Early History

Excerpts from the Yukon Presbytery:

National missions committee of Presbytery of Yukon passed a resolution during spring 1957 meeting asking that the Board of National Missions appropriate money to buy or build a Hospitality Center in Alaska. Doors were opened that same year at 1406 Airport Way, Fairbanks, with three girls as residents.

Hospitality House came into being because of the need for a place for rural girls to live while looking for work in Fairbanks, going to and from school, or, while in town for medical care.

early history Hospitality House was operated by the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and was additionally supported by gifts from other churches and individuals. No girl was refused admittance because of race, creed or Alaska residency.

Hospitality House attempted to assist girls in making the cultural transition from rural to urban living through:

  • providing a homelike atmosphere with social contacts and participation in community and religious activities,
  • by encouraging regular worship,
  • by developing homemaking skills,
  • by providing counseling and referral service to families in the community who have problems they cannot handle alone,
  • and by cooperating with other agencies in the strengthening of individual character and better family relation-ships.

early history In 1969, Hospitality House foundress Mable Rasmussen wrote that within three months of opening its doors, Hospitality House proved that a home was definitely needed for girls who were coming in from the Arctic and from villages along the Yukon River.

"In addition to the need for a place to live, these girls needed training," Mable wrote. "They came from homes where there were no modern appliances, no electricity, no gas. Most were used to melting snow or ice

early history for water and gathering willows for fuel. They lived mostly from the land.

"Much has been said about the life of people of the arctic as well as those in southeastern Alaska, in fact, much has been written, so I need not add to that.

"When we began Hospitality House we found it very difficult to get local people interested in the project. There were many who did feel there was a very real need for a place for these girls to stay, as well as for young people who came from the villages on their way to boarding school.

early history They wandered around town and it was not long before some of them became involved in trouble of one kind or another," Mable added.

"Over the years we have met with many changes. Whole families of Native people began coming to town. The age of the children in need of assistance began dropping -- from 18 to 16 to 14," she explained.

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