Mr. Woodruff was born in 1853 in Wisconsin and came to Skagway in 1898 from Seattle. He was an early member of the Arctic Brotherhood and in fact donated the land where the AB Hall now sits. Woodruff was involved in several businesses, the Northern Commercial Company – a company that operated retail stores in Alaska from 1901 to 1992, the Bowen and Woodruff Crockery, and he was the Secretary and Treasurer of the Alaska General Electric Company.
The Northern Commercial Company stores throughout Alaska often served as the village courthouse and post office as well. Much trade in the stores was bartered, as few people had cash. The stores accepted such items as gold, fish and furs in exchange for merchandise. The stores were often the nucleus of small communities and communities often grew because of the stores. The company also owned several steamer boats that transported goods on the rivers. Seen above are some that belonged to the Northern Commercial Company in winter.
Frank and his family moved on to other parts of Alaska and he died on this day, May 19, 1920 in Alaska.
1900 census;1902directory;family chron; Skagway Museum Record; Fairbanks News list