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The Bird House

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c. 1903. Mile 100.5, Seward Hwy., Girdwood

Perhaps of more immediate interest to bar-hoppers than to architectural historians, the quaintness and dubious charm of the Bird House derive from its architecture and bawdy interior decor. The one-story, gable-roofed building was apparently built in three sections. The oldest is constructed of round logs square notched at the corners. Built on boggy ground, it has sunk so far into the ground that the sill of the window is now below ground. An addition was constructed of round logs, saddle notched at the corners, and another addition of vertical half logs. The sloping floors and slanting walls of the semisubterranean building contribute to its rustic quality.

A Bird Creek prospector probably constructed this building as a base for his trap line operation in about 1903. During construction of the Alaska Railroad near here, other buildings were erected at the site. In the 1920s, after the railroad was completed, Gus Bystedt homesteaded the site and eventually joined the original building with one from the railroad era. In 1963 a new owner, Cliff Brandt, opened the Bird House and began the eccentric collection of calling cards and memorabilia that is freely stapled to the walls. Thirsty architectural historians will easily justify a trip to the site.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "The Bird House", [Anchorage, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 108-108.

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