Thursday, December 1, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 15

Arctic Brotherhood building at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909

Like the HooHoos (see postcard Thursday #3) the Arctic Brotherhood* was a fraternal organization represented at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. It was founded by eleven would be prospectors on their way to Skagway, Alaska in 1898 for the Gold Rush. The arduous journey to the goldfields took its toll not only on the men but also more especially on the horses used to haul materials up to the various camps. Often it took up to 20 trips to get everything to the camps; the trail was narrow and dangerous, the weather and temperature were inhospitable, and the mortality among the horses was very high. The brotherhood was formed so that the prospectors would have some way to help one another. It was also a lighthearted camaraderie of like-minded who were involved in a dangerous adventure with the heightened excitement of the possibility of discovering gold. The brotherhood later evolved into a fraternal order with “camps” instead of lodges throughout the country. Originally Champagne corks and beer caps were used as “jewels” for the officers and general membership. You can guess which belonged to whom. These were replaced over time with more conventional looking “jewels.”

Souvenir spoon with gold pan, nuggets, pick & shovel & pail, ca 1900

A lapel pin was designed by a jeweler for brotherhood members to wear that featured a gold pan like the one on this spoon complete with nuggets. I even wondered if the dots going up the handle of the spoon might represent the climb up one of the passes such as White Pass (aka Dead Horse Pass) or Chilkoot Pass (aka 32 meanest miles pass). The spoon does not have anything on the reverse that would identify it as a Arctic Brotherhood artifact but it certainly was from that same era. Although it looks gold colored in the picture it is silver.

When the Gold Rush ended there was no longer a need to provide help to the prospectors so in 1924 the Arctic Brotherhood was disbanded.
Since Adolph Landaas was one of those who headed up north during the Alaska Gold Rush it makes me wonder if he belonged to this or a similar group.

Petra, Adolph and Mikkeline (Maggie), Landaas, ca 1878

Adolph was born 1875 in Bergen Norway the younger brother of Maggie and Petra. He came to America in 1897 and was in Alaska a year or two later. He also lived for shorter periods of time in Seattle with his mother, Karen Landaas and sister, Nora.

Adolph Landaas second from left and friends in Alaska during the gold rush days, ca 1899/1900

Brrrr, Gold Rush guys in the tent fixing a meal from a can, ca 1899/1900

Adolph Landaas

I don’t think Adolph ever struck it rich but he lived for many years in Alaska and died there in 1958. During his later years he lived for a time in the Pioneer Home in Sitka, Alaska and is buried in the cemetery there. His wife, Sogne Pedersdatter Bogge Landaas died in 1922 at age 37 while they were living in Fairbanks, Alaska. He never remarried and did not have any children.

Adolph & Sogne, ca 1910


Note: For more information about the Arctic Brotherhood see

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