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Historic Properties

National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places

Tour of National Register Historic Places in Seward

National Register Historic Places in Seward

  • Jesse Lee Home
  • Ballaine House
  • Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel
  • St. Peter's Church
  • Seward Depot
  • US Cable Office
  • Swetman House
  • Van Gilder Hotel
  • Brown and Hawkins Store

    209 Fourth Avenue

    The first annual Dog Team in front of Brown & HawkinsCharles E. Brown, a young banker from Montreal, Canada met T. W. Hawkins, a young merchant from Roanoak, Virginia during the Nome Alaska gold rush of 1898. Brown and Hawkins became fast friends who played an important part in establishing the banking and mercantile systems currently serving central Alaska.

    Brown and Hawkins partnership began in Valdez, Alaska in 1900. They came to Seward Charles E. Brown, a young banker from Montreal, Canadatown site in 1903 to serve as banker and merchant for the building of the Alaska Central Railroad. The large Mosler safe and vault can still be seen in the bank of the store.

    In 1912 brown and Hawkins chartered the SS Bertha. It was loaded with general merchandise, a gold scale and a big iron safe. This inventory was to serve the needs of the trappers and miners. The SS Bertha was sent up the Cook Inlet into the mouth of Ship Creek. To protect the ship from the strong inlet tides it was firmly anchored on the mud flats. Thus the coined name “Anchorage.”

    Brown and Hawkins eventually separated the banking operations from the mercantile operation of their stores. The Bank of Seward and the Bank of Anchorage were created by this T. W. Hawkins, a young merchant from Roanoak, Virginiaseparation. Charles F. Brown was the president of both banks. The Bank of Seward was absorbed by the First National Bank of Anchorage and the Bank of Anchorage has become the Alaska State Bank.

    Charles Brown died in 1929 and T. W. Hawkins in 1946.

    The Brown and Hawkins Store is the oldest continually operated business in Seward. It is also the oldest store in Alaska under the same ownership. T. W. Hawkins’s son James Hawkins took it over from his father and then passed it to his daughter Virginia Darling (Hawkins.) Virginia’s son Hugh Darling and his wife Iris are Brown & Hawkins storethe current operators. Virginia Darling, a life long resident of Seward is one of the local historians.

    An extensive history of the founders is on display in the store along with the old brass cash register and of course the “old bank vault.”