A Little History….

Avis-Family

“Alaska Rent a Car was started February 10, 1955 by Bob and Barbara Halcro. We started with twenty cars out of our downtown location at 5th and B Street in Anchorage. There were no car rentals at the airport yet, and you had to come downtown to get a rental car. We were the first car rental in the State of Alaska.

In April of 1956 we purchased the Avis franchise and began operating as an Avis licensee.

In 1957, we opened at the Anchorage International Airport with about sixty cars. In May of 1958, we brought fifteen 1958 Chevrolet’s to Fairbanks and it was so cold! A little later that same year, we started renting trucks out of Kenai and Barbara was there to open our station when they cut the ribbon to the new airport. In 1959, we went in with an agency that set up with AAI in Homer.

 Between 1967 and 1969, we opened several locations. In Juneau, which at that time had only a local taxi company and was extremely difficult to get into, we opened in Sitka with some nice Volkswagen’s, and in Ketchikan. During that time, we owned the Schelikof Hotel in Kodiak and we rented cars from both the hotel and the airport. Then,we opened two agency stations, one in Seward and one in Haines. We opened at the airport in Valdez about 1967, but had been renting trucks down there since after the1964 earthquake. In 1982, we opened an agency station in Petersburg, and an agency station in Skagway. Over the years, we have been in and out of every little place we thought could use a car rental. We were on Elmendorf Air Force Base from 1969 to 1980. 

We operated – at Alyeska during the winter months from 1970 to 1984, and in the summer months at Mount McKinley National Park until just about four years ago. We also had an agency station in Wasilla from around 1984 to June of 1987, and were in Cordova for a short time.  At Deadhorse, we were on the slope, from 1973 to 1977, (managed by Doran Thomas and his family—the current Fairbanks Shop Manager). All the trucks were four wheel drive and they were never turned off, because of this, we ordered an extra engine and sent engines back and forth to be overhauled. We also had to ship in their groceries, haul water and ship out the wastes.”

Avis-Family2

Barbara also recalled in the late 50’s and early 60’s, we leased a large amount of vehicles to the United States Government.

The government flew the vehicles into Clear, before they were titled or licensed! Barbara feels that Avis Alaska has been the best cyclone ride she’s ever had, like a roller coaster ride, up and down, just like the State of Alaska!

Bob Halcro