A 'roadhouse' to remember: built in 1904, Gakona Lodge still in use today.

Author:Ellis-Knapp, Jody

Roadhouses are an important part of Alaska's history, highlighting the sense of camaraderie that has helped make Alaska the place it is today. During the late 1800s to early 1900s, roadhouses were not just a place for a traveler to get a room, but also a gathering place for locals and often the only means of communication and contact for those living in remote areas.

While the American roadhouse no longer exists in our modern society, it's still possible to enjoy the history and get a taste of that friendly atmosphere by just taking a drive up the highway and checking out the Gakona Lodge.

The lodge, located roughly 200 miles north of Anchorage, is a former roadhouse and part of the National Registry of Historic Places. Originally built in 1904 as Doyle's Roadhouse, the lodge has many of the original buildings and relics from its early days. It was purchased by Greg and Valori Marshall in 2004. The Marshalls were looking for investment opportunities and came across the lodge via the Internet.

"The lodge intrigued us as it is one of the few remaining roadhouses out there," says Greg. "We are from Wyoming, which I think is very similar in mentality as Alaska, and we loved the idea of raising five children at a lodge in Alaska."

There are 10 rooms in the lodge with two shared bathrooms and four cabins with private baths. The majority of the rooms in the lodge have double beds, with a few providing additional single beds. Two of the cabins have their own kitchen and multiple bedrooms. Television and wireless Internet are available for guests to enjoy, as well as a continental breakfast served each morning. For those wanting a more outdoorsy experience, there are teepees available for campouts. Visitors also can enjoy cocktails each evening at the lodge's own Trappers Den Tavern, and from May 20 to Sept. 15 the Carriage House restaurant is open, offering a wide variety of excellent food.


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