Alaska Picker owners salvage antiques from abandoned Adak naval station
A Valley couple is on the hunt for Alaska’s most valuable antiques. Together Kelly Turney and Becky Green own the Alaska Picker store in Wasilla and travel the state searching for items to repurpose and sell.
They’ve uncovered some pretty cool stuff but say nothing compares to what they found in Adak this summer.
“People come into our store all the time and tell us stories of where stuff may be,” Turney said. “I’ve heard the stories about Adak, but nobody had any pictures, nobody was going back, and nobody knew who to talk to.”
Adak sits in the Aleutian Island chain and is the state’s southern-most community, according to the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development. It was developed as a naval air station after World War II. State records show that at its peak, the station housed 6,000 U.S. Navy personnel and their families. In 1994, sever cutbacks occurred and that station officially closed in 1997.
Turney worked out a deal with the Aleut Corporation to go inside and see what he could salvage.
“We went through pretty much every barrack building, galley, night club, gymnasium, swimming pool, bathroom, school — everywhere we could get through to see what’s there,” Turney said.
The crew said their best find was a warehouse filled to the brim with antique furniture.
They packed up two 40-foot storage containers with their finds and shipped them by barge to Seward. Turney picked the containers up this week and drove them to Wasilla.
He spent Wednesday doing inventory.
“Probably one of the coolest things we got was one of the last things we got and that is one of the pay phones from the barracks,” Turney said.
Turney said he hopes to give each of the items a new lease on life and learn a thing or two about Adak’s past along the way.
The new inventory from Adak will be available for purchase beginning Dec. 10 at the Alaska Picker store in Wasilla. However, Turney said they brought back so much stuff from the island that it will take several months to get it all over to the shop.
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