Marge Gull painting of Donnelly’s Roadhouse
This painting shows Donnelly’s Roadhouse, which was one of the key roadhouses along the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail. It was located at the junction of the Delta cut-off winter trail and the summer trail (which eventually became the permanent all-season trail). From Donnelly’s the all-season trail rose from the Delta River valley to skirt the eastern slope of Donnnelly Dome before heading north towards Big Delta. The Roadhouse was 245 miles from Valdez and 119 miles from Fairbanks, and was a stop on the Orr Stage Line. Orr kept a fresh team of horses here.
Donnelly’s was nestled against the hillside overlooking the Delta River. A Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System telegraph station was established here in 1904 and by 1906 the roadhouse was operating. The first operators of the roadhouse were a man with the last name of Donnelly, and another named R.E. Shanklin.
The road house was used regularly until the Alaska Railroad was completed in 1923. In 1926 flooding along the Delta River washed out the roadhouse, carrying off the last of the roadhouse buildings.
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. For more of Marge’s paintings follow this link.