|Horace Nagley opened his first store at Susitna Station in
the early 1900’s. From there he supplied many miners
and trappers heading in the interior via the Susitna River.
As the Upper Susitna Region became more settled with
the completion of the Alaska Railroad, Nagley opened
his second store in Talkeetna.
|Lookouts were posted across the street at the
Fairview Inn throughout several nights to watch
for fire. It took the heroic efforts of the
Talkeetna Volunteer Fire Department the better
part of three days and over 50000 gallons of
water to put the fire finally out. With the help of
the community, the store was rebuilt and back in
business in less than four months.
|The original log building was located at the end of Main
Street near the river. Nagley continued in his role as an
influential merchant through the 1910’s. The store was the
focal point of activity in the town serving as the Post
Office and District Territorial Headquarters.
|Nagley ‘grubstaked’ many individuals seeking their
fortunes in gold. In the process, he ended up owning
many gold claims; presumably because of miners unable
to pay back the ‘loans’.
|Nagley sold his business in the mid 1940’s to Barrett and
Kennedy who operated the store as the B&K Trading
Post. They moved the original building down Main Street
to its present location. The present owner in recognition of
Nagley’s contribution to the community changed the store
name to its original version. Nagley’s son Willard, who
now lives in Washington State, is a frequent visitor and is
always willing to reminisce about the ‘good old days’.
|During the early 1900’s builders used man ‘natural’
materials in the construction of buildings. The original
Nagley’s store was constructed of logs acquired in the
local area. Building insulation was usually material which
was easy to acquire. In the case of Nagley’s Store,
builders used the sawdust left over from sawing of the logs
and milling of timber. When that supply was exhausted,
moss was gathered and used as insulation.
|The obvious problem was that this material was flammable
– creating a serious fire threat. When Nagley’s caught fire
on New Year’s Day 1997, firefighters had a very difficult
time extinguishing the smoldering sawdust. The fire would
often re-ignite within the walls of the store.