Meet Your Black Bear Inn Hosts
NICOLE and JIM CHURCH
Jim is a fourth generation Alaskan who’s great grandfather, Forest Joseph Hunt, and great grandmother, Harriet Elizabeth Hunt, came from Washington state to Wrangell, Alaska in 1898. News of a rich quartz strike lured them to Ketchikan in 1900. At first they owned a meat market on Front Street. Their pet black bear could sometimes be seen waiting outside the store. Forest was Ketchikan’s mayor, an active community leader, and state legislator for years. Harriet was an avid photographer. Her photos can be seen throughout Ketchikan. They owned Hunt’s Book and Novelty Store where you could “buy almost everything you want”. The store was a very popular stop for visitors and locals. It closed in 1954.
Jack Talbot, Jim’s grandfather, came to Alaska in 1914 to do United States coastal survey work. He married Elaine Hunt in 1917 before leaving for France to serve in World War I. He opened Talbot and Spaulding, a coal, building materials and explosives store after his return.
Jim’s father, James Church Sr., came to Alaska in 1934 to work for the Bureau of Fish and Wildlife in Anchorage. He moved down to Juneau in 1937 to work for Taku Mining. He married Jane Talbot in 1943.They lived in Juneau until 1949 when they returned to Ketchikan and purchased Talbot’s Building Supply.
Your host, Jim, worked with the family business until his father’s death in1978. His experiences as a DuPont Explosive distributor, float plane pilot, tugboat operator, fisherman, and business owner have provided him with extensive knowledge about Alaska’s history and the typography of South East Alaska.
Nicole is a former teacher, university and hospital administrator, with degrees in education, painting, interior design and psychology and an extensive background in the performing arts. She had her own public relations and marketing company and a interior design business for years. Cooking and landscaping are two of her favorite pastimes. She enjoys swapping recipes and gardening tips, giving interior decorating advise and sharing information on how to smoke fish.