Marge Gull painting of Casey’s Roadhouse (McKinley’s Roadhouse)
James Casey set up a primitive roadhouse (just a few tents and tarps) along the Delta River, possibly as early as 1901. It was located at what would become Mile 212.5 of the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail and served the miners along Rainy and Eureka Creeks, tributaries of the Delta River.
Gold miners began working Rainy and Eureka Creeks, about six miles south of the confluence of Phelan Creek and the Delta River, in 1901. The easiest access to the creeks was via the Delta River.
If the 1901 date is accurate, Casey’s Roadhouse, later renamed McKinley’s Roadhouse, was probably established prior to the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail being blazed.
The route to the Delta River prior to the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail would have been a trail from Chistochina, 30 miles northeast of Gakona, northward up the Chistochina River to the remote mining camp of Chisna, then east to Summit Lake and down Phelan Creek.
This route was about 40 miles longer than the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail route which took off from Gakona following the Gakona River northward towards Summit Lake. The trails merged at Summit Lake.
Casey’s Roadhouse continued to utilize tents until 1906, when a structure was built. Unfortunately, the roadhouse was short-lived. It did not appear on any of the distance tables published for the trail after 1910.
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