Marge Gull painting of Gordon’s Roadhouse
This painting shows Gordon’s Roadhouse, which was about 261 miles from Valdez and 110 miles from Fairbanks).
Like Sullivan’s Roadhouse, Gordon’s Roadhouse was located along the Delta Winter Cutoff, a 55-mile stretch of trail that ran from Donnelly’s, near Black Rapids; to Washburn, near Birch Lake.
The winter cutoff avoided the high winds and overflow along the Delta River in that area, and it was about 20-miles shorter than the summer trail through the area. The cutoff was used from November to April.
Gordon’s was located about 16 miles northwest of Donnelly. It opened in the winter of 1907-08, and was operated during its early years by Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Gordon. It was a lunch stop for the mail stages, which also changed horses there. Being in big-game country the roadhouse was also a popular stop for hunters in the fall.
An all-season wagon road was completed along the north side of the Dealt Road by 1910, but many travelers continued to used the shorter winter cutoff. With the completion of the Alaska Railroad in 1921, and the shifting of mail contracts from stage lines to the railroad, the Delta Winter Cutoff fell into disuse, and Gordon’s Roadhouse eventually disappeared.
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 her 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 paintings periodically.