This photo from the Capt. George H. Whitney Photograph Collection shows a man, with wheelbarrow cart and two dogs in harness, transports beer barrels along boardwalk; pedestrians, buildings, and sign for Coon's Drugstore in background in Juneau in 1886. Juneau and Douglas' breweries were the subject of the Gastineau Channel Historical Society's award-winning newsletter. (William Howard Case/ Alaska State Library - Historical Collections)

Local publication recognized with statewide award

It’s the second year in a row.

For the second consecutive year, the newsletter published by the Gastineau Channel Historical Society has been honored by the Alaska Historical Society.

Gastineau Heritage News was awarded the Esther Billman Certificate of Excellence for contributing to the “preservation and understanding of Alaska history. The award is named for the longtime curator of the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka. The AHS announced the award Saturday, Oct. 16, at the conclusion of its statewide virtual conference.

“This year the society compiled a remarkable and comprehensive history of Juneau-Douglas breweries, tracking brewing to the 1700s when Russians introduced liquor to the Aleutian Islands, summarized the ever-changing liquor laws and public sentiment, and introduced the thriving craft brewing industry,” stated an AHS blog post summarizing the awards.

Last year, the Spring/Summer 2020 edition also won the Billman award.

That issue was dedicated to 1918, one of the worst in local history, Gastineau Channel Historical Society said in a news release. At least 25 people (including the editor of the high school yearbook) died of the Spanish flu; catastrophic landslides tore out homes, businesses and bridges; and 353 people drowned north of town when the Princess Sophia sank.

[‘The Princess Sophia’ commemorates shipwreck 100 years later]

The Gastineau Channel Historical Society was founded in 1956, and it has about 240 members, according to GCHS. Since it began publication in 1984, the newsletter has been honored seven times by the AHS. Currently, it’s published twice annually. The most recent issue (about the Juneau waterfront) and past editions can be purchased online at

For information about membership or how to participate in the Nov. 14 virtual annual meeting featuring a presentation on the 140th anniversary of Treadwell, email

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