The Martelle Collection; Adak in 1943-44
Photographs made by Martelle's when they were stationed on Adak in
the 19540's. Re-photographed from their scrapbooks by Michael Gordon
and the negatives subsequently scanned with a Polaroid Sprintscan 35
to preserve as much detail as possible.
Description of Photographs
(By Michael Gordon:) The descriptions are not ultra precise; they are
what I recollect from exploring the areas. The photographs were made by a
married couple, rare on Adak at that time, but without much annotation
as to what was what and where was where.
- Top row, left to right:
- (94 kilobytes) View of the station looking east southeast. In the background
on the right one can see Razorback mountain, and in front of it, a bit
of Lucky point, and nearer, Monument Hill. Center and left one can
see Kuluk Bay. Just to right of center one can see an aircraft hangar,
it continued to exist when I was stationed there in 1976-78 and 1987.
- (41 kilobytes) This one was difficult, I am less than certain I
know where it is. It appears to be on the big rounded southeast flank
of Mount Moffett, slightly south of the present-day transmitter site.
Notice the three smokestacks of what is probably the power plant and
steam generator; the foundations for it were still existing in 1976
but nearly all traces of this entire "city" had been obliterated by
1987. In the far distance one can see the flat-top edge of Zeto Point,
and nearer, the cliffs along the north side of Kuluk Bay.
- (159 Kilobytes) A view to the northwest backed by Mount Moffett.
On the far left on the hill is the command post with its observation
tower, this blew over gradually in 1978, aided by people with chainsaws
cutting out the highly weathered and hence attractive wood. The valley
comes down to the airfield near the west end. Most of the permanent
buildings are on the right and up on top of a relatively flat area
that overlooks Kuluk Bay. The present-day transmitter site would be
on the right half substantially behind the quonset hut one can see
at the top. A whole "city" is also up there, complete with electrical
- Second Row:
- (65 kilobytes) A view of the Mount Moffett city looking east and
perhaps a bit north. I think... this one was difficult. But it looks
like Great Sitkin island faintly visible on the distant right, and
the only hills that slope in the manner shown are halfway between the
main station at Kuluk Bay and the communication station at Clam Lagoon.
If so, the quonset huts in the distance are between the S-curve newer
road to the commsta and the old, upper road; an area that was occupied
by nesting Aleutian Terns in 1977 but by 1987 had been abandoned even
by the terns. The city in the foreground would be located on the
southeast flank of Mount Moffett, and the extreme right, lowest
elevation, would be at the northern extent of Kuluk beach.
- (52 kilobytes) I think this is a lucky coincidence; a view 180
degrees opposite the previous view. This one almost certainly is
looking west-southwest. Notice the power and steam plant with the
three smokestacks. The ridge in the background runs north-south
(south on the left) and the command post is on the top center; the
zig-zag road (zags to the left when it reaches the top) is a road that
I have traveled enroute to the command post; it was not an easy drive
when I did it, especially if there is any snow, it is deceptively
- (44 kilobytes) Finger Bay. The view is to the northeast from
a hill on the south side of this fjord-like harbor. It was reportedly
used for submarine repair (drydock) during the war. It does look
like a portable drydock is berthed, but hard to see what is inside it,
if anything. The old piers were dynamited and burned sometime in the
late 80's I think, I don't remember why I didn't go see the spectacle.
- (90 kilobytes) Kuluk Beach. This should be familiar to many; the
view from Norpac Hill southward across what became Kuluk Housing area, with
Monument Hill in the background. Monument Hill has gradually been
cut away to provide construction material. Here you can see it
with most of its dirt and rock still intact. It still looked a lot
like this in 1976, but by 1987 it had been substantially eaten away.
- Third Row:
- (24 kilobytes) Nebraska Road buried in snow.
- (85 kilobytes) View eastward overlooking Sweeper Cove and the
small boat harbor. This is pretty close to the southern extent of
- (74 kilobytes) Another view, southeastward at Sweeper Cove. Notice
the sailors in formation. Sort of a formation. Oh, I see, they are
standing in line to go in the big Quonset hut. Anyone know what is
inside? Chow hall, movie theater?
- Bottom Row:
- (55 kilobytes) The road to Zeto Point as seen from Command Car
Hill. The pier visible in this photo existed only as a few stumps
in the water by 1976.
- (62 kilobytes) The huts on Zeto Point, view is to the south. In
the year 1976, I sat on a huge wire cable spool for a photograph
(I have not found that photo yet) and I was amazed to find the very
same spool in this photo from 1943-1944 sometime. I found some
remenants of artillery foundations during my explorations of this area
in 1976-1978. By the later date, not much existed out here, but
several bald eagle nests were on these cliffs.
- (85 kilobytes) a ship, probably at Adak but I have not yet
figured out the angle. The hill in the background, on the right,
looks a lot like the southern slope of Mount Moffett, suggesting
the ship may be anchored in Kuluk bay rather than tied to a pier;
but if so, what is adjacent to it? A lighter?
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