Restoration Progress, 2001 State of Alaska sponsored Project #1365:
On Wednesday, June 20, 2001, work officially began on the restoration of the BRR. For three days the previous weekend, the owners Mike and Annie Hopper cleaned up the old 1950s lodge as a staging area and brought in equipment and supplies for the initial volunteer clean-up effort. We hauled in a “water buffalo” trailer loaned by the Delta Fire Service for on-site fresh water and a rented portable toilet facility for volunteer usage. We also hauled down the lumber and plywood ordered by our initial restoration construction adviser, Sandy Jamison. We also supplied the old lodge with a stock of staples and refreshments for our volunteers intended for a summer long effort. On the morning of the 20th our heavy equipment operator Mark Nielsen began clearing out with a bulldozer all the area around the Roadhouse. In addition to clearing away twenty years of brush he also scraped away the mounds of dirt and glacial grit that was piled up against the side of the buildings. He was able to demolish and push out of the way one outbuilding that served as a storage area in more recent times and created one brush and trash pile for later burning.
On Saturday, June 23, 2001, a large crew of volunteers showed up to begin clean up of the Roadhouse itself now that Mark had given us good access. The majority of the work was done on that Saturday. The two-story log structure was completely cleaned out of the accumulated trash as was the section immediately adjoining it. Clean up of the adjoining log structure to the north (section 2&3) revealed that shower facilities had once been housed there. The resulted rot made most of the structure unserviceable. In addition, the roof was missing from that section and had apparently been destroyed by fire. We were able to salvage only a few logs and timbers for possible reuse in future restoration. That entire section was detached from the adjoining sections north and south and demolished. Finally clean up of the latest and furthest north log section (section #9) was begun, but a significant accumulation of trash remains in that last section. Originally we feared we would have to disassemble much of the single story log structures but our initial clean-up efforts revealed that, with the exception of the section we were forced to demolish, the other single story sections were in surprisingly good shape. We now intend to protect the remaining “northern” sections “as is” until such time as we can begin restoration efforts. However, we were also forced to demolish the log section immediately adjoining the original two-story Roadhouse to the East. Its roof was also caved in and the backhoe was required for its demolition. The more recent garage-like board-and-batten section (section #11) attached to that will also require demolition in the future. We did manage to remove the significant amount of accumulated hardware and equipment once stored there.
The accumulated debris removed from the Roadhouse thus far filled two 10-yard dumpsters and one dump truck. Much of the trash was metal or contaminants and had to be transported to the Fairbanks dump. In addition two abandoned cars on the site were loaded onto the back of trailers and taken to the FNSB dump for disposal. Three others abandoned cars remain. Contaminants were also removed from the site over the weekend period. In addition to the brush pile initially created by the bulldozer work, a second and third burn pile of Roadhouse trash await ignition and a third 10 yard dumpster remains on site for future clean up efforts over this summer.
And finally, the sign explaining our present efforts and future intentions was conspicuously mounted on the front of the original Roadhouse.
After this initial clean up was completed, Mark Nielsen from Marctic & Company, was able to deliver four dump truck loads of clean gravel to the site for use as future pads for the restored log structures. Future heavy equipment work is still needed in the grading of the removed sections and possibly in the demolition and grading of the garage/workshop section. The brush and trash piles will be ignited this summer when we next organize a second clean-up party of volunteers and bring in a supply of water.
With the trash removed from the original two-story section, our volunteer contractors, Sandy Jamison and Mike Musick, were able to begin designing our future efforts at jacking and leveling the building prior to replacement of the lower rounds of log. Plans were made for temporary, interior post supports for the second floor, which Mike Hopper will complete. Our volunteer engineer Bryan Borgesson was also able to visit the site during clean up and will consult with Sandy and Mike about the reconstruction efforts slated for next summer. Dedicated volunteers included Theresa Palmer (a great chili maker and logistics planner and a great support), Annette Freiburger, Gina and Jim Yeo, Kathy Stenberg, Char Lundy representing Delta Junction, Richard Musick, Felicia Delteus, Melody Jamieson, and Armed Forces Eco Challenge volunteers from all over the world, (Frank Harvey, stationed in Okinawa) in particular donated lots of volunteer labor while on the site for three days. Patrick Carroll, Melissa Farrell, Teri Kozebuk, Carolyn Hage, and Jan Lokken joined us to help with the clean-up efforts. Many other neighbors helped in many ways, such as Ruth and Fred Bethune who loaned us their gas barbeques. Julie and Doug Smith contributed a cooler full of salmon to feed these hungry volunteers. Star Sanitation donated a dumpster to fill debris with. Ann Hopper and Mike Hopper coordinated logistics, cooked, and helped with clean-up efforts.