Boat in the Trees
The Chacón was built in Puget Sound in 1912 and saw long service in Alaska commercial fishing, towing logs and hauling fish and crab until she hit an iceberg near Yakutat,which put her out of commission. Long time Chuglak resident, Thillman Wallace found her capsized and under water along a beach out of homer. He fell in love with her and was not afraid of the challenges that awaited him. After finding the owner, Wallace purchased her for $5000.00. Resurrecting her from her watery grave was no easy task. Patching many holes and a lot of caulking, she became sea worthy enough to sail again and Thillman and his brother Art rode her the entire way like a couple of pirates. It took 24 hours to reach the Port of Anchorage being towed by a tugboat and required six pumps running steadily to keep her afloat. It was a daunting ride, but the adventure outweighed the risk and fear of sinking and drowning. Moving the Chacon from Anchorage was another nearly impossible feat. Requiring a custom trailer designed by a moving specialist, which consisted of two - 120 foot steel beams and a 100 tires. The wheel house, mast and other parts had been removed so she would fit under bridges. At that time she was the largest and heaviest haul recorded on the Glenn Highway scales. She turned many heads as she slowly strolled through Anchorage and down the Glenn Highway. Before descending Eagle River hill and crossing the Eagle River bridge, two dump trucks were chained to the back of the trailer in the event the breaks would fail on the semi truck. Fortunately other than countless blowouts and tire changes along the way everything went accordingly without problems. It was Wallace's dream to fully restore her and sail around the world, but with the many ambitions he had, he also soon realized this one was like having an elephant by the tail.The Chacon never did sail again and since 1984 sits here in her final resting place. The irony of her being constructed from the woods and returned to the woods to decompose is a little bittersweet. Thillman "Til" Wallace, 82, of Chugiak, Alaska, passed away on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, at home, attended to and comforted by his wife, Ella and brother, Mike.