After visiting Iditarod Headquarters, I moved over to the Dorothy G. Page Museum at 323 Main Street. Page was the mother of the Iditarod, so this was an appropriate seque. Admission is $3 and the museum encompasses the basement and first floor. The staircase leading to the basement is painted to look like a mine railroad shaft. The museum features artifacts from the Iditarod, the Alaska Railroad, and Independence Mine, including a scale model of the mine. It has full-size mock-ups of an assay office where miners brought their gold ore and a complete reproduction of the office of Dr. Lee McKinley, who pioneered bush dentistry. Also in the curation are a scale model of early Wasilla and artifacts from Eskimo tribes.
The City of Wasilla provides a complete biography of Dorothy Page. Briefly, Page revived the sport of mushing. A forebear to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Page – a Republican – served on the Wasilla City Council and was Mayor – two offices, Gov. Palin also held (See: Wasilla Mayor and Wasilla City Council). A founder of the Iditarod Race, Page later helped form the Iditarod Trail Committee and the Musher’s Hall of Fame. “From 1973 to 1989, she wrote, edited, and published the Iditarod’s annual race program, and edited the race’s news magazine, the Iditarod Runner,” the City of Wasilla said in their biography. Page was also a member of Alaska Press Women – Gov. Palin began her career as a sportscaster in an era when it was considered strictly a man’s job. Page was also a volunteer, serving on the Wasilla Library Board and as curator of the Wasilla and Knik Museums. The Wasilla Museum was renamed “Dorothy G. Page,” in her honor following her death.
The Dorothy G. Page Museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 AM to 5 PM, and admission is free on Fridays. It is well worth the nominal $3 admission Tuesday through Thursday.
From here, I wanted to go canoeing or kayaking. I considered Lake Eklutna, but it was a little far and it was already early afternoon. The same outfit – Lifetime Adventures – services Finger Lake. Four lakes – Finger Lake, Mud Lake, Cottonwood Lake and Wasilla Lake – run on a northeast-southwest track between Palmer and Wasilla, so I decided to head out to Finger Lake.