Purple Legged Women

During the 1970s, the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline was under construction, making Fairbanks a boomtown along with all the seedier trappings of the early gold rush days. In 1975, one very progressive-minded Fairbanksan made the following observation and suggestion.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner January 27, 1975

Alaska Women

Dear Editor:
We have long celebrated a large variety of Alaska characters in song, story, and poem: goldrushers, sourdoughs, seafarers, trapper, hunters, steamboat captains, and archeologists, to name a few. And recently, in one of Fairbanks’ weekly newspapers, someone even rushed forward to eulogize the newly arrived pipeliner.

On Alaska type, however, we have sadly neglected. I speak of the courageous women who dare to step out on the streets of Fairbanks in 20-below or colder weather, clad only in a parka, miniskirt and nylon stockings.

When I first witnessed such a heartwarming spectacle, I was dumbfounded. But thinking further on it, I was overcome with awe for the selfless creature and others like her. Just imagine, these women are so strongly motivated to do good that they will risk severe discomfort, frostbite, and purple legs in order to brighten the day of winter-jaded Fairbanksan males.

Such heroism should not go unnoticed or unrewarded. Toward this end, I propose that we erect a stature to the selfless women of the short skirts who risk their all to cheer Fairbanks men in winter. We should place the stature somewhere near the end-of-the-Alaska-Highway marker. It would be a pretty Alaska woman in parka and miniskirt, standing on a pair of long, shapely purple legs, looking over toward the town side of the Cushman St. Bridge. It’s the least we can do.

Ronald Crowe

Note: Is it possible the new sculpture in front of the Big I Bar is an abstract of Ron Crowe’s suggested monument to remember the legs of those brave pipeline era women? We have all seen those cold and shapely spires turn purple during the dark winter months! There are also some folks around that feel that it is a great sculpture representing the crystalline structure of stibnite as well! This cool 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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