We have two birthdays to celebrate this week at Hatcher Pass Bed and Breakfast. The first is the birthday of the Alaskan Territory back in 1867. Celebrated this week as Seward’s Day, the last Monday in March is set aside as a State holiday to commemorate the purchase treaty of Alaska from Russia. I like to celebrate on the official day that the Alaska Purchase treaty was signed, March 30. Read more about our anniversary celebration.
You see, this very doggedly determined man, William H. Seward, who was then President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, was determined to acquire Alaska from Russia. Members of Congress at that time were incredibly critical of Seward, calling the deal “Seward’s Folly.’ In my mind there was very little folly involved as Seward was able to broker the deal for $7 million dollars, or about two cents per acre, which is equivalent to about $110 million today.
To the Russians, Alaska was a provider of furs, and that was about the extent of their interest in this little land across the Bering Sea. They also felt that they wouldn’t be able to keep the land from American or British rule in the long run, so felt getting the land at a small profit was better than losing it outright. Little did they know the immense riches Alaska held.
For all that I love about Alaska, for its wild open spaces, resources, and recreational opportunities, I have to thank Mr. Seward. I only wish he had been able to appreciate his efforts more. He only visited the territory once, shortly after the treaty was signed.
Hatcher Pass B & B, March, 1997
Fast forward about 130 years, and in March, 1997, I am making a deal with Dick and Roxie Anderson to buy Hatcher Pass Bed and Breakfast. Little did they know the riches I would find in this little business at the gateway to Hatcher Pass.
The bed and breakfast was closed at the time, and there was a realtor listing on the property. I was driving around in the area, and I realized a bed and breakfast was a business that I could do at home while my children were still young and living at home. After negotiations, I became the owner of the closed cabins that were at the time dry (no running water or septic to them) and used as storage on the property. The previous owners had moved out of state and no one had run the business for a few years. This May marks the 20th anniversary of my purchasing Hatcher Pass B&B. It is hilarious to think how little I knew back then about running a business, especially running a B&B.
First thing to do was to provide running water, septic, and bathrooms to the cabins! That little project was complete, all cabins were washed, cleaned and furnished to accommodate the very first guests I had in early June, 1997.
At that time there were just the three little cabins. In the winter of 2001 the two bigger chalet style cabins were added to the business. Five cabins, with each big cabin having more square footage than all three of the little cabins created quite a bit more work and revenue. I started hiring cleaners to help with the business, and the business has grown each year since as we’ve extended our bookings to year round.
Opportunity to have an Anniversary Celebration
When I started, there wasn’t a TripAdvisor, AirBnB, Facebook, or even the few extra cabins I’ve had built. The business and I have grown with the times. It has been such a fun, educational and uplifting 20 years and I feel the need to mark this momentus occasion. In an anniversary celebration, I’ll be hosting a brunch at the bed & breakfast Saturday, May 20, for all the amazing community members, helpers, contractors and guests I’ve had over these past 20 years.