- Local call number
- Media type
- Burak, Dorothy
- Dorothy "Gale" Burak Oral History
- Original creation date
- Northern Arizona University. Cline Library.
- Digital surrogates are the property of the repository. Reproduction requires permission.
- Collection name
- Burak, Dorothy
- Content Summary
- Oral history interview with Dorothy "Gale" Burak, detailing her life and activities in northern Arizona and the Southwest. Throughout her life, she lived and worked in and around the Grand Canyon. She describes working at motor lodge at Ashfork, Arizona, owned and operated by the Fred Harvey Firm. Ms. Burak explains that for a time she worked as a cook for the Havasu Lead and a Zinc Company on the Havasupai Reservation. She was Emery Kolb's caretaker during the final year of his life. Ms. Burak worked on and off over the years a volunteer park ranger for the Grand Canyon National Park. It should also be noted that she was hiking and exploring the Grand Canyon since the early 1940s.
- Dorothy 'Gale' Gardner Burak was born on October 2, 1917 in Lexington, Virginia. Her family was originally from the Boston area, in Massachusetts, where she spent most of her childhood.
She married Reuel MacLaughlin, her first husband, after high school, in 1937. He was older than her and contracted tuberculosis, which eventually resulted in a collapsed lung. The doctors recommended that Gale and her husband move out west where the environment was better for her husband's health. They both worked at the Motor Lodge, which was a Harvey house. However, they decided to part ways in 1942. Gale kept the bike and stayed at the Grand Canyon, while Reuel took the car and the dog with him to a new job elsewhere.
While hiking in the Grand Canyon, Gale took a job as a cook for the Havasu Lead and Zinc Company hard rock mining camp, a job which ended up lasting three months. Three years later, in 1945, she met and married her second husband, Fred T. Burak in the High Sierras. They settled in Sonora, California and had three children together: T. Lance, Susan, and Pam. In 1955, they moved to Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Gale kept returning to the Grand Canyon over the years, originally as a volunteer in the Back Country Office. Through volunteering and paid employment, she was a ranger for about four years at Cottonwood campground and then later worked at Phantom Ranch. She also served as a caretaker for the photographer, Emery Kolb, on and off over the years and in 1976, served as his final caretaker until he passed away. She is a member of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society and has written many articles for their newsletter. In 1998, she also received the Grand Canyon Historical Society's Pioneer Award for all of her contributions to the park. Throughout her years in New Hampshire and Arizona, she gave many lectures and presentations to different groups concerning the Grand Canyon and the outdoors.
- Other Contributors
- Runge, Peter
National parks and reserves--Public use--Arizona--Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
Grand Canyon Village (Ariz.)
Havasupai Reservation (Ariz.)
Yosemite Valley (Calif.)
Kolb, Emery Clifford, 1881-1976
Butchart, Harvey, 1907-
Fred Harvey (Firm)
Havasu Lead and Zinc Company
United States. National Park Service