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Black Angus Inn

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North Star Motel; Inlet Inn
1953. 1430 Gambell St.
  • (Photograph by Ian Hartman)
  • (Photograph by Ian Hartman)

The Black Angus Inn, located in the Fairview neighborhood at the intersection of East 15th Avenue and Gambell Street, is a hotel with an on-site steakhouse. In 1947, Clifton Nichols and David Prator bought six lots of land at this intersection for $5,000 ($57,000 in 2019). Said Nichols, “people laughed at us. This was just a wilderness then, no houses, stores, or even roads.” Yet the location was fortuitously chosen, as Gambell Street would later emerge as a central north-south throughway. In 1953, the duo opened the 27-unit North Star Motel. Construction of the concrete block and wood frame structure cost $150,000 ($1.4 million in 2019). The two-story, L-shaped structure leaves space for surface parking near the office, on the east facade, and offers undercroft parking on the south side of the room wing to the rear. Wood paneling, including double-height posts and flat pickets, form the motel’s decorative features on the Gambell Street facade.

Located in the wing to the north of the motel entrance is the current steakhouse, which was originally Don’s Café. Serving Chinese and American cuisine, the restaurant was operated by Don Chinn from 1955 to 1958. Chinn long claimed he was the first Chinese cook in Anchorage and that his cafe was the first restaurant in town with a complete menu of Chinese and American food.

After a change in ownership, the motel was renamed the Inlet Inn in 1976. In 1981, new owners renamed the hotel the Black Angus Inn, although it is not associated with the Black Angus Meat Market, once an Anchorage fixture. Once one of the better short-term housing options in East Anchorage, the Black Angus Inn has gained a reputation as a nexus of crime in the community. In recent years, the inn has been the site of public drug use, stabbings, kidnappings, sexual assaults, and shootings. From 2014 to 2016, the Municipality of Anchorage paid almost $17,000 for the inn to house tuberculosis patients. In 2017, the Anchorage Fire Department estimated that the Black Angus accounted for 28 percent of calls to downtown hotels over the previous three years. “If this is what people can find that they can afford,” said Anchorage Assemblyman Christopher Constant in 2017, “then we are failing as a city and a state because this is immoral.” As of 2020 motel remains a notorious spot with a checkered history. 


“$150,000 Motel Offers 27 Modern ‘Tourist Homes.’” Anchorage Daily Times, May 8, 1953, 16. 

Hopkins, Kyle. “Bugs Inside, Drugs Outside: Is This Subsidized Hotel Really Catering to Tourists?” KTUU, November 10, 2017.

Minemyer, Derek. “Fairview Community Rallies Against Renewal of Black Angus Inn’s Liquor License.” KTUU, September 13, 2018.

“North Star Motel grand opening advertisement.” Anchorage Daily Times, May 28, 1953, 6.

Writing Credits

David Reamer
Ian Hartman



  • 1953


What's Nearby


David Reamer, "Black Angus Inn", [Anchorage, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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