Late 1950's early 1960's Harding Lake Ski Club
This video was taken at the Clasby Cabin which was located where the Schok compound now sits at the South end of Harding Lake. Bob Clasby converted from the original 8MM film to VHS to DVD, so it lost some quality. The occasion for the film was a bachelor party for Jay Holmes who graduated from Lathrop High School in 1960. The film starts out with a short scene of a sail board with red and white sail. Then Bill Kohler appears as bachelor Jay Holmes takes off water skiing. Note Bill’s cigarette! Bob Clasby is on the float assisting water skiers. An unidentified water skier is next in the video and for some reason that scene repeats 4 times. Jay the bachelor is then thrown off the float. Next Bill Kohler and Bob Clasby are cooking breakfast, looks pretty good. They are cooking with a wood stove with oven. Bill can be seen drinking an Olympia beer from a “glass can”. I think they said Bill’s nick name back then was “Bad Ass Billy”! The last scene is Bob Clasby at the helm of the sail board, which flips in the end. Bob was not sure of the passenger. The sail board belonged to the Tommy Paskvan whose family had a place at Harding Lake then and now the next generation is at Birch Lake. Ed and Rick Wagner and Bob had done some major repairs to the board in exchange for Tommy allowing them to use it. Note how high the lake was in 1964, considerably higher than now with the water right up to the bank. You can also see the “point” in the first water skiing scene, and it was very undeveloped at that time. Thanks to Bob Clasby for supplying this video.
Bill Stroecker Comments on Wagner film from UAF Archives
On April 4, 2006, I watched the approximately one hour tape from the “ C.W. Wagner Collection” with Bill Stroecker, then in his 80’s and a lifelong resident of Fairbanks. The tape included some scenes from a family Christmas, the visit of Howard Hughes to Fairbanks in 1935, the Winter Carnival, and numerous scenes taken at Harding Lake. The Harding Lake video linked to this narrative is about 13 minutes long.
The Wagner cabin at Harding Lake was where Bob and Chris Compeau now own a cabin. That is about halfway between the landing and where I have my place. The Evans family is on one side of Compeau’s and the Immel place is on the other side.
Bill thought the two said boats were made of aircraft fabric. The long canoe like vessel with engine was cork lined, Bill said. Very unique. The floating dive platform was near the Wagner place. Bill said a Mrs. Tommy Wright who had a cabin nearby would put up a sign on the dive platform that it should not be used before 10:00 AM. He said she was mean.
Lynn Smith, a U.S. Marshall, owned the dilapidated cabin on what is the point at Harding Lake. We all used to refer to the point as “Smith’s Point” when we were kids (comment by Jeff Cook). Bill talked about the Jack Buckley cabin located where the Sexton family now has their compound. Jack was also a U.S. Marshall.
In the video, the original cabin now owned by John and Marcia Hajdukovich is clearly visible, and to this day you can recognize a portion of the original. Also visible is the cabin Stroecker still has and which was owned before the Stroecker family by Martin Knuppe.
There is one scene with the Black Buick on the Highway to town by the River. Bill said that was at 5-mile hill on the old Richardson. It took a couple hours to get to town in those days. The same Buick is visible in a couple other scenes, one by a Harding Lake cabin.
Also visible in the film is the Stepovich cabin, which looks very much the same today. Bill mentioned that a Gladys Saliday had a place by the Stepovich cabin. She had a boyfriend Gus Conrad at the time. Sounded like that might have been a cause of some gossip back then.
Bill was talking and recollecting so fast that I am not sure I got all the names and connections he mentioned. He remembers the Wagner family well. It was fascinating to watch the film with Bill. He probably has much more to tell than I was able to capture in one sitting. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to watch the film with Bill and learn so much.
April 29, 2013
It was taken by Alan Richardson primarily and was taken from the Tilman property in the cove near the point.
Scene 1, about 4 minutes and 20 seconds long:
Scene 2, less than 2 minutes long: