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Quonset huts were widely used in postwar Anchorage, particularly in the midst of a severe housing shortage during and immediately after World War II. Declared surplus by the military, several Quonset huts were relocated to residential areas of the city. This Quonset hut was erected at what is today 2502 McRae Road in Anchorage’s Spenard neighborhood. This area was once the property of Hans and Jerry Kirchner, who had a farm and homestead just off of Spenard Road, in what was then beyond the Anchorage city limits. The couple later developed subdivisions in Spenard.
The structure dates to 1948 or 1949 and, like nearly all Quonset huts, is a rounded building with a corrugated steel exterior. It has been modified several times over the decades but retains a coat of brown paint with three shed-roofed windows on a side. The interior ceiling has since been dropped in the center, so that it is flat rather than rounded, but the sense of space remains.
In 1951, the renovated Quonset hut opened as the Garden of Eatin and quickly gained a reputation as a premier Italian restaurant in the Anchorage area. At the time, dining options remained few, and the Garden of Eatin was one of the more upscale locations in town. It has passed hands several times over the years, but has remained an Italian restaurant throughout; it is currently known as Fiori d’Italia. In 1978, the owners added a large lounge and building to the original Quonset hut. While the dining room of the restaurant is no longer in the hut, the structure remains affixed to the more recent renovations. During the Anchorage Earthquake on November 30, 2018, the bar sustained some damage, and the establishment lost thousands of dollars worth of liquor. The bar has long been known for its selection of rare cocktails and labels, unavailable elsewhere around the city. The location remains a fixture in the Anchorage restaurant scene and is still known for its expansive bar and Italian menu selections.
Gordon, Mike. "Remembering Fuby Rokeberg." Alaska Public Media, February 12, 2014.
Gross, Scott. "Rare Liquor Treasures Washed Away by Massive Quake." KTVA, December 2, 2018. https://www.ktva.com/.
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