History of Sheep Mountain

For over 75 years, Sheep Mountain Lodge has hosted travelers from across Alaska and around the world. The Lodge is located along the scenic Glenn Highway halfway between the towns of Palmer and Glennallen. Our guests enjoy spectacular mountain views, local outdoor recreational activities, cabins with private bath and showers, delicious home cooked meals, and old fashioned Alaskan hospitality that has made Sheep Mountain Lodge famous. Extensive decks, greenhouses and flower gardens compliment the scenery. You can watch Dall Sheep through our telescope, read on the deck of your cabin or relax in the hot tub after a day of traveling or hiking.

History of Ownership

Sheep Moutain 1946Originally called “Sheep Mountain Inn” the one room lodge was built in 1942 to serve trappers and workers along the Glenn Highway. In 1946, Sheep Mountain Lodge was built as a two-story log structure with 13 rooms. Two photographs of the original lodge are hanging in the restaurant today.  This structure burned in 1958 and Trudy and Duke Jurgeleit rebuilt.  The present day lodge was a series of additions built on to the original bunkhouse, very typical style of many of Alaska’s old roadhouses.

1942 – 1946    The only information we have on “Sheep Mountain Inn” is from the photograph shown above. Based on the view of Sheep Mountain in the photograph, the inn was located in the same location as the lodge is standing today.

1946 – 1952    Alton A. Johnson and Virginia E. Johnson built the “second” version of the lodge in 1946.

1952-1981     Trudy and husband Duke Jurgeleit purchased the lodge at Christmas time.  Trudy was a public health nurse and the only registered nurse along the highway during this period. The lodge was designated as an American First Aid Station. She served diligently and provided her services when a winter snowstorm required a mother to deliver her baby at the lodge.

Trudy and Duke were married for 23 years until his death in 1972.    She remarried an army captain, which she described as an “unpleasant experience” (quote from a local newspaper).  She remained single for many years, and then advertised for an electrician.   Lloyd Tolbert answered the advertisement, and helped Trudy fix up the lodge to sell.  Lloyd provided more than electrical sparks however, and they were soon married.  They sold the lodge and retired to Florida.  However, the new owners could not handle the winters so they came back to take over the lodge business.  After Lloyd died, Trudy attempted to run the lodge by herself.  She was 75 when she finally moved to the Pioneer’s Home in Palmer.   Trudy passed away in 1995.

1981 -1985     Debi and Sherman Reams became the lodge owners.  Sherman came to Alaska to train with the US Biathlon team and never left.  He was a carpenter and Debi a dental receptionist.  Cross-country ski trails were brushed out to encourage year round guests.   Sherman, Debi and their two children, Troy and Tirzah helped to bring Sheep Mountain Lodge back to life.

1985 – 1999     David Cohen and wife, Diane Schneider were the owners and operators of the Lodge.  David and Diane came from North Dakota.  David first came to Alaska to work for Denali National Park for the summer.  He, like many other Alaskans, never seemed to make the trip back outside.  They made many improvements to the grounds and gardens, including building seven cabins and a dynamic multipurpose room.  The Lodge became a popular stopping place between Palmer and Glennallen.

2000 – 2015     Zack and Anjanette Steer.  Their sons Glenn and Clayton help around the lodge when they are not biking or snowboarding.  Zack has participated in six Iditarod sled dog races and two Yukon Quest races.  Anjanette is a fourth generation Alaskan, with a wetland science background, who finished her rookie Iditarod in 2012.

2015 – Present Local couple Mark & Ruthann Fleenor buy the lodge. We are a so excited to continue the tradition of sharing the beauty of Glacier View with all who stop by. Mark enjoys flying in his 1961 Piper Super Cub bush plane as much as possible. Ruthann Fleenor enjoys keeping the lodge famous for its amazing flowers. We hope you all will stop by the lodge for a first hand experience of home-grown Alaskan hospitality!