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Local business owner steps up to help the Independence Mine for free after it was vandalized

View of Independence Mine from atop the Mill Loop
View of Independence Mine from atop the Mill Loop(KTUU)
Published: Jun. 26, 2021 at 12:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A local business owner stepped up this past week to help the Independence Mine State Historical Park in Hatcher Pass after it was vandalized.

Original light fixtures were smashed, plates were thrown from the dining room on the floor, and the original single pane windows that had endured nearly 80 harsh Alaskan winters were all broken. The people or person who broke in even sprayed fire extinguishers inside.

Vandals damage a Mess Hall window at Independence Mine
Vandals damage a Mess Hall window at Independence Mine(ktuu)

Dennis Keeling, owner of Instant Services Glass Repair in Anchorage, decided to help after hearing about the news.

“I had heard on the news that there was a bunch of damage going on up there and I was just in a situation to help and I’m a regular user of Hatcher Pass and been going there since the early ’70′s and it’s just kind of heartbreaking to hear what happened.”

Keeling sent a crew to the park where they worked for two days installing brand new windows, all free of charge Thursday.

“They put in twenty-five windows in yesterday and they’ve got like about another twenty, twenty-five windows to go. It’s all single pane so the cost of materials wasn’t too painful, it’s just the cost of labor and just getting a crew out there to do it.”

He added the mine has played an important role in his life, as he has always enjoyed visiting.

Some evidence was left behind by whoever caused the damage, and Stuart Leidner, superintendent of the State Parks Mat-Su/Copper River Basin Area, said the case is being investigated.

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