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Bert Howdeshell visits home, isn't impressed (1916)


Posted By: S. Ferrall - IAGenWeb volunteer
Date: 8/20/2017 at 22:54:26

A well-known Alaska printer and editor, Bert Howdeshell, of Juneau, went back for a visit to his old home in Iowa. He writes a few lines to the Dispatch, telling of changed conditions.

While Mr. Howdeshell's experience is unfortunately not novel, he gives reason for the deterioration of the once bright and prosperous towns of the middle west that might well serve as a warning to the newer country of the Pacific coast and Alaska.

He says:
"This is the land where wealth accumulates and men decay. The inhabitants are a population of 'pinchers.' They have enriched the mail-order houses and despoiled their own cities. I visited the place of my birth a few days ago. An appreciative and hero-worshipping public has converted it into a dumping-ground. Rusty cans, abandoned dry-state booze bottles, frozen potatoes with tears of grief in their eyes; old mattresses, hairless with age; deceased cats, and last year's jimson weeds now adorn the spot where I first saw the light."

~source: Petersburg Weekly Report
Petersburg, Alaska
Saturday, April 22, 1916

Note: Albert 'Bert' Howdeshell's father, Jacob R. Howdeshell, was a Civil War veteran in Co. G, 27th IA Inf.

Bert died of alcoholism in 1917 and is buried in Juneau, AK (online death certificate - Ancestry)


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