A town too young for concrete,
Tributary Town, Alaska, 1902 031914 SPEAKINGOUT 1 Capital City Weekly A town too young for concrete,
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Story last updated at 3/19/2014 - 1:36 pm

Tributary Town, Alaska, 1902

A town too young for concrete,

too uncertain for stone,

but no longer just a camp

despite the white-walled tents

with painted signs for meals and laundry -

a real town, named after a Senator.

Six frame buildings face the river: trading post, hotel,

warehouse, two saloons, a bank with a vault.

The owners read their future in fresh stumps

and new trails-river trade, real estate, streets,

a school with brass bell,

a church with a steeple.

And if the gold peters out or the fur market crashes,

and river steamers no longer stop to take on wood,

frame buildings can be pried apart, dismantled.

Lumber can be floated downstream

or sledded upriver

to the next dream.

By Sarah Isto

Sarah Isto has lived in Juneau for several decades, but is originally from a mining family in the interior of Alaska, where towns sometimes vanished on updated maps.