Pioneers of Alaska
In the winter of 1902-3, the
yet another of many organizations was discussed in early territorial settling days for
social purposes to keep alive the memories of early trail blazers. The object
"preserve the names of all of Alaska’s pioneers on its rolls;" and to preserve the history
of the period. The idea of this group was not the only one of its kind in the
North. The honor of being the first belongs to
of the Northwest established
in Sitka in March 1887. However, the Sitka club remained local and did not spread to
other communities.On February 7, 1907
in the Nome Bank Building,
twenty-eight men effected that idea of four years
previous. Committees were
appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws and report at a meeting to be held
February 14th. At this time, the permanent organization was formally created.
The name, Pioneers of
Alaska , was adopted for the organization, and "Igloos" as the name for local
organizations; Igloo No.1 taken as the designation for the Nome group. The
constitution and by-laws was then adopted which, with but few changes is the
constitution of the Grand Igloo of the Pioneers.
of the Latin phrase Ecce
("Behold the New Star") gave the organization their motto.
Following this meeting, a letter
written to outlying camps in the Second Division, Igloos were formed at Candle and St. Michaels.
Subsequently, other Igloos were formed throughout the territory and at the
present writing about 27 Igloos are affiliated with the Grand Lodge and are
active in carrying on the work of the order.
The first officers elected by the Igloo were as follows:
J. J. Chambers, President
B. Milroy, Vice-President Conrad Seim, Secretary
P. N. Webb, Treasurer Conrad Seim, Historian George L. Standley,
||Wm. T. Perkins, 3 years
||Dr. Southward, 2 years
||Geo. Diamond, 1 year
A. P. Brant is the only remaining member who was present at the formation of
Igloo No.1 and is still residing in Nome.
Over the years, the organization grew from Igloo
#1 in Nome to 35 igloos statewide, 17 of which are currently active.
Of 19 auxiliaries, 17 are currently active. Membership in 1990 was
8,100. Each September, Pioneers convene in a Grand Igloo session.
To be a Pioneer, a man must have been a resident of Alaska for at least
30 years. A woman may join an auxilliary of her husband or father
is a Pioneer. Most auxiliaries choose to admit as members only
women who meet the 30-year residency requirement.
Original membership in the Pioneers of
Alaska (later, Nome Igloo No. 1) included only those who arrived in Alaska
previous to January 1, 1900
indicate the list of names for an igloo is online. Auxiliaries are not
(In 2007, Auxiliaries were re-named Women’s Igloos but retained
their Auxiliary numbers.)
There have been 35 Igloo charters conferred since the beginning,
rising and falling with the population centers. Currently active Igloos include:
Anchorage, Cordova, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Haines, Homer, Juneau, Kenai,
Ketchikan, Kodiak, Nome, Palmer, Petersburg, Sitka, Seward, Valdez, and
Wrangell. If you should have the early rosters of the igloos I am missing
above, please contact