Marge Gull painting of Birch Lake Roadhouse
This is a painting by Marge Gull of Birch Lake Roadhouse, also known as Chisolm’s Roadhouse. It was located about 63 miles from Fairbanks (306.4 miles from Valdez) in the vicinity of Birch Lake.
Little is known about this roadhouse. It was owned and operated by a Scotsman named James (Jimmy) Chisolm.
It was listed in the Alaska Road Commission’s distance table for the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail 1915, and also listed by Rand McNally in 1922. There are no records of the roadhouse after 1922 but it is believed that Chisolm operated the business into the 1930s serving truckers hauling freight along the Richardson Highway.
According to the description on the back of the painting, one of the cabins at the roadhouse was still visible in 1984.
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. I’ll be adding more painting periodically.