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Clover Pass School Named To Alaska's Ten Most
Endangered Historic Properties List


June 04, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Clover Pass Community School has been named to the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation's 2004 Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties List.

The nearly 50 year-old one-room school house located on Potter Road 14 miles north of Ketchikan is in danger because the land it sits on is slated for future development and the building could be torn down.

photo Clover Pass School Ketchikan, Alaska

Clover Pass Community School
photo by Dick Kauffman

The school building was built by Clover Pass community members in 1947, said Dave Kiffer, executive director of Historic Ketchikan which recently received title to the building from the former Pond Reef Volunteer Fire Department. In those days it was easier to build a school than to transport the children into Ketchikan and back every day. The school is the physical embodiment of Ketchikan's can do attitude. The homesteaders in the area knew they had to go the extra mile to ensure their children's education.

Although Historic Ketchikan now has title to the building, the land remains under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management. Kiffer said that other agencies have expressed interest in the property, but not for preserving the school building.

Historic Ketchikan got involved more than a year and a half ago when a representative of the University of Alaska land office called us and said they were going to get title to the land and would we be interested in moving the building elsewhere? Kiffer said, "We're not interested in seeing the building moved, because that would destroy the historic integrity of the site. We believe that the building can be rehabilitated and that a new use for it can be found."

Historic Ketchikan Board President Terry Wanzer said that the group is still planning a future use of the property after the building is rehabilitated.

The land around it could be used as a pocket park for the area, Wanzer said. Above all we want the property to be put to a good use for the entire community. It should be for the local residents of Clover Pass to use.

Kiffer said that after the school building was vacated in the early 1960s, it was used as a polling station, a community center and a library. He said that it can continue to be used for a variety of uses.

The Knudsen Cove area is popular with developers right now Kiffer said. Several nearby properties have changed hands in the last couple of years. That makes it even more crucial to save this property for the use of the community as a whole.

photo Clover Pass School

Clover Pass Community School
photo by Dick Kauffman

Kiffer said that BLM officials in Anchorage are supportive of Historic Ketchikan's efforts to rehabilitate the property and that Historic Ketchikan is negotiating a long term recreational lease that would will unite the land with the building.

In the meantime, making the state endangered properties list makes is possible to get some rehabilitation grant money and also supports Historic Ketchikan's efforts to get the school listed on the National Register of Historic Properties. Kiffer said that this summer Historic Ketchikan plans to put together a volunteer work party that will fix the building's leaking roof and address other minor repairs that the structure needs.

Historic Ketchikan boardmember Len Laurance said there is significant community support to fix up the property.

There are many residents who attended that school, Laurance said. We hope to use their skills to rehabilitate the school.

The Alaska Association for Historic Preservation (AAHP) was founded in 1981 as a private, nonprofit corporation. AAHP is dedicated to the preservation of Alaska s prehistoric and historic heritage as manifested in its buildings and sites. AAHP publishes a quarterly newsletter, holds workshops, assists historic preservation projects across Alaska, monitors and supports legislation to promote historic preservation, and serves as liaison between local, statewide, and national historic preservation groups. Each May during National Historic Preservation Week, AAHP lists Alaska's Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties. AAHP also administers a matching grant program in connection with the Ten Most Endangered list. 2004 marks the fourteenth year of AAHP's Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties and the tenth year of the grant program.




Historic Ketchikan
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