Completing the Dream

Family, Friends Work on Alaska Log Cabin

Family and friends who travelled to Alaska to work on the cabin this summer included Tommy Sanders (Adolf’s nephew), T. Cox (Adolf’s granddaughter’s father-in-law and Davis Weitzel (Adolf’s grandson).

Family and friends who travelled to Alaska to work on the cabin this summer included Tommy Sanders (Adolf’s nephew), T. Cox (Adolf’s granddaughter’s father-in-law and Davis Weitzel (Adolf’s grandson).

NEAR ANCHOR POINT, ALASKA (Aug. 13, 2016) – The Weitzel family of Blythewood and Ridgeway is working together and with friends to finish building the Alaskan log cabin that was a labor of love for Adolf Weitzel, the family patriarch who died suddenly in May of 2015.

The cabin was a late-in-life project for Adolf and, according to his son Steve, he’d hoped that it would become a special outpost for family gatherings and wonderful memories. Now, thanks to the generosity, fortitude and mad skills of Adolph’s friends and family, his hope is becoming a reality.

At 72, Adolf, a home builder by trade, realized the dream of a lifetime when he set out to build a log cabin, by hand, in the coastal wilds of Alaska. After spontaneously purchasing the property in 2011 while on a cross-country RV trip with his wife Annerose, Adolf spent his final summers in cheerful pursuit of his dream – felling trees, curing the logs, hoisting them into walls . . . and fishing, whenever he wasn’t building. It brought him great joy to settle in for the summer – sometimes in the company of family and friends – on his patch of wilderness on the Kenai Peninsula, surrounded by glaciers, ocean and mountains.

In 2015, on his first day back in the Last Frontier, Adolf phoned Annerose and reported that everything looked wonderful – the tarp-covered cabin had survived the winter, all his equipment was in good shape and he was excited to get started. But after that call, while driving home with groceries from the nearby hamlet of Homer, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Steve, who lives with his wife Joanna and their two children in Blythewood, said that while dealing with the shock and grief of his father’s passing, he realized that the cabin would need attention, and soon – it didn’t have a roof yet and wouldn’t be protected from the weather for long. He didn’t want his father’s cherished project to fall to neglect.

So after family and friends had gathered for a heartfelt celebration of Adolf’s memory, Steve and his sister, Patricia Reid, headed up to Alaska with Billy Windhorn of Blythewood and several others for two weeks of a convivial work-a-thon that resulted in a finished metal roof and closed-in gables. Steve, who works for a Geothermal heating company, grew up working with his dad on building projects, and eventually did contract work on his own for renovation and home improvement jobs.

This summer, the work continued. Steve and his son Davis, 15, travelled to Alaska with five others, and in two weeks they had installed shaker shingles on the ends of the cabin, built the balcony/porch, installed a window, and sanded, chinked and stained every log.

“Next summer,” Steve said, “we plan to finish putting in the windows and doors, and start on some of the inside work – electrical and plumbing. It’ll probably take three more summers to complete everything.”

It’s not all work and no play, though – the group enjoyed fishing for salmon and halibut, and they delighted in seeing moose and calves that would frequently visit the property.

Joanna said the family looks forward to travelling to Alaska for many future summer visits and eventually for a Christmas gathering at the cabin. She said Adolf would be thrilled to know that everyone was working together on the cabin he had started with a vision of family and fellowship.

“Adolf left this world doing exactly what he wanted to do, on his terms and in the place that he loved,” Joanna said, “and I think the family is able to find comfort in that. Annerose said that Adolf was very happy when she spoke with him on that last phone call. He said he was so happy that everything had gone so well.”