Railroad births Anchorage

Unlike other settlements in Alaska’s past, Anchorage didn’t evolve as a result of gold, furs, fish or timber. As late as 1913, there was no town at the head of Cook Inlet. There was only a spot called Ship Creek, where small ships entered because the creek was deep enough. But a couple of years […]

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Alaska totems educate millions in 1904

When John Green Brady, governor of the District of Alaska, was asked to create an exhibit to publicize the Great Land for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904, he decided to showcase one of Southeast Alaska’s most recognizable features: totem poles. Brady thought a display of poles carved by Alaska’s Native people […]

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Arctic Brotherhood born on the high seas

What Alaska connection do England’s King Edward VII, Al Capone’s chief legal counsel, Albert Fink, and American presidents Warren G. Harding, Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley have in common? They are all honorary members of the Arctic Brotherhood club. This fraternal club, which at its height boasted around 10,000 members in the early 1900s, was […]

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Baseball in the Arctic 1894

As the days get longer and winter begins to wane, the boys of summer are gearing up for another awesome season of baseball – a mainstay in Alaska for generations. Before Anchorage had plotted out its main street on Fourth Avenue in 1915, baseball teams faced off near the mud flats to put bats to […]

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Great Alaska Earthquake

The second-largest earthquake in recorded history struck at 5:36 p.m. Anchorage time. Measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale – experts later upgraded it to 9.2 on the Mw (moment magnitude) scale as the Richter scale was determined to be inaccurate at measuring earthquakes above 8.0. Many Alaskans later said they lived through hell on earth […]

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Radios: Early Alaska Lifelines

Before the Internet and cell service became synonymous with instant communication, Alaska’s remote villages relied on a military network of telephone-telegraph radiophone stations to relay messages. Only a few cables reached a few Alaska cities back in the mid-1900s, so messages from these Alaska Communication System stations were transmitted to and from these radiophone stations […]

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How Did Seward Get Its Name?

In March, Alaska celebrates Seward’s Day in honor of the man who succeeded in persuading the United States to buy Alaska from the Russians. And there are many landmarks named after President Lincoln’s Secretary of State. However, when Seward was chosen for the name of the town on Resurrection Bay, it took the personal intervention […]

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Anchorage: A Jewel on the Tundra

By the early 1950s, the tent city at the mouth of Ship Creek had turned into a bustling, modern city. Clifford Cernick wrote that Anchorage was much like Baghdad in an article that appeared in the Seattle Times on March 4, 1951 – a time when Baghdad was a bustling city, a jewel in the […]

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First Miss Alaska Turns Heads

Dubbed The Arctic Venus by newspapers across the globe, Helmar Liederman turned many heads as she strutted her stuff in 1922 during the Inter-City Beauty Contest – forerunner of the Miss America Pageant. The 23-year-old beauty, who immigrated from Sweden in 1921, proved to be one of the most popular contestants of the 57 that […]

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Conman topples Alaska Governor

Many have heard tales touting the shenanigans of conmen like Jefferson “Soapy” Smith and a man named Hendrickson, better known as the “Blue Parka Bandit.” But neither of them caused the demise of an Alaska governor’s political aspirations. That dubious honor falls upon H.D. “Harry” Reynolds, who singlehandedly brought down Gov. John Brady in 1906, […]

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