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This photo of the famous cabin of Fannie Quigley was taken by my husband, David during our trip into Denali National Park. This original cabin is way up in the park at Kantishna. Alaska.
Fannie arrived in Alaska in 1906 and stayed until her death. Although she had never shot an animal before she arrived in Kantishna, her prowess as a hunter became known throughout the Territory of Alaska. She learned to trap fox, wolves, wolverine and lynx and hunted bear, sheep, moose and caribou.She grew wonderful gardens of vegetables and flowers and become very well known for her cooking. Her pie crusts were famously flaky. She made them from rendered bear lard.
Fannie was born in 1879 in Nebraska and her mother died when she was 6 years old. Her father remarried. The family had many hardships in Nebraska that seemed to remarkably prepare her for her adult life ahead. She was 16 years old when she set out on her own, working her way west along the railroad, until at the age of 27, she followed the stampede to the Klondike in search of gold.
She seemed to be the first on the scene of a new gold strike and soon began selling the miners food at top dollar. She became well known among them. Fannie staked 26 claims between 1907 and 1919 and even after that. Fannie continued to provide for the mining camp, hunting, trapping and growing as much as she could in her garden. She hunted caribou, moose, sheep and bears, butchered the meat expertly, and carried the meat on her back through the high hills to her home. She used her dog team to haul wood for the cabin and bunkhouse.
Joe Quigley and Fannie officially married in 1918 and were together until around 1937 when he left her and married another woman. Fannie was in her late sixties and a new road was built through Mount McKinley Park to the Kantishna area. Fannie Quigley's small cabin in Alaska on the high bluff overlooking Friday Creek, with Fannie's fenced garden and the dogs staked nearby, was pictured in many photographs, and towards the end of her life, Fannie became a kind of curiosity.
She used foul, rough language, dressed in manly clothing and her drinking habits were well known. Unable or unwilling to adapt to civilization, she preferred life in the open. She was a legend in the Kantishna Gold mining district and died here alone in this cabin in 1944 at the age of 74.
In Denali, there is a dinner theater that performs a play about Fannie Quigley and her colorful life. It is called the "Cabin Nite Dinner Theater" and is a wonderful experience in Alaska. The food is delicious and the entertainment is quite fun! We highly recommend it!
January 5th, 2013
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