UA Journey

1917-1923 Anton Johann Nordale

Alaska State Library, Sophie Rotermund Photograph Collection, P463-100

Fairbanks

Anton (Tony) Johann Nordale was born in Goteborg, Sweden in 1869. At the age of 17 he emigrated to the U.S., settling in Omaha, Nebraska.  After staying one year he moved to San Francisco where he opened a restaurant in 1887. He then moved to Seattle and again went into the restaurant business in 1890.

When Anton was 24 he married Anne Mathilda Anderson  and by 1897 the were proprietors of  a restaurant and hotel in Dawson City. In the spring of 1904 they moved to Cleary City and established a hotel. They finally landed in Fairbanks in 1908 where they once again opened a hotel.

The Nordales had six children: Hjalmar, Arnold, Alton, Anita, Adler and Alice. Tony and his sons Hjalmar and Arnold all served as mayors of Fairbanks. The trio also served in the Alaska territorial Legislature - Tony (1919-21), Hjalmar (1941-45), and Alton (1933-35). Alton's son, James, also served as Fairbanks mayor.

Tony Nordale built two Nordale hotels in Fairbanks, one soon after moving there; it burned shortly after President Harding and his entourage stayed there in 1923. Nordale immediately bought two warehouses and turned them into another hotel, which became a social landmark in Fairbanks, lasting until 1972 when it burned, in the dead of winter on Feb. 22.

Anton was appointed to the board of trustees to the Agricultural College and School of Mines in 1917. He served as trustee until 1923. Edward M Keys was appointed to finish his term on the board.

On September 9, 1930 he died in Seattle at the Swedish hospital.

Nordale Hotel Lobby Fairbanks. Alaska State Library, Historical Collections, Skinner Foundation
Nordale Hotel. University of Alaska Fairbanks Archives, Albert Johnson Photograph Collection

Links:

History of Fairbanks, Alaska: The Founding of Fairbanks

Nordale School (named after Anton's son, (Alfeld) Hjalmer Nordale)

Sources:

BOR file

Ferrell, Biographies of Alaska-Yukon Pioneers 1850-1950, vol. 2 (1994)

Alaska Scrapbook, Anchorage Daily News - Published: August 21, 2005

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