Stepping into the Meier’s Lake Roadhouse is like stepping out of time itself. Driving north along the Richardson Highway, blink at the wrong time and one might just miss Meier’s Lake.
Located at mile 171 at an elevation of 2,750 feet, Meier’s Roadhouse was originally built in 1906 by Charles J. Meier right beside a small lake. He was the first to farm the land around it.
Being on the original Fairbanks-Chitina Trail, Meier thought the roadhouse would make an ideal place for miners and other passersby to do their business, gather their supplies and send their mail. For years, that is exactly what they did too.
Meier’s original roadhouse burned down and was replaced in the early 1980s on the other side of the highway where it presently resides.
We might have ran into Meier’s entire population of Meier’s Lake sitting at the bar inside the roadhouse Thursday evening.
Inside the roadhouse are an assortment of trinkets and gadgets from a bygone time.
Old juke boxes, metal signs with fading paint and pictures of friends long gone adorn the walls.
These days, the establishment welcomes all sorts of travelers.
It tends to pick up more business in the summer time when tourists and workers come off the slope looking for a place to rest and eat.
There’s a certain charm to the roadhouse’s reverence for the past.
Wiley Peterson and Harvel Young are there, keeping travelers company as the pass through. The pair can make a mean hamburger or grilled cheese sandwich, and there are plenty of drinks to keep the spirit warm, but don’t ask them to make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich unless you’re ready to shell over $67.50. Why? “Because I just don’t like making them,” Peterson said. He’s serious, too.
Meier’s Lake is more or less a blip on the map as most drive by, but it has its fair share of regular customers who file in and out throughout the day. They come by enjoy a bite to eat and a drink and some good conversation before getting on with their day.
It’s a sleepy little community. Besides the roadhouse and the lakefront view, a small church resides across the highway. Meier’s Lake may be a place out of time, but there is something reassuring about that.
As long as travelers and workers need a place to stay on their way wherever, they can expect Meier’s Roadhouse to be there, with a warm meal and a comfortable bed to sleep in, just like Charles intended it more than a hundred years ago.