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PUBLISHED: 4:08 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Performance highlights Wickersham anniversary
A standing room only audience crowded into Centennial Hall-Egan Room Friday night to celebrate Wickersham Day.

Reminiscent of earlier days when Wickersham Day was the equal of Seward Day and Alaska Day in Alaska.

This program was presented on the 150th anniversary of Wickersham's birth.

Sitting in the same chair that James Wickersham had in his office at the House of Wickersham in Juneau, John H. Venables, dressed in period attire of Aug. 24, 1939, Wickersham's 82nd and last birthday.

He started reminiscing about the extraordinary life that had Wickersham coming to Alaska in 1900, serving as the first territorial judge in the interior of Alaska for almost eight years, bringing civil government to a lawless, violent and unscrupulous region, serving 14 years as Alaska Delegate to the U.S.

Congress, being the first to climb Mt. McKinley, and being the key to the establishment of Alaska's first college, which developed into the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

The historical re-enactment was sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, with great support from the Alaska State Library, the House of Wickersham volunteers, and the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau Centennial Hall staff.

LAB Flying Service provided transportation.

There was a historical photo slideshow and an extended discussion afterwards with questions and answers involving the audience.

Ages of attendees ranged from seven years to a few octogenarians in the crowd of about 100 attending.

The show was a preview of the state-wide tour that will have Venables visiting 10 cities across Alaska during 2008, as the Journey to statehood-Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood, Jan. 3, 1959, will have Alaskans more aware of their heritage.


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