940; significant for role in history of salmon canning in Alaska|
|26||Kennecott Mines||June 23, 1986
|East of Kennicott Glacier, about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north of McCarthy||Valdez-Cordova||Site of discovery of copper in 1900 and subsequent mining activities|
|27||Kijik Archeological District||October 12, 1994
|Address restricted, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve||Lake and Peninsula||Related to the history of the Dena'ina Athabaskan Indians|
|28||Japanese Occupation Site, Kiska Island||February 4, 1985
|Kiska Island||Aleutians West||Site of the Japanese occupation of Kiska which along with nearby Attu were the only US land occupied by the Japanese during World War II|
|29||Kodiak Naval Operating Base and Forts Greely and Abercrombie||February 4, 1985
|Kodiak||Kodiak Island||World War II-related facilities|
|30||Ladd Field||February 4, 1985
|Fairbanks||Fairbanks North Star||Primary role during WWII was major stopping point for the Lend-Lease program.|
|31||Leffingwell Camp Site||June 2, 1978
|On Flaxman Island, about 58 miles (93 km) west of Kaktovik||North Slope||Campsite of geologist and polar explorer Ernest de Koven Leffingwell on Arctic coast of Alaska.|
|32||Nenana (river steamboat)||May 5, 1989
|Pioneer Park, Fairbanks||Fairbanks North Star||River steamboat; only surviving wooden one of this type.|
|33||New Russia Site||June 2, 1978
|South of Kardy Lake, about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) southwest of Yakutat||Yakutat||Site of Russian trading post attacked and destroyed by Tlingit natives.|
|34||Old Sitka||June 13, 1962
|Mile 6.9 of Halibut Point Road, about 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Sitka||Sitka||Also known as the Redoubt St. Archangel Michael Site, this was the site of a Russian-American Company settlement, established in 1799 and destroyed by Tlingit attack in 1802.|
|35||Onion Portage Archeological District||June 2, 1978
|Address restricted, Kiana||Northwest Arctic||Perhaps most important archaeological site in Alaska; caribou river crossing; human presence for millennia.|
|36||Palugvik Site||December 29, 1962
|Address restricted, Hawkins Island||Valdez-Cordova||Includes a large midden yielding information about Eskimo culture in the area.|
|37||Russian-American Building No. 29||May 28, 1987
|202-206 Lincoln Street, Sitka||Sitka||Siding covered log building; dates back to the years after the 1867 purchase of Alaska.|
|38||Russian-American Magazin||June 13, 1962
|101 East Marine Way, Kodiak||Kodiak Island||Storehouse building associated with the Russian and then the American trading companies active in Alaska.|
|39||Russian Bishop's House||June 13, 1962
|501 Lincoln Street, Sitka||Sitka||One of four surviving examples of Russian Colonial Style architecture in the Western Hemisphere.|
|40||St. Michael's Cathedral||June 13, 1962
|240 Lincoln Street, Sitka||Sitka||Primary evidence of Russian influence in North America.|
|41||Seal Island Historic District||June 13, 1962
|Pribilof Islands||Aleutians West||Historic buildings related to northern fur seal hunting in the Pribilof Islands and its restriction in 1911 and 1966.|
|42||Sheldon Jackson School||August 7, 2001
|801 Lincoln Street, Sitka||Sitka||Oldest institution of higher learning in Alaska|
|43||Sitka Naval Operating Base and U.S. Army Coastal Defenses||August 11, 1986
|Japonski Island, Makhnati Island and the causeway connecting them, near Sitka||Sitka||Commissioned as Sitka Naval Air Station in October 1939, it was redesignated the Naval Operating Base, July 1942. Protected the North Pacific during World War II.|
|44||Sitka Spruce Plantation||June 2, 1978
|Unalaska||Aleutians West||First recorded afforestation project in North America; Russian settlers began in 1805; attempt to make Unalaska self-sufficient in timber.|
|45||Skagway Historic District and White Pass||June 13, 1962
|Skagway and White Pass||Skagway||Historic frontier Gold Rush town and trail leading to White Pass on the border of Canada. Over 100 buildings from the era survive, though they are threatened by continued development. Mentioned in The Call of the Wild by Jack London.|
|46||George C. Thomas Memorial Library||June 2, 1978
|Fairbanks||Fairbanks North Star||The public library for Fairbanks from its construction in 1909 until the opening of the Noel Wien Public Library in 1977. Site of 1915 meeting between U.S. officials and native Alaskans to settle land claims.|
|47||Three Saints Bay Site||June 2, 1978
|Address restricted, Old Harbor||Kodiak Island||Site of the first Russian settlement in Alaska in 1784.|
