So I finally found out the history behind the iconic windmill on Spenard Rd. Originally it was erected on east Fireweed in 1961, and was used as an advertisement for a liquor store called the Kut Rate Kid. Owned by Byron Gillam until the 1980’s, the liquor store was a financial success. Gillam would sell cases of directly imported beer for a small 2 cents per case profit, eliminating wholesalers and picking up sales of ice wine and liquor all at regular inflated Alaskan prices. Gillam passed away, and the business sold. The windmill then represented a pizza business that moved in, owned by a man named Mafia Mike. Due to the economic downturn in the 1980’s, the windmill had to be moved from Mafia Mike’s pizza place, so it was given to Chilkoot Charlie’s to put in the parking lot there. “Koots” is a crazy place, and inebriated clientele there threatened the structure by climbing it. Consequently, the structure is now surrounded by a 6 foot fence with barbed wire at the top to prevent lawsuits and unexpected damage.
Chugach Session Cream Ale is a brainchild of Broken Tooth Brewing, a conglomerate of the Moose’s Tooth Pizza restaurant group, including Bear Tooth Theatre Pub located about a block from the windmill. Cream Ale is a traditional American style of ale, similar to American lager in flavor and drinkability. It seemed like an obvious choice to put in the foreground for this composition.
Cheers to Spenard! One of Anchorage’s most historic, diverse, fun and interesting districts.