John Chilberg was born on this day, January 19, 1867 in Wappello County Iowa.
In 1899 Chilberg was responsible for the steamship SOVEREIGN and was also Captain of the MONARCH. While living in Nome, his friend Godfrey Chealander conceived of the idea to have an exposition of Alaska in 1907 and convinced Chilberg to help him organize it.
Chilberg became President of the Board of Directors for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle in 1909. Held on the University of Washington campus this was Washington’s first world’s fair and it celebrated 12 years of prosperity — since the 1897 Alaska Gold Rush — through the display of resources, products, and advantages of Washington and the region. More than three million people visited the fair from Washington cities and counties and from the rest of the country.
In 1915 Chilberg was President of the Miner’s and Merchants Bank of Ketchikan.
By 1919 he also ran a fleet of ships in Puget Sound. In 1967 he was living in Berkeley California with his son Hugh, a real estate investor. J.E. Chilberg died in 1954 in Laguna Beach, California at the age of 87.
Chilberg is seen above addressing the AYP Exposition in 1909.