Pioneers of Alaska - Juneau
Welcome to the Pioneers of Alaska - Juneau
The Pioneers of Alaska is a fraternal organization that gathers and preserves the relics and early history of Alaska and works for the betterment of all Alaskans. Blue Line
S.S. Princess Sophia
S.S. Sophia

In recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the S.S. Princess Sophia at Vanderbilt Reef’ near Juneau, with a loss of 350 lives we have commissioned a bronze memorial plaque that will be placed at the Eagle Beach State Recreation Area this spring.

A historical interpretive sign which tells the story of the greatest marine disaster in the Pacific Northwest and the heroic rescue and recovery efforts that were made by the citizens of Juneau. Our Men’s and Women’s Igloos are working with the Maritime Museum of British Columbia to purchase a travelling exhibit that will use photographs and digital media to tell the story of the ship, biographies of its victims and its artifacts (See More Details).  The exhibit will be donated to the Alaska State Museum’s travelling exhibit program and will be available to museums throughout the state.  You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Pioneers of Alaska Grand Igloo Foundation.  A donation form is available  at pub/Donor_Form.pdf

The Pioneers of Alaska was originally formed in Nome in February of 1907.  Juneau Men’s Igloo 6 was chartered on April 4, 1913 and Women’s Igloo 6 was originally chartered as Women's Auxiliary 6 on March 31, 1922.  They were one of many organizations formed in the early territorial days for social purposes and to keep alive the memory of the early trailblazers.  The members banded together to overcome natural disasters such as floods, fires, illness and lack of supplies often providing food, housing and medical assistance to those in need.  The Pioneers helped bury the dead and notify friends and relatives in distant homelands.  The early membership application forms included a physical description (color of hair, eyes, height and weight) which helped identify those who died on the trail or alone in a remote cabin.

Initially, membership was limited to men who had established residency in Alaska prior to January 1, 1900.  In 1912, Women’s Auxiliaries were created with the same requirements.  The present day requirement for membership is that you must have lived in Alaska cumulatively for 20 years, or longer.  The application no longer requires the physical characteristics.

The Emblem
By Florence Tobin
Pioneers of Alaska - JuneauThe official emblem of the Pioneers of Alaska is a circular gold button.  The most prominent feature of this emblem is a pair of snowshoes, crossed on the face of the button.  They represent one of the means of travel in the North so familiar to the Pioneers. One can easily distinguish the button of the Pioneers from that of any other organization, and no other country could have a similar emblem for each mark distinctly typifies Alaska.  Behind the snowshoes is the North Star, which appears to shine more brightly in Alaska than anywhere else.  Under the star is a low mountain range at the base of which is the sea.  The mountain range depicts Alaska as it appears geographically – with its mountains both inland and on the coast.  The Aurora Borealis, so frequently seen in Alaska, is also pictured behind the snowshoes.

This is our little emblem.  We have Alaska represented in several different ways; the snowshoes, representing the Pioneers themselves, the North Star and the Aurora Borealis, the beauty from the heavens, and the mountains and the sea, the beauty of the land.

It is, on the whole, a beautiful button, carefully colored and beautifully composed.  We should be proud of the emblem of the Pioneers of Alaska, not only because we are permitted to wear it but for what it stands.

Pioneers of Alaska, The Trail Blazers of Bygone Days,
William Henry Chase, 1951

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  P.O. Box 21005     Juneau, Alaska    99802-1005            Email Us Today!
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