At this time of year when the snow is melting off the mountains, you can clearly see the A of the AB Mountain. The B is not as visible as it once was, but you can still see it. Today of course it is overcast and you can’t see anything. This photo was probably taken around 1915 – in the spring.
Today I also updated the blog from April 29, 2010 on Edwin L. Mims.
Max Kollm was born in 1854 in Germany. He was a member of the Arctic Brotherhood in 1900 here in Skagway. As an artist, one day he noticed that in the spring there appeared in the snow on the mountain above town, the letters “A” and “B”. He brought this apparition to the notice of the National Geographical Society who named it Mt. Arctic Brother. Today we just call it AB Mountain. Max may also have designed the logo for the Arctic Brotherhood.
Max moved on from Skagway and he left Dawson for Fairbanks in 1909. The picture above is an example of his work as a pyrographist done in 1909!
Pyrography has a long history as a decorative technique outside the United States and became a popular hobby in America in the early 1900s with the availability of pyrographic kits and materials. Alaskans adapted the technique to burn images onto moose hide and birch bark. They used pyrography to decorate personal and household items, create vacation mementos, illustrate Alaskan scenes, commemorate events, and honor organizations.
He and his wife Sophie lived in Seattle in 1910 and he was still working as an artist, but then in oil. Sophie died in San Francisco in 1955 but Max does not show up on any death indexes.
Woodcarver online magazine article on Pyrograffitti; Alaska Weekly 1931 article.