By Clark Fair
Arthur C. “Art” Frisbie liked telling stories, and he occasionally liked to startle his listeners by stretching the facts, but the truth is that he did live a long life full of adventure, such as the time he accidentally shot himself in the hand or the time he accidentally shot himself through the armpit when he set down his hair-trigger rifle butt-first and it went off.
Frisbie was also at one time the only law officer in Seward. He served in the military near the end of World War II. He worked as a watchman on a fish trap in Southeast Alaska. He trapped during one winter on the Sheenjek River south of the Brooks Range. And he helped fight the massive 1947 Kenai Burn.
An early settler on Skilak Lake — after acquiring George Nelson’s cabin at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek — Frisbie also became one of Soldotna’s earliest residents when he bought 10 acres of Howard Binkley’s property and moved into town. As such, he has earned a place on the pioneers’ Memorial Wall planned by the Soldotna Historical Society at the Soldotna Community Memorial Park.
The wall, according to city of Soldotna documents, “was designed as a way to celebrate the lives of past citizens of the Soldotna area who have been interred in other locations. For those whose hearts will always be in Soldotna, their memory can be brought back home to our community.”
So far, the historical society has a list of more than 70 names of individuals, now deceased, who moved to the Soldotna area after homesteading opened in 1947 and prior to 1955. An additional and much shorter list includes the names of some individuals who are still living but meet the other criteria. The historical society decided on the cutoff date of 1954 in order to control the number of names and ensure that space would be available on the Memorial Wall.