Story last updated at 12/5/2012 - 2:13 pm
Join the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for Coffee & Collections on Dec. 8 from 10:3 a.m. to noon, featuring Carol Sturgulewski, author of "White House of the North: Stories from the Alaska Governor's House."
For the first time, the public is invited behind the scenes of Alaska's best-known home, with the publication of "White House of the North: Stories from the Alaska Governor's House." Nearly 100 years' worth of legends and history describe glamorous balls, wartime austerity, backyard baseball, delicate antiques, leaky pipes, boisterous children, visiting dignitaries and even a bigamist governor.
The Alaska Governor's House, built in 1912, is one of the oldest governors' homes in the U.S. From the first occupant, Gov. Walter E. Clark, to today's Gov. Sean Parnell, "White House of the North: Stories from the Alaska Governor's Mansion" provides an intimate and detailed view of the house and its residents. Stories are not limited to politicos; readers meet many other characters over the years, from preschool children in the wartime nursery school, to the Russian gardener napping in the basement; from the chef chipping glacier ice in a dim 1940s kitchen, to love-struck couples on the verandah. The art, antiques and furniture of the house, rarely seen by the public, is also discussed.
As the oldest daughter of a former Alaska governor, Sturgulewski offers readers her unique perspective on life in the Alaska Governor's House. In documenting the history of the house, Sturgulewski spent more than five years interviewing governors, first ladies and friends from every administration since 1925. Her 112-page text is supplemented by more than 75 historic photos, and documents dating back to the 1890s.
"Alaska is a young state, and we are fortunate to have so many of our history-makers still with us," Sturgulewski said. ''They have shared wonderful stories about the people who lived in the Governor's House, from funny family anecdotes to historic information. Even the artwork and furniture in this house have their tales."
The book was produced with funding from the Friends of the Alaska Governor's Mansion Foundation, established in 2004 to educate the public about the house and its history. "The Governor's House belongs to all the people of Alaska," says First Lady Sandy Parnell, a member of the foundation. "We're very excited to begin celebrating the 100th anniversary of the house in 2012 with the publication of this book."
A third-generation Alaskan, Sturgulewski was born in Sitka and has lived in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, Kodiak and Unalaska. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in 1977, and has spent more than three decades writing about her state in newspapers including the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Anchorage Times, Anchorage Daily News, Aleutian Eagle, Dutch Harbor Fisherman, Seward Phoenix-Log, and for the Associated Press. Her magazine work includes Alaska magazine, Alaska Business Monthly, National Geographic Traveler, Alaska Geographic and many others. She has also researched and written for several guidebooks. Sturgulewski also has written Kodiak: Alaska's Emerald Isle and is a co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul, the 39th book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
For more information regarding this free public event, or other Museum exhibits and programs visit www.juneau.org/parkrec/museum