Activities – Decade 3: 1929-38

The Sanctuary at St. George’s Church, Cordova, Alaska 

Excerpts from the Alaskan Churchman, January 1931
St. George’s Church, Cordova
The annual Hallowwen Bazaar, organized by the Women’s Guild of St. George’s Church, took place on November 1st. It was an eminently successful affair; the net proceeds being approximately $350. The useful work that the Guild is doing can be seen from the fact that the net Guild earnings for 1930 amounted to $540. This money goes to meet our local obligations and to help in meeting the running expenses of St. George’s….

The priest in charge of St. George’s was chairman of the local Red Cross (Rev. Kippenbrock)… the distinction being the first Red Cross Chapter to complete its quota.

The Church School Christmas tree and program was held in the Red Dragon on Christmas Eve. Carols and recitations were followed by a visit from Santa Claus. He distributed candy and gifts to more than sixty children, many of whom would have had little else to contribute to their joy at this season.

A comfortably filled church contributed to the celebration of Christmas at the midnight celebration of the Holy Communion. There were a larger number of individual communions made than at any time in the past three years. It was a typical Christmas Eve, with the snow falling continuously and in large flakes during the entire day and evening. The brightly decorated church shone forth as a haven of joy and peace.

Miscellaneous notes about this decade
1929—Rev. Kippenbrock notes in the Alaskan Churchman that the outstanding feature of St. George’s services has been the children’s choir.
1932—Crucifix was hung in the church. Donated by Mrs. Frederick Barber, who formerly lived at the Naval Station at Mile 7, the crucifix came from a Barber family chapel in York, England.
1932 was also the last year that the Copper River & Northwestern Railway ran during the winter.
1933-1934 –Price of copper fell and the Kennecott copper mines closed for two years.
1934-1940—Civilian Conservation Corps working on various projects around Cordova.
1935, 1936 and 1937—Dredging of the Cordova Boat Harbor, perhaps the first ever dredging.
1938 (November)—CR&NW and the Kennecott Mines closed. Some feared this might mean a return to Cordova being primarily a summer fish town.

Excerpts from The Red Dragon and St. George’s: Glimpses Into Cordova’s Past, by Nicki Nielsen
End of the Railroad Era, Chapter 6
In his 1935 annual report, Bishop Rowe reported that the Cordova, Valdez and Seward missions were all without ministers. A poignant note is sounded in his statement about being summoned to Cordova by telegram to conduct the funeral of a young girl communicant who had died in a plane crash, not that “There was not a minister in Cordova representing a Protestant church” at the time. He added. “Today the mines are shut down. The railroad does not operate in the winter. The town has dwindled. We had to withdraw our priest. The few communicants who remain are visited annually by the Bishop.”

Priests in charge during this decade
1929-1931—Rev. Michael Joseph Kippenbrock
1931-1934—Rev. Mervin L. Wanner
Well-known for initiating White Elephant sales as a successful fundraising tool, and also collecting a number of railroad items later donated to the Cordova Museum
Held his last service in August 1934
Church was closed from 1934-1939