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Pioneers of Alaska 



In the winter of 1902-3, the formation of 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 was to "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 the Sons 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. Adoption by the Grand Igloo of the Latin phrase Ecce Nuvum Astrum, ("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

 R. B. Milroy, Vice-President Conrad Seim, Secretary

 P. N. Webb, Treasurer Conrad Seim, Historian George L. Standley, Sergeant-at-Arms

Trustees -- 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

Checkmarks indicate the list of names for an igloo is online.  Auxiliaries are not currently listed.





Grand Original Organizers & Charter  Members  (created 4 Aug 1908)  A - K  |  L - W ...   18 Kodiak 17
1 Nome ( 1907) 1 19 Cordova 5
2 Candle (formed June, 1907) ...     20 ? ...
3 St. Michael ...   21 Wrangel Charter Members 15
4 Fairbanks 
A - C 
|  D - G  |  H - K  |  L - N  |  O - S  |  T - Z
8   22 Stika 12
5 Ruby/Long City ...   23 ? ...
6 Juneau 6     24 ? ...
7 Valdez 2     25 ? ...
8 Wiseman ...     26 Petersburg 10
9 Seward ...     27 ? ...
10 Flat ...   28 ? ...
11  ? ...   29 Dillingham ...
12  ? ...     30 ? ...
13  Tanana ...   31 Palmer 11
14  ? ...     32 Homer 14
15 Anchorage 4   33 Kenai 16
16 Ketchikan 7     34 Haines 18
17 Nenana ...   35 Delta Junction 19

(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 me.