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Monday, May 28, 2018
HomeAlaska NewsSpenard palm tree was not the first in Anchorage

Spenard palm tree was not the first in Anchorage

AN EARLIER PALM TREE GRACED DOWNTOWN’S 4TH STREET

The saga of the neon-lit palm tree that once graced the Paradise Inn in Spenard jogged the memories of some old-timers, who were reminded of a time before Statehood when a similar palm tree was on Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage.

Denali Disposal owner Bernadette Wilson was instructed by the U.S. Marshal last year to dispose of the Spenard artifact however she wanted — and she wanted to keep it. She went to great pains to preserve it.

Hawkins

That palm tree salvage operation led to a protracted legal battle with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which culminated with a judge awarding the tree back to the U.S. Marshal. After all, if the tree had value to Wilson, it must have value to the U.S. taxpayer, the judge surmised.

[The story with the unhappy ending is here]

On a tip from a reader, we dug up some photos of the South Seas Nite Club, and sure enough, there was the Spenard palm tree’s older sister, on 4th and G Streets.

The club was a popular hangout for military personnel stationed in Anchorage in the 1940s and 50s. These photos and more are found at the Alaska Digital Archives.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • Love the last picture. By modern pc standards there is so much wrong with it and the thought of hyperventilating, spittle spewing offendanistas having hissy fits brings great joy to my day. Thank you

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