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High-tech meets old-tech in Bill Stroecker Internet auction

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Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 10:58 pm

FAIRBANKS — The late Bill Stroecker believed in old-school technology.

So it’s a sharp contrast that an Internet auction is taking place for many of the remote cabins he owned throughout Interior Alaska.

Stroecker, a pioneer Fairbanks banker, died in November 2010 at 90. Among the many assets he left behind are his string of a dozen-and-a-half cabins from Manley to Paxson and a variety of land holdings.

The cabins are mostly utilitarian buildings, many in beautiful locations, adorned with old pictures and basic implements.

Most of them are furnished with whatever gear Stroecker was using during his last visit, looking for all the world as if he had just stepped out and would be back any minute to clean off the table, light a lantern and cook dinner.

Some have kindling stacked inside, with coffee pots near the stove, kitchen towels hanging on an inside clothes line, spices on the shelves and brooms and buckets near the front door.

Stroecker spent many of his weekends visiting his cabins, traveling by snowshoe in winter and boat in summer. He was not a serious participant in the computer age, so this is a real case of high-tech meets old-tech.

“These remote properties represent some of the choicest parcels of recreational real estate in Interior Alaska. Although the cabins themselves were always modest, Bill almost always found a way to put a small wood-fired hot tub or sauna at many of his choice retreats,” the auction website notes.

The website for the Internet auction is http://akcabins.org, with bidding deadlines over the next few weeks.

There are many photos and detailed descriptions of each cabin in the auction. The website has been difficult to access at times, apparently because there has been more traffic than expected.

There are cabins and/or lots at Paxson Lake, Healy Lake, on the Tanana River, at Eagle, in the Brooks Range, at Manley Hot Springs, Circle Hot Springs, on the Goodpaster River, on the Salcha River, on the Delta Clearwater River, at Harding Lake, on Shaw Creek, in Tok and in Fairbanks.

The bidding is still in the early stages. By Friday, bidders had offered $40,000 for a cabin on Healy Lake, $30,700 on a Goodpaster River cabin and five acres and $27,200 for a cabin and five acres on Shaw Creek. Most of the properties have more than the minimum bids.

The first bid deadlines are July 12 for lots and/or cabins in town, at Eagle, in Tok and on the Clearwater. The last bids are due July 20.

The estate is providing financing to buyers who put 20 percent down, with the rest due in five to 15 years, with interest rates ranging from 6 percent to 8 percent.

Money raised by the auction will help fund the Bill Stroecker Foundation, which is to support his favorite causes.

He named about three dozen local organizations in his will, from the Salvation Army to the Boy Scouts, along with more than a dozen other groups including conservative foundations and schools.

The organizations were not bequeathed any specific amounts, but they were listed as examples of groups Stroecker wanted to help.

Stroecker’s general instructions were that the foundation should avoid giving money to groups he would regard as “left wing or greenie.”

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

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