About Town

life in a village

Ten below. 9 hours 27 minutes sunlight.

I’m sure this looks like winter to everybody back home, but that isn’t the feel of it. This is really nice weather and even if we have another cold spell, the snow will begin to melt by the end of April.

The architecture in our village is quite interesting. Many cabins are very old. Some are vacant, like this one. You are looking at the back side; you can see a front view on the Alaska page – its the cabin with the big moose antlers above a reddish door and the snowdrift blocking the entrance. I cannot tell from the exterior why it isn’t used any longer. Perhaps the interior has fallen into a state of disrepair, or maybe the family moved to another village. Many residents move about, and as I understand it, most property remains in the family hands. At any rate, the rustic beauty of the old cabins really appeals to me.

At some point in time there must have been a terrible housing shortage and quite a number of HUD homes were built here. I know the Yukon once flooded and destroyed much of the lower end of the village. Perhaps that is why the HUD homes came to town. Not at all the traditional cabin, they have that prefab look and I expect that is exactly what they are. At first I thought them unsightly, but I have come to realize that is an unfair assessment on my part; I am conditioned by having grown up in a place where beautiful neighborhoods are valued, expected and demanded.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read about home owners’ groups claiming title to people’s homes because they don’t keep their grass mowed often enough, or threatening action against their members for parking a brand new $60,000 truck in the driveway. “Of all things, a truck! This is going to ruin our home values and spoil our reputations! Park your Mercedes in the driveway and hide that awful thing in the garage, or else!” You think I am joking, but according to the six o’clock news in a very civilized Dallas, TX, it is absolutely true.

I’ve set aside all my conditioning now, and have come to appreciate the HUD homes for their historical and cultural significance and for their more important role of keeping people alive. Whitewash a Dallas neighborhood and the outcasts will just move someplace else. In Fort Yukon there really are no other places to go. And if you have no place to go in a climate like ours…

A few two story homes, both cabin and HUD, grace our village. I can’t imagine the attraction to such a home in a climate like ours; it is just too costly to heat. I intend to chronicle more of the architecture in our village on the Alaska page of this blog. I have added to it recently and if you would like to see more village views, be sure to check it occasionally.

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4 thoughts on “About Town

  1. I love these cabin houses, wooden houses… I love old architecture… But do I know these Hud houses, I am not sure, are they called also prefabricated houses? My childhood passed in a lovely village in the mid of Anatolia and our houses were all small and having gardens… There were stove for heat system… It was so beautiful to sit around the fire or stove… But todays life, especially in a big and crowded city, with modern world, makes so many things to be disappeared and forgotten… I think I am so nostalgic one. I loved your photograph and also I visited your Alaska photographs, fascinated me. Yes, I know, I may seem so strange or contradictious because Alaska is one of my dream BUT I don’t like to be in snow… On the other hand I think of this, it would be different in Alaska if I were there, they know how to live in this snow and you trust them and you learn from them how to live in this climate…maybe there is fear behind of my dislike snow… because I don’t have a nice images, experience, and memories with snowy days… Just worries and fears… Anyway, this is a long story. I din’t want to make this point. Sorry. I loved your photographs…
    Thank you, with my love, nia

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