|The Baranov Museum building, after the eruption|
|Kodiak residents seek refuge aboard the Manning.|
The commemoration kicked off last month on April 26th, when Research Geologist Dr. Judy Fierstein delivered her lecture The Novarupta-Katmai Eruption of 1912: A Centennial Perspective at the museum. The lecture packed the building, with more than fifty people in attendance. Dr. Fierstein, who works with the U.S. Geological Survey, spoke about the pivotal connection between history and geology, highlighting just how neatly the historical accounts of the eruption align with the geological evidence it left behind. For example, immediately following the eruption, Ouzinkie residents reported that the ash fall was minor compared to the inundation experienced in Kodiak. In the 1980s, Dr. Fierstein travelled the region and measured ash distribution, finding that there was significantly less ash on Spruce Island than around the town of Kodiak. Dr. Fierstein praised the historical accounts of the “citizen scientists of Kodiak,” emphasizing just how fundamentally history twines itself into the physical world around us.
|The caption on the back of this photo reads 'Making ash pie.'|
The museum is also partnering with KMXT to breathe new life into these century-old stories. KMXT will broadcast readings of various accounts about the eruption, ranging from personal letters to scientific reports. Several community members (including yours truly) have been recruited for the readings; among them, look forward to hearing Senator Gary Stevens deliver a proclamation from President Taft and employees from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge lament the ash-choked salmon streams and singed fox pelts.
“People are dazed, dirty, and despondent, but I guess we can make something out of it,” Nellie Erskine concluded on June 15, 1912.
And make something of it, they did.
Please join us throughout the month of June to celebrate and explore this remarkable chapter in Kodiak history.