2020 Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties Grant Award

Anchorage, Alaska (November 24, 2020) – The Alaska Association for Historic Preservation (AAHP) announced the awarding of two grants to two endangered historic properties which were listed on the 2020 annual list at their recent Annual Meeting on November 5.This grant is available to current Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties.  

The Friends of the SS Nenana at Fairbanks, and the U.S. Commissioner’s Cabin at McCarthy were each awarded a matching grant of $2,500. Projects must be completed within the year. Information

The Steamer SS Nenana is a national treasure, a designated National Historic Land site and Landmark. She is an educational tool, a living museum to learn from and a hands-on teacher. She is the last of her kind in Alaska. If she is gone, there will be no other riverboat sternwheeler to be inspected and explored to learn how they were constructed and how the paddlewheels and steam engines ran on the rivers, even providing clean water for the staterooms and kitchens.

The Friends will be using the grant to develop a schedule of recommended repairs to the Steamer Nenana, aka SS Nenana, with cost estimates, for sternwheeler restoration. It will compile information in condition. Prior work recommendations will be adjusted to reflect repairs accomplished between 2008 and the present. Prior cost estimates will be adjusted to reflect inflation. Recommended work items will be grouped into categories.  

The U.S. Commissioner’s Cabin is a historic, privately-owned structure located within the heart of Wrangell–St. Elias National Park & Preserve, in downtown McCarthy, Alaska. The cabin was circa 1908 (verification of exact date is pending). Oral history indicates it was constructed before most of the other buildings in town. It is the last of its kind in McCarthy, Alaska.

This is a stabilization project. A hired contractor will conduct measures necessary to protect and stabilize the United States Commissioner’s Cabin until a plan is in place and money is available for further building preservation. This work will help protect the property from endangerment. The McCarthy Creek floodplain has changed over time and threatens the United States Commissioner’s Cabin. Immediate threats to this property include catastrophic structural damage caused by flooding, as water reaches higher levels than ever before. The focus will be exterior, involving drainage and underpinning, with possible further foundation, concrete and masonry work.  

Founded in 1981 as a private, nonprofit corporation, AAHP is dedicated to the preservation of Alaska’s prehistoric and historic cultural resources. AAHP aids in historic preservation projects across Alaska, and monitors and supports legislation to promote historic preservation, serving as a liaison between local, statewide, and national historic preservation groups. Additionally, AAHP publishes a quarterly newsletter and holds educational workshops.