Talkeetna = Northern Exposure

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Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna = Northern Exposure Reviews

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The Life and times of Talkeetna, Alaska Sep 14, 2009
Named by the local Indian tribe, the Dena’ina, a subset of the Athabaskan people, this small village was located here at the convergence of three rivers, all of which were fed by glaciers. They were the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna. It was a great location for fishing and hunting and trading. The name means “River of Plenty”.

Just prior to the nineteenth century a gold rush along the Susitna River brought prospectors in large numbers and in 1915 there was even a riverboat station here which supplied the mining and prospecting industry. One year later it was chosen as the divisional headquarters for the Seward to Fairbanks government railroad route, which had been approved in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. During that period the town’s population grew to a whopping 1,000. After the railroad was completed and a flu epidemic came through in 1923 the population decreased substantially. In 1964 a connection fourteen miles long was made to the George Park Highway (Route 3) and opened the area to vehicle access. This small town had a rebirth of sorts when Brand-Falsey productions created a television show based supposedly on Talkeetna, Alaska. The idea being that the town paid for a New York student’s college education and when he became a doctor he would spend at least 5 years in their town serving as the town’s doctor. CBS began airing the show in 1990. But the town of Cicely, which was the name used in production, was actually created in Roslyn, Washington. The show lasted for five years.

Princess has had a lot to do with this town also. In 1995 they decided to locate a summer lodge for tourists about one hour from Talkeetna and only 41 miles from Mt. McKinley/Denali. Covering an area 146 acres the Princess Mt. McKinley Lodge now is home to 460 guest rooms, which keeps the tourist business going in Talkeetna. And all of those tourists come in on the train which stops at the Talkeetna depot. Granted, the Princess Lodge is not the only one around, but certainly adds a fair percentage.
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