Alaska Old Map
Alaska, USA

Vitus Bering, a Dane working for the Russians, and Alexei Chirikov discovered the Alaskan mainland and the Aleutian Islands in 1741. The tremendous land mass of Alaska—equal to one-fifth of the continental U.S.—was unexplored in 1867 when Secretary of State William Seward arranged for its purchase from the Russians for $7,200,000. The transfer of the territory took place on Oct. 18, 1867. Despite a price of about two cents an acre, the purchase was widely ridiculed as “Seward's Folly.”
  • But the History of Alaska dates back to the Upper Paleolithic Period (around 12,000 BC), when Asiatic groups crossed the Bering Land Bridge into what is now western Alaska. At the time of European contact by the Russian explorers, the area was populated by Alaska Native groups. The name "Alaska" derives from the Aleut word alaxsxaq, (an Archaic spelling being alyeska), meaning "mainland" (literally, "the object toward which the action of the sea is directed").
  • In the 1890s, gold rushes in Alaska and the nearby Yukon Territory brought thousands of miners and settlers to Alaska. Alaska was granted territorial status in 1912.
  • In 1942, three of the outer Aleutian Islands— Attu and Kiska —were occupied by the Japanese and their recovery for the U. S. became a matter of national pride. The construction of military bases contributed to the population growth of some Alaskan cities.
    Alaska was granted statehood on January 3, 1959.
  • In 1964, the massive "Good Friday Earthquake" killed 131 people and leveled several villages.
  • The 1968 discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay and the 1977 completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline led to an oil boom. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Prince William Sound, spilling between 11 and 35 million US gallons (42,000 and 130,000 m³) of crude oil over 1,100 miles (1,600 km) of coastline. Today, the battle between philosophies of development and conservation is seen in the contentious debate over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Map Juneau

    Juneau, Alaska, USA
  • Long before European settlement in the Americas, the Gastineau Channel was a favorite fishing ground for local Tlingit Indians, known then as the Auke and Taku tribes, who had inhabited the surrounding area for thousands of years. The native cultures are rich with artistic traditions including carving, weaving, orating, singing and dancing, and Juneau has become a major social center for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of Southeast Alaska.
  • In 1880, Sitka mining engineer George Pilz offered a reward to any local chief who could lead him to gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee arrived with some ore and several prospectors were sent to investigate. On their first trip, to Gold Creek, they found deposits of little interest. However, at Chief Kowee's urging Pilz sent Joe Juneau and Richard Harris back to the Gastineau Channel, directing them to Snow Slide Gulch (the head of Gold Creek) where they found nuggets "as large as peas and beans," in Harris' words. On October 18, 1880, the two men marked a 160-acre (0.65 km2) town site where soon a mining camp appeared. Within a year, the camp became a small town, the first to be founded after Alaska's purchase by the United States.
  • The town was originally called Harrisburg, after Richard Harris; some time later, its name was changed to Rockwell. In 1881, the miners met and renamed the town Juneau, after Joe Juneau.
  • In 1906, after the diminution of the whaling and fur trade, Sitka, the original capital of Alaska, declined in importance and the seat of government was moved to Juneau. When loose gold in the stream beds ran out, hard-rock mining began. Four Treadwell mines were in heavy production in 1917 when a broken water flume caused a mudslide, flooding three of them. In 1921 the Alaska-Gastineau Mill folded from high production costs, and WWII closed the Alaska-Juneau Mill.
  • Juneau was the largest city in Alaska during the inter-war years, passing Fairbanks in the 1920 census and displaced by Anchorage in 1950.
    HELFINSTINE Family - The Name and the Coat of arms (informations from
    Helfinstine Coat of Arms Helfinstine Coat of Arms
  • The Helfinstine name is a slight skewing to the original German spelling Helfenstein. Left is the coat of arms of the Helfensteins recreated from a photograph (in the 80’s) of a fountain in the town of Wiesensteig in southern Germany.
  • The logo from the coat of arms, Vivere Sat Vincere, is old latin for "to Live is to Conquer". The name Helfenstein means "helping stone".
  • The close connection between the Helfensteins and the Hohenstaufen Emperors during the 12th and 13th Centuries allowed the family to grow and expand. During the peak of their power the Helfenstein family ruled Heidenheim, Blaubeuren, Wiesensteig and Sigmaringen. However as the Hohenstaufen family lost power so did the Helfensteins.

