Caleb Aldeman was just a dad wanting to spend more time with his family. But as a trucker on the slope his life was lived in two week spans and he felt like he was missing his children’s lives. He needed something that would allow him to provide for his family without taking him away from them. He needed an idea.
It was on one of his off track weeks at home that the universe provided one. While watching his son, Cyrus, Caleb half slept on the couch. Cyrus was watching public broadcasting when a popular Mr. Rogers sent a cute, red, cable car through a tunnel. Suddenly, it came to him! Why not buy a trolley and offer tours of Anchorage to the thousands of visitors that make their way to Alaska every summer?
With that thought, Anchorage City Trolley Tours was born. Caleb started out on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage in the summer of 1995; he drove the trolley while 14-year-old son Cyrus became the salesman. Cyrus spent his summers in “on the job” training to be the president of the company, making such landmark decisions as, “Dad, maybe we should get some college kids to help grow the business; we get some new personalities on the trolley and do something good for the community? College kids need jobs, and Alaska needs educated kids.” To date, 16 different drivers have “commanded our ships,” giving visitors a history of our town, real stories of life in Alaska, “the Great Land,” and hilarious anecdotal stories of our wilderness.
Here are some interesting moments from our tours: a baby black bear has climbed on board during a tour, a moose has stuck his head into the front door, only to be denied entrance to the trolley by his rack of antlers, a team of high school streakers have “graced” us with their nakedness, the trolley has been stopped by Canada geese with the goslings as they crossed the road, Sarah Palin has stepped on to greet our passengers -and many more.
And how has Anchorage City Trolley Tours helped our community? Driving these trolleys has provided the income that paid for the educations of one lawyer ( should we be proud of that?) two doctors, three school teachers, an engineer, a physical therapist, a chiropractor, a millionaire facility manager ( no kidding!) three stay-at-home Moms, and a Miss Alaska. Every year, Anchorage City Trolley Tours gives scholarships to local high school students who intend to return to Alaska to make it their home. It’s called “The Cyrus Aldermann Scholarship Fund,” after our beloved “president of the company” Cyrus, who came up with the idea.
So, if you are planning a visit to Alaska this summer, come and join us! Come and ride the tour that TripAdvisor calls a “must do when in Anchorage” tourist attraction! Come and become part of our All-real-Alaskan tour and tour guides. And maybe, if you are lucky, a little black bear will grace you with his presence…( that only happened once, so NO GUARANTEES!)