LISTENING PROJECT: Kids Welcome Here: The Legacy of Carol Enge

Carol Enge has been providing a home away from home for kids in her First Street house since the 1950’s.  Over the years, packs of children have played in the Enge yard and basement, and run into the warm kitchen for cookies and milk. Carol came to Petersburg as a young teacher in the 1940’s,  but soon was engaged to local fisherman John Enge.  Alaska was a drastic change from her girlhood home of Iowa. Carol remember she did not even have rubber boots, and went hiking up Petersburg Mountain in saddle shoes. She finally bought a pair of boots that could fit over the high heels she wore to school.

They started a family, and moved to Pelican, where they lived for three years above the boardwalk in that small fishing village, where John ran a fish plant. Carol became an avid berry picker then, and she still has her secret patches of cloudberries. She creates delicious jams and jellies, pies and treats with all the various berries she picks, both from her beautiful garden where she spends many hours, and from the muskegs and woods on Mitkof Island.

When the Enges returned to Petersburg, they eventually moved into the First Street house that had been owned by his parents. It became a haven for kids from all over the neighborhood, and several generations can remember the warm hospitality they received in the Enge home. ” No one knocks on the door” Carol said. “They just walk right in to the kitchen, and they are welcome.”

Carol’s life was filled with kids. She has been a teacher, a leader for Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, and active in the schools and Lutheran Church. She tells of many outdoor expeditions with children out to Blind Slough, up Petersburg Creek, and to Dry Bay on the Mainland. 

Carol and her huband John were very active in the Pioneers Organization, and instrumental in creating a book of Petersburg history called “Pioneer Profiles”.  Families contributed their stories and memories and old photographs. The Enges along with daughter-in-law Kathy Poole created what is fondly referred to in town as “The Book”.   Pioneer Profiles is used to figure out the web of connections between families, and settle arguments over fine points in Petersburg history