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P.R.A. Fellowship Club - Whitehorse, Yukon, 1943

Whitehorse History

History of the Alaska Highway ("Alcan")

P.R.A. Fellowship Club - Whitehorse, Yukon, 1943

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory,

    The P.R.A. Fellowship Club was organized by the employees of the Public Roads Administration engaged on the construction of the Alaska Highway in the Whitehorse Division, April 28th, 1943. The purposes of the Club were the promotion of social and recreational activities, and to cooperate in the general care and improvement of housing, living and recreational facilities provided at the camp.

    Officers were elected, and Committees appointed after the membership had been canvassed as to their preferences in the various activities to be sponsored by the Club. Meetings were held weekly during the period of organization. Every P.R.A. employee of the Whitehorse Division was automatically considered a member of the Fellowship Club. There were no dues, and the potential membership was about 400.

    Bill Moore, Chairman of the Horseshoe Committee, was the first to report ready for action. He secured two pairs of regulation shoes for the Club, and all the experts as well as the beginners of the noble art proceeded to demonstrate their skill before a tensely interested audience.

    Howard Davis and Earl Henley spent hours weaving a volleyball net when it was found that such a thing could not be obtained without a great deal of delay. A volleyball court was graded by a membership station-gang, and teams from the various sections and barracks soon spent many hours in play. The ball, as well as considerable other athletic equipment, was donated by the P.R.A. employees of District 1, Portland, Ore.

    Clarence Buryle, as Radio Chairman, collected donations from all members of the Headquarters, and eventually a G.E. Console Radio, for the reception of standard broadcasts, foreign and domestic short-wave stations, was installed in the Club rooms. The Club voted to donate the instrument to the local Red Cross for the benefit of Service men, upon the completion of the P.R.A. activities on the Alaska Highway.

    A Clubhouse, with a large room for dancing, table tennis, Club meetings, shows, etc., and also a smaller lounge, with comfortable chairs and divans, was furnished as part of the Camp facilities. The girls under Dotty Liquin sewed and put up voile curtains for the windows in the lounge, and the members spent many enjoyable evenings listening to the radio, playing, chess and bridge, and reading in the cozy quarters.

    The softball team, with Louis Montalva as manager, provided greatly appreciated entertainment. A softball league, composed of teams of Army officers and civilian contractors, was organized, and the P.R.A. "Wolves" won the championsnip of the Division during the first half of the season, and were runner up for the second half. Some of the outstanding players of the team were Todd, Blackburn, Turner, Fair, Lomow, Calderara, Tipton, Tice, Hoyle, McCarthy, Stines, Dieterich, Schultz, Stark and Sowdin. Ted Schultz bore the brunt of the pitching with Kenny an able relief.

    A Picnic was held at Canyon City, the head of the Miles Canyon-Whitehorse Rapids portage during the days of '98, on May 23, attended by over 75 of the members. Harry Hosmar was chief cook, with all the girls assisting, roasting wienies, making sandwiches and cooking coffee. Slim Payne was MC in an impromptu and very enjoyable program, in which we must mention Helen Brown as the "Girl in the Little Green Hat" leading the singing, and Al Peterson in his inimitable readings of Indian poetry.

    A Wienie Roast under the midnight sun in June at Whitehorse Rapids was also greatly enjoyed, even though some of the Yukon mosquitoes crashed the party.

    August 29th, 30 of the members participated in a N.W.S.C. bus excursion to Carcross, Tagish, Jake's Corner, and return to Whitehorse for a memorable trip.

    Harry Hosmar and Zack Mann provided some of the most highly appreciated entertainment. Every Monday night thru-out the summer they conducted the "Music Hour", donating the use of their exquisite collection of records of symphonic music. They presented the world's greatest orchestras and artists in well balanced programs, giving us such selections as an all-Tschaikovsky program, Lawrence Tibbett, and Fritz Kreisler. These programs were enjoyed not only by us from P.R.A., but quite a few soldiers and Whitehorse residents were usually present in the audience.

    The Fellowship Club owes a debt of sincere gratitude to Harry and Zack for their unselfish efforts and hard work in these "Music Hours".

    Photography was one of the most popular hobbies. Earl Henley, as Chairman of the Photography Committee, was instrumental in organizing the Yukon Camera Club with a membership of over 30 ardent camera fans. Earl was elected President, with Harry Hosmar Secretary, and Ken Stines Treasurer. The Club reviewed and criticized the photographs taken by the members, and as a result many excellent pictures of the Highway and the Yukon country were produced. Most of the members were also Kodachrome fans, showing their slides for the thorough enjoyment of all. Special programs were presented by Major Calderara: "Washington, D.C.“; Don Duffy: "Down the Yukon to Dawson and the Klondike"; Al Peterson, Harry Hosmar, Ivan Gillson, and others: "Whitehorse Vicinity"; Jean Ewen: "The Alaska Highway, Edmonton to Fairbanks".

    We wish to acknowledge with thanks the generous loans of projectors by Major Spencer, Major Calderara, Captain Pirney, Don Duffy, and Ivan Gillson. At a time when replacement of bulbs is impossible, the loan of this equipment is particularly appreciated.

    A review of the activities of the Fellowship Club would be sadly incomplete without mention of the work of the Dance Committee under A. B. Lerner and his associates:- Helen Lewis, Helen Brown, Audrey Brown, Catherine Winters, Juanita Cooper, Mary Ann Grabowski, Verna Hawkinson, Adeline Thompson, Louis Montalva, Clarence Kurylo, and many others.

    A total of 16 dances were given by the Committee during the season, with special decorations for the Club rooms for the 4th of July, Midsummer, and Fall dances.

    Included in this program were five "Record" dances, with discs loaned by "The Arkansaw Travelers": Blackie Blackburn, Denny Cargyle, Albert Duncan, Henry Turner, Ray Russell, and Harry Hosmar, Ivan Gillson, and Louis Montalva. Our thanks for this splendid contribution.

    This Final Party, with the 10—piece "Alcaneers" orchestra, and everything free to all the members, is made possible through the hard work of our Dance Committee. They really deserve all the: "Thanks" we can give them, and more.

    Beginning in August regular moving picture shows, three times a week, were made possible to the Club. They satisfied a great want, especially during the cold, dark late fall and early winter nights, when outdoor activities were at an end. The Club is indebted to Kenny Stines, Louis Lybecker, and Johnnie Diduck for their services as projector operators for these shows, and to Gay Pinkstaff as the Chairman of the Shows Committee.

    We could go on and on listing the names of the many individuals who helped in carrying on all various activities of the Club. Space will not permit such a list, but we do want to express our most sincere appreciation for the splendid cooperation, and for the confidence placed in us. We thank you all, and wish you all "GOD SPEED", all the way!