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Harvest Social recalls historic lodges of the Alaska Highway

Residents and history buffs alike enjoyed an evening of fun and fundraising at the Hudson’s Hope Museum’s 10th Annual Harvest Social this past Saturday, Nov. 18.
rosspeck
Ross Peck presenting his talk on Trutch Days.

Residents and history buffs alike enjoyed an evening of fun and fundraising at the Hudson’s Hope Museum’s 10th Annual Harvest Social this past Saturday, Nov. 18.

“It is the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway this year, and the Alaska Highway changed the whole Peace River country,” commented local historian Ross Peck, who presented a short talk on his family’s connection to the highway.

Peck’s parents, Don and Alene Peck, operated the Mile 200 Trutch Lodge as a highway lodge and hunting and outfitting base from 1950 to 1963.

For many who live and have lived in the North Peace, the feeling that you can never truly go home again rings true. Scraps of old lodges, garages, and businesses may not be here to stay, but the memories remain.

“They paid $12,000 for that place in 1950, which I think was quite a chunk of money,” said Peck, adding his father scratched out a down payment for what was to become Trutch Lodge by trapping and skinning fur trade animals the previous winter.

“It’s kind of stuck in my mind that he caught 5,000 squirrels that winter. I can’t imagine skinning 500 squirrels, let alone 5,000,” Peck joked, adding Trutch Lodge was located at the bottom of Trutch Mountain, and soon became a favourite spot for highway traffic.

In conjunction with the Harvest Social, a new book titled Beyond Mile Zero: The Vanishing Alaska Highway Lodge Community by Lily Gontard and Mark Kelly, is being added to the museum’s shelves. Along with Trutch Lodge, Mile 716 Rancheria Lodge, Mile 1318 Tok Lodge, and many others, it details the rich history of the communities surrounding the Alaska Highway.

Tom Summer is a Hudson’s Hope correspondent for the Alaska Highway News. Email your news tips to thomas.a.summer@gmail.com.