The front page of the Juneau Empire on Nov. 25, 1985. (Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Nov. 25, 1985. (Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of Nov. 26

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Empire Archives is a series printed every Saturday featuring a short compilation of headline stories in the Juneau Empire from archived editions in 1985, 1995 and 2005.

This week in 1985, the long-running saga of Chuck Keen’s plan to build a hotel and restaurant complex atop Mount Juneau may be nearing a dramatic climax. Keen says the complex — complete with an aerial tram to shuttle tourists to the summit — could be open within 15 months. If he gets his way the veteran filmmaker will undoubtedly script a rousing conclusion to his 15-year effort to build the mountaintop complex — a conclusion in which the good guys triumph against all odds and live happily ever after. Real life and the movies, however, are two different things. This is not the first time Keen has claimed to be at the starting gate. But he faces financial, permitting and other challenges.

Today the Goldbelt Tram is one of Juneau’s most popular summer attractions and Keen’s dream lived on only in remnants of items brought to the summit of Mount Juneau languished for decades before a concentrated removal effort was launched in 2009.

Original Story: “Mount Juneau tram an uphill effort,” by Bruce Scandling. 11/25/1985.

This week in 1985, Robert Munroe used to celebrate Thanksgiving with a bottle of Wild Turkey. He would wake up under a vehicle, or behind a Dumpster, with no memory of how he spent the holiday. “Thanksgiving was just another excuse to get drunk,” said Munroe, 50. Now sober, Munroe said he understands what Thanksgiving is about. He was drinking almost a quart of vodka a day after he came to Juneau earlier during the year following his divorce, before finding his way to what was then known as the Glory Hole on South Franklin Street. “Then the folks at the Glory Hole, they helped me get back on my feet. They helped me get a job at the State Office Building.” He subsequently became a shelter manager at the Glory Hole, where spent Thanksgiving in 1985.

Today the shelter for people experiencing homelessness has been renamed the Glory Hall and relocated to a newly built facility near Juneau International Airport.

Original Story: “Robert Munroe’s Thanksgiving,” by Kristan Hutchison. 11/22/1995.

This week in 1985, record rainfall at the end of the workweek left some city and state employees working overtime this weekend. Juneau Public Works employees spent Friday night containing flooding on Behrends Street and were kept busy Saturday cleaning up the aftermath of a landslide on Nelson Street downtown. Alaska Department of Transportation workers spent Friday night and Saturday dealing with a landslide that closed a portion of Glacier Highway near the Gastineau Humane Society north of Lemon Creek. The National Weather Service reported the highest rainfall of the year on Friday with 2.51 inches recorded at Juneau International Airport. That was also a record for the date, which was previously 1.16 inches on Nov. 18, 1993.

This week Juneau again got hit by a severe storm in the form of a blizzard that caused widespread disruptions, including sending most government workers home early. South of Juneau, where warming temperatures meant heavy rain instead of snow, a landslide struck three homes in Wrangell. Three people were confirmed dead within a day of the incident and three remained missing as of Wednesday of this week.

Original Story: “Torrential rains break city record,” by Eric Morrison. 11/20/2005.

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