The day I was born, my mother tells me there was cheering all up and down the Park Strip--not for me, personally, but this used to be a place where there was enough room downtown for an outdoor gathering, weddings, a place to rally, and celebrate. On June 30 1958, Congress had just voted to make the Alaska Territory the 49th State of USA. As a toddler, a day at the Park Strip was a special outing, with play equipment and a real locomotive engine car for children to climb, play, and imagine. Many a family picnic was held here in the summer, pick-up baseball games (don't think that the Glacier Pilots played here, though!), and during the week local office-workers headed here on their lunch hour.
There were magnificent rose gardens on the Strip, and breezes from the coast wafted the smell of roses and the sea. Because of the greenery of Anchorage, whether the dark blue-green and brownish green of black spruce in winter to bright almost neon green of Alaskan daisy and nasturtium leaves, against the greening mist of birch and willow, and shiny berrybush leaves at winter season change, Alaskans cannot get enough of the short flower blooming times. Flowers are planted all over town, transplanted to city sidewalk planters from greenhouses and do exceptionally well in the coastal climate. Reds, purples, pinks in the jungle greenery of summer gone amok.
There might not be much in the Park Strip in the way of fancy accoutrements, a drinking fountain here and there with the best-tasting water in the whole world, and benches to observe life's passages of small children, guests from the Pioneer's Home, hanging out waiting for the daily trip on the People Mover north on the Glenn Highway, exercise areas for tai-chi, bike paths, and benches for sitting to read a book or contemplate. It's a park downtown, extension of the indoor buildings surrounding it.
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