Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

With a title like this, who wouldn’t want to hear the rest of the story? “Duped by a Convict: How my great-grandfather perished in the Kotzebue Gold Rush,” presented by Sharon Lee Morris.

This is the first of two lectures that begin at 7 p.m. June 24 at the Noel Wien Library Auditorium. The second is “A Journey of Discovery: The Nome Discovery Saloon Project” by Carol Gales.

Here’s a brief summary of the free lectures, sponsored by the Tanana Yukon Historical Society.

In 1897, George Stevens was a prisoner in the Washington State Penitentiary. He convinced guards he could find gold in Kotzebue, Alaska. The head guard, James F. Addleman, got the convict pardoned and sailed to Alaska in 1898 with a crew that included Stevens and his young son. Addleman was the presenter’s great-grandfather.

When the men discovered there was no gold in Kotzebue, they abandoned Stevens and his son and headed home. Days later, their ship capsized in a fierce storm and no one survived. Stevens made his way to Nome and bought land where the Discovery Saloon was later built.

That leads to the second evening presentation by Carol Gales. Before she even became the official owner of the historic and then-dilapidated Discovery Saloon building in 2002, Gales was already applying for historic preservation funds. She spent more than a decade managing those grants and completing exterior restoration work on Nome’s oldest-known gold rush structure. At the same time, she uncovered the building’s forgotten history.

This presentation will share information about the unique building and share the challenges of doing historic preservation in a remote, sub-arctic community.

For more information on these lectures and future lectures sponsored by the Tanana Yukon Historical Society, call 488-3383 or email Or visit

Think flowers

It’s not too early to be thinking about what to enter in the Farthest North Standard Flower Show July 19 and 20. The theme is “Gardening through the Galaxy.”

As expected, the categories provide an opportunity for colorful creativity. See the list at Categories include The Milky Way, a dry arrangement with spirals; Sun, fresh flowers of yellow, red and orange; and Asteroid Belt, integrating rocks into a fresh floral creation. Youth, 18 years and younger, are invited to enter an exhibit in the Moon category, a fresh floral design featuring a rocket. These are just a few examples of the 12 categories.

All amateur gardeners, and the general public, are invited to participate in this popular annual event. It takes place 1-5 p.m. July 19 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 20. There are no entry fees.

It’s well worth attending to appreciate the creativity of local gardeners. Every year, I look forward to the creative theme and detailed categories.

The flower show takes place at the Pioneer Park Centennial Center at Pioneer Park and is sponsored by the Fairbanks Garden Club.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.