Just got word that this story is somewhat of an urban legand.
An ARR employee who was there will provided us with the more accurate and
even more bizzare story soon. -- JC
It seems that in the spring of 1976, a moderately notorious biker gang got run out of Seattle and decided that they'd pack up all their bikes and head for the great white north and see what kind of mischief they could get into. After being run out of Anchorage by the law, they made their way to Healy, where in the course of an evening's beer drinking and pool playing, words were exchanged with the locals and a fight broke out. The Bikers upped the ante by pulling a pistol, at which point the local fled for the woods. The Bikers ransacked the place and were exiting the Healy Hilton (railroad hotel) when the Harley nearest the door was taken out with a well placed 30-06 round from the edge of the woods! The bikers retreated to the hotel, where they had to watch while their fleet of motor cycles were systematically eliminated by Moose Rifles from well beyond the range of their hand guns. The local Highway Patrolman was having dinner at Clear when the call came in and he promptly rolled for Healy along with a squad of Air Force Sky Cops (since Clear's coal came from Healy, the government decided they had a vested interest in protecting their source). By the time the smoke cleared, the Bikers were more than willing to surrender to the appropriate authorities. Since no bodies were carried away (excluding the motorcycles) the trooper wrote it up as self defense. Alaska in the 1970's, what a great place to live!
Here's a Letter to the Editor at ADN.com
READER WITNESSED HEALY HISTORY
I was pleased to see a picture of the old Healy Depot (Page B-6, Sept. 3). It brought back many memories of my 19 years in Healy. To clarify some items, at that time Healy was an Alaska Railroad town not a coal mining town. The coal mining towns were Usibelli, Suntrana and Vitro. Also, the depot did not have a bar in it; the Healy Hotel, located right next to the depot did. The Healy Hotel is where the notorious shootout occurred, and as far as I know a person looking closely can still see the bullet holes in the old building.
The motorcycle gang then known as the Brothers came into Healy looking for one of the B&B Gang (Alaska Railroad Bridge & Builders). He had gotten into a fight with one of the motorcycle gang here in Anchorage. They knew he was in Healy so they came looking for him. He was there; only problem was so was the entire work gang. A notable fact (known up and down the track by all) was that the B&B boys loved and were not afraid of a good brawl and they accommodated them with complete enthusiasm. Only one Alaska State Trooper from Nenana came into Healy by himself into the middle of this happy shootout and quickly brought it under control, much to the disappointment of the participants and to the relief of all the railroad families living there.
How do I know all this? I was there. Oh, those were the days!
-- Colleen Hoekzema, Anchorage
© Jim Dennis 2000