Chillingly Sober

Spring is here and with it comes the dreaded “Spring Fever,” when people tend to go a little overboard while celebrating. We tend to think the wild days were way in the past, but today’s history nugget shows the party was still going on in Nenana during the mid-1950s.

Fairbanks Daily News Miner March 26, 1956


Spring fever apparently got the best of several Nenana residents Saturday-including the chief of police.

Chief Quentin C. Qualle is now resting in the U. S. jail in Fairbanks, serving out a 15-day sentence on a charge of disorderly conduct, territorial police reported.

Things had quieted down by Sunday in Nenana after the arrival of Territorial Policeman B. W. Finley and U. S. Deputy Marshal Elwyn Robinson.

The law enforcement officer made a rush trip Saturday to the Tanana river town after receiving a report that the chief of police was drunk and was brandishing his gun with a threat to shoot all the dogs in town. It so happened that dog races were scheduled for that day.

Policeman Finley and Marshal Robinson found the crestfallen chief in his home Saturday evening, where the official was recovering for a day’s over-exuberance. He was arrested after U. S. Commissioner Elizabeth Brundage filed a disorderly conduct charge. Chief Qualle pleaded guilty to the charge.

“Lack of a proper confining place” in Nenana prevented more arrests on disorderly conduct charges, Finley and Robinson reported. Their problem was that the U. S. jail in Nenana had not been heated for some time, and that even with a fire in the stove, prisoners would have to keep their cots close to the stove to keep warm.

Note: They say you have not truly had a good time unless you have been greeted by the judge the next morning! This sobering 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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