Cabbage Patch War

At harvest time in 1910, a dispute erupted on Third Ave. over a cabbage patch. While we may find that humorous today, in those days harvesting your cabbage and having a good place to grow them was very important. At that time, fresh produce was almost nonexistent in the stores which made a good Fairbanks garden worth its weight in gold to those lucky enough to enjoy the fresh goods it produced—and progress would just have to wait:

Fairbanks Daily Times September 10, 1910


R. T. Englebrecht Ordered by Mrs. Doty Not to Disturb Her Cabbage Patch


City Council Holds Up Contract But Promise to See That Ample Protection Is Offered Contractor

An angry woman who gave him a severe tongue lashing for daring to even think of touching her cabbage patch, frightened R. T. Englebrecht, so that he did not have the courage to build the third avenue sidewalk according to the lines.

As a consequence, he constructed the sidewalk around the patch. The city council did not see fit to accept Mr. Englebrecht’s work and held up the payment of the money due him. Mr. Englebrecht appeared before the aldermen last night and when told that the sidewalk swung out into he street at one place he explained the reason.

Mrs. Doty, at whose property the swerve occurred, had objected very seriously to his spoiling her cabbage patch. He didn’t care to have a row with her, so wanted the councilmen to go along to pacify the woman. The city fathers faithfully promised to see that Mr. Englebrecht is given ample protection when he again attempts to raid the sacred ground.

Mayor Nordale stated that he thought the sidewalk should not be accepted for the reason that some of the boards were uneven. Mr. Sabin then arose and laughingly said to Mr. Englebrecht “we’ll chew it out now and be done with it.” The alderman remarked that they had the whole town against them on account of that sidewalk. He did not feel that he could accept the walk in the condition it is in. “Why some of the planks,” he said, “are an inch higher than the rest. I wouldn’t like to be very drunk and walk over it.”

Mr. Englebrecht promised to make the sidewalk level, but he repeated that he would not touch the cabbage patch unaided. It seems that he got as far as removing some lettuce plants highly prized by the woman. That is as far as he got when the storm of protest broke.

The council was inclined to refer the matter back to the committee on the streets, but Mr. Engelbrecht said he was going away for several weeks and would like to pay the mill for the lumber.

It was finally decided to draw a warrant in favor of Mr. Englebrecht to be signed by the mayor just as soon as the contractor had put the sidewalk in the condition it should be in. The new walk is on Third avenue and was ordered built not long ago, it will cost the city $272.00.

Note: Obviously Mrs. Doty was a formidable woman in defending her garden, but of course the city went on to have straight boardwalks which later became cement sidewalks and today, fewer cabbages are grown within the city limits. Mrs. Doty was also a member of the Pioneers of Alaska. This “hands off ” history nugget has been proudly brought to you by Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

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