    HELFINSTINE Castle (Geislingen an der Steige, Baden-Württemberg, Germany).
    Helfinstine Castle
  • The castle was constructed, by Eberhard von Helfenstein, at the turn of the 12th century and was frequently enlarged during the period from 1100 through 1380. The site of the castle, over the main Imperial road through the Fils valley, allowed the Helfensteins to observe and control trade in the region.
  • By 1382 the castle was used as collateral for a loan from the city of Ulm. Then in 1396 the castle was totally under the control of the free and imperial city of Ulm.
  • As gunpowder weapons became more common, the castle was expanded and rebuilt as a fortress. On the top of the hill, in the direction of Weiler, a bulwark was built to protect the castle. The old keep was rebuilt with extensive walls. Additionally, the terraces below the castle were expanded and fortified. The castle was used for the Ulm representative or Vogt and the western section of the castle was rebuilt as proper home for a patrician Vogt.

    Helfinstine Castle
  • In 1552, during the Second Margrave War the castle fell unopposed into the hand of the Margrave of Ansbach. In August of the same year troops from Ulm retook the castle after several days of shelling with heavy stone cannon balls. Having lost its significance and value as a fortification, the city of Ulm started to disassemble the castle starting in 1552, sending all usable materials to Ulm. The ruins were left and the site became overgrown over the following centuries.
  • Starting in 1932, the site of Helfenstein Castle was excavated with the help of Army engineer troops. A south tower was rebuilt, stairs and wooden bridges were erected to allow easy access from several directions. The ruined complex is a favorite destination for weekend walks and excursions.

  • After 4 months and 8 days of travel, 3 Helfenstein brothers came to America from Morzback, Palatinate, Germany. They landed in New York, January 14, 1772.
    - Peter Phillip Helfenstein, born in 1745, he settled in Virginia.
    - John Conrad A. Helfenstein, born in 1748, he settled in Pennsylvania or Maryland.
    - William G. Helfenstein, born in 1750, he went West, and searching for his descendants has been futile.

    ... Many years later...

  • James Helfinstine moved to Alaska in 1976 after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and met his bride-to-be. Laurie Haffner on her birthday. They have two daughters, Brynn and LaTina, both of Juneau, and their first granddaughter, Calista Star Sellers.
  • James and Laurie Helfinstine, of Juneau, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on July 21, 2009. In 1979, they were married in the original Chapel by the Lake overlooking Auke Bay. They spent their honeymoon in Sitka.

  • Juneau, Alaska, USA
    1959, Auke-Bay, Juneau, Alaska, USA
  • Brynn, James, Latina, Laurie
    Juneau, Alaska, USA
  • Latina, James, Laurie
    Aug. 2008-Juneau, Alaska, USA
  • Brynn Helfinstine & Azri Sellers
    2008, Juneau, Alaska, USA

  • More pictures... click here!
    Juneau 1900-1930
    Juneau, Alaska - 1909 Juneau, Alaska - 1930 Juneau, Alaska - Old Juneau

    Aerial,Gastineau Channel,Juneau,Alaska,1900-10s Coastal Waters of Juneau, Alaska, 1898 Face of Taku Glacier From The Water, Juneau, Alaska, 1910-30s

    Old Witch Totem and Nugget shop, Juneau, Alaska, 1930-40s Fur & Indian Basket store,Juneau,Alaska, 1930-40s

    Street (dirt) on Ocean Front, Juneau City, Alaska, 1890s OldChurch, Juneau Ice-Covered S.S. NORTHWESTERN, Juneau,Alaska,1916

    Ice Covered Steamer Ship Northwestern,Alaska,1900-10s Oceanliner SS NORTHWESTERN, after storm, Alaska, 1916 Steamer Northwestern Covered In Ice,Juneau,Alaska,1900-10s
    Juneau 1930-1950
    Aerial View Of Juneau, Alaska, 1930-50s Clipper Flies High Over Juneau, Alaska, 1950 Evening, Juneau, Alaska, 1930-40s

    Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska. ca. 1950. Schallerers, Mountain View, Juneau, AK, 1938 Taku Glacier, Juneau, Alaska 1939

    Waterfront, Juneau Alaska, 1940s Waterfront, Juneau, Alaska-1953 Old Russian Church

    Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska. ca. 1950. Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska. ca. 1950. A fish trap operation in Southeast Alaska. ca. 1950
    Juneau 1970s
    Juneau, Alaska, Airport, 1970s Eskimo Children, Mt. Juneau, Alaska-1979 Old Russian Church 1940-60s