Marge Gull painting of Big Delta (Rika’s) Roadhouse
This is a painting by Marge Gull depicting the roadhouse at Big Delta in about 1915. (I’ve seen the original photo.) Located at mile 275 of the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail (90 miles from Fairbanks), it has been known by various names: Bennet’s, McCarty’s, Big Delta, and Rika’s.
The Roadhouse is located on the south bank of the Tanana River near that river’s confluence with the Big Delta River. Ben Bennett built a trading post nearby in 1904. Dan McCarty bought the property in 1905 and sold it to John Hajdukovich in 1909. That same year Hajdukovich built the 2 ½-story log roadhouse shown in the painting. Hajdukovich sold the roadhouse to Rika Wallen in 1923. Wallen built a 2 ½-story addition on the east side of the roadhouse. The roadhouse is now part of the Big Delta State Historical Park. For more information on the roadhouse click here.
Genevieve Marguerite (Marge) Gull (who died in 2013) came to Alaska with her husband in 1938, living first in Fairbanks and then Anchorage. She was an amateur painter and painted 49 of the roadhouses along the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail.
I assume that at least some of the paintings were done from photographs since many of the roadhouses disappeared long before Marge came to Alaska. This painting is in the collection of the Valdez Museum. For more of Marge’s roadhouse paintings click here. I’ll be adding more painting periodically.