Opinion: Telephone Hill homes worth preserving

Telephone Hill homes worth preserving

Juneau’s history is preserved and told in many ways. A piece of that history is embodied in the historic neighborhood we call Telephone Hill. The homes were built and owned by early Juneau business and governmental leaders. Walking through this neighborhood is stepping into Juneau’s history 100 years ago.

Juneau is so enriched by the investments and improvements made by Sealaska Corp. and Sealaska Heritage Institute. The art and buildings and ongoing activities tell the history of this land during pre-colonial days, and demonstrate the vibrant culture that continues today. Walking through downtown tells this story to residents and visitors alike.

The city has made efforts to preserve other aspects of Juneau’s history for its residents and visitors. It maintains a city museum and a mining museum. It has commissioned and installed art that highlights the mining and fishing industries. As the current owner of Telephone Hill, the city should continue its efforts by preserving this historic neighborhood.

These are peoples’ homes, of course, and that alone should be a deterrent to their removal given the housing shortage in downtown Juneau. But their value goes well beyond the emotional attachment of those who live there. These are beautiful homes in a beautiful location. They are a visible manifestation of a period of our community’s early development. These homes have stories to tell us and those who come after us, but only if they remain.

Janice Gregg Levy