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Pelican has been the home of many interesting characters over the years, and that is meant as a complement. Just about anybody can make their way in the more urban communities but it takes a special type of person to seek out a remote lifestyle; particularly in the earlier years when amenities were in short supply.
Looking back: A Pelican resident encounters historical literary gems 040412 AE 1 For the Capital City Weekly Pelican has been the home of many interesting characters over the years, and that is meant as a complement. Just about anybody can make their way in the more urban communities but it takes a special type of person to seek out a remote lifestyle; particularly in the earlier years when amenities were in short supply.

Photograph By Bob Dearmond.

Pelican town founder Kalle Raatikainen stands on the right, holding a newspaper.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Story last updated at 4/4/2012 - 11:34 am

Looking back: A Pelican resident encounters historical literary gems

Pelican has been the home of many interesting characters over the years, and that is meant as a complement. Just about anybody can make their way in the more urban communities but it takes a special type of person to seek out a remote lifestyle; particularly in the earlier years when amenities were in short supply.

A few years ago I came across a copy of a journal written by Gilbert Longfellow Edgecomb, also known as "Pop". Recently I have taken on the task of transcribing the document onto the computer. While the job is not quite done there is material within it too interesting not to share.

Pop came to Pelican in 1945 with his wife May, daughters Betty and Margaret, and Pepper the family dog. Pop and his family traveled north from Seattle on the steamer "Tongass" and were met in Pelican by his son Bill and his then wife Alice (she later married Bill Mork). Pop was a skilled carpenter and was soon pressed into service by Kalle Raatikainen to repair some of the existing homes. Pop was an avid writer with an interest in poetry; in his journal there are many of his poems depicting various times and places of his life. He later purchased a salmon troller and then described experiences at sea in his poetry.

Norm Carson is an author, historian and resident of Pelican.

Here is a poem Pop wrote about his new hometown:

"The Pioneers"

A little band of fighting fools

Once stood on Lisianski's shore,

With faith and strength and simple tools,--

These things they had little more.

Yet soon this band of pioneers

Had built a little lumber mill,

And sounds of labor filled the ears

While steam bath smoke curled up the hill.

At times they were so low on food,

That even hope itself seemed dead.

But they just kept on sawing wood,

And still the project forged ahead.

With fish and venison and clams

To eat, they knew no word like can't.

They built their power house and dams,--

They built their great cold storage plant.

The faith of these strong pioneers,

Who went ahead and paved the way,

Has brought us, in a few short years,

The Pelican we know today.

And Kalle Raatikainen's name

Shall be remembered through the years

And written in the Hall of Fame,

As "He who led the pioneer's".


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