|48||Wales Site||December 29, 1962
|Address restricted, Wales||Nome||Site of first discovery of how the Thule culture followed the Birnirk culture in precontact whaling populations of the Alaskan shoreline.|
|49||Walrus Islands Archeological District||December 23, 2016
|mouth of Bristol Bay||Dillingham Census Area, Alaska||Island group with deeply stratified sites covering 6,000 years of human occupation.|
|50||Yukon Island Main Site||December 29, 1962
|Address restricted, Yukon Island||Kenai Peninsula||Related to the Kachemak Bay Culture.|
Historic areas of the NPS in Alaska
National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, some National Monuments, and certain other areas listed in the National Park System are historic landmarks of national importance that are highly protected already, often before the inauguration of the NHL program in 1960, and are then often not also named NHLs per se. There are three of these in Alaska. The National Park Service lists these three together with the NHLs in the state,
Cape Krusenstern National Monument is also an NHL and is listed above. The other two are:
|1||Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park||Skagway||Skagway||Park of Klondike Gold Rush, an NHL shared with Seattle, Washington.|
|2||Sitka National Historical Park||Sitka||Sitka|
Former NHLs in Alaska
|Date withdrawn||Locality||Borough or
||Nome||These five archeological sites established a chronology of human habitation on St. Lawrence Island, with evidence of four cultural phases of the Thule tradition, beginning about 2000 years before the present. Over the 20th century, the archeological value of the sites was largely destroyed due to ivory mining, and landmark designation was withdrawn.|
||Valdez-Cordova||Built of logs in 1903–05, this was one of a number of roadhouses built along the Valdez Trail. It was destroyed by fire in 1992, leading to withdrawal of its landmark status. By the time of its destruction, it was one of the oldest continuously operating roadhouses in Alaska.|
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Alaska
- History of Alaska
- Historic preservation
- National Register of Historic Places
- List of U.S. National Historic Landmarks by state
- While the form 72000193 contains 2001 NHLD designation for the entire Sheldon Jackson School, the asset detail page references the original Sheldon Jackson Museum 1972 single-property enlistment.
- NPS Alaska NHL List
- "National Historic Landmarks Program: Questions & Answers". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- "Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 65". US Government Printing Office. Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
- Numbers represent an alphabetical ordering by significant words. Various colorings, defined here, differentiate National Historic Landmarks and historic districts from other NRHP buildings, structures, sites or objects.
- The eight-digit number below each date is the number assigned to each location in the National Register Information System database, which can be viewed by clicking the number.
- Federal and state laws and practices restrict general public access to information regarding the specific location of this resource. In some cases, this is to protect archeological sites from vandalism, while in other cases it is restricted at the request of the owner. See: Knoerl, John; Miller, Diane; Shrimpton, Rebecca H. (1990), Guidelines for Restricting Information about Historic and Prehistoric Resources, National Register Bulletin, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, OCLC 20706997.
- "Sitka Naval Operating Base and U.S. Army Coastal Defenses". National Historic Landmarks Quioklinks. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- These are listed on p.110 of "National Historic Landmarks Survey: List of National Historic Landmarks by State", November 2007 version.
- Date of listing as National Historic Site or similar designation, from various sources in articles indexed.
- National Park Service (June 2011). "National Historic Landmarks Survey: List of NHLs by State" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2011-07-04.
- National Park Service. "National Historic Landmark Program: NHL Database". Archived from the original on 2004-06-06. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- National Park Service. "National Historic Landmark Program: Withdrawal of NHL Designation". Retrieved 2007-10-04.
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