Vern and his friend were dying for something
to drink and eat by the time they got here.
The Sourdough Lodge, constructed between 1903 and 1905, was one of the oldest continuously-operating roadhouses in Alaska. Built along the route of the Valdez Trail, now the Richardson Highway, the Sourdough Lodge figured prominently in the history of the construction of transportation corridors in interior Alaska. Alaskan roadhouses, spaced about 15 to 20 miles apart on roads and trails throughout the territory, provided food and shelter for the thousands who came to the North beginning in the late 1880s.
The Sourdough Lodge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on October 1, 1974 and was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 2, 1978. On December 27, 1992, a fire completely destroyed the Sourdough Lodge; the Landmark designation was withdrawn on June 3, 1994.
Shortly after the Klondike gold discoveries of 1897-98,
Congress enacted legislation which provided for the construction of
roads in Alaska. By 1899, a survey crew under Lt. William P.
Abercrombie cleared a trail (the Trans-Alaska Military Road) from
Valdez to Eagle City. Following the gold rushes to the Tanana Valley, a
crude trail was surveyed from a point on the Trans-Alaska Military Road
near Valdez to Fairbanks. It was known as the Valdez Trail. Several
telegraph stations and many roadhouses, including Hart's Road House
(later called Sourdough Lodge) were located along this trail. By 1907
the Sourdough was one of several roadhouses built along the trail to
serve thousands of prospectors and adventurers who traveled on the
370-mile long trail in summer and winter. The four-room building was
constructed primarily of logs.