Hudson’s Bay Company in Ft. Yukon 1846

Fort Yukon, which can be reached by air from Fairbanks, was described by famous columnist Ernie Pyle as being “a half mile from the ends of the earth.” Its story is a page out of Alaska’s history. John Bell, an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Co., reached the Yukon by way of the Porcupine River […]

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Richest Native woman in the north!

A baby girl born in 1865 would become the richest Native woman in the North and grow famous for her reindeer herd. Born to an Inupiaq Eskimo mother and a Russian trader father, Mary Makrikoff grew up in St. Michael on the southern shore of Alaska’s Norton Sound. Her mother called her Changunak. Mary grew […]

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Alaska’s first law officer

Alaska’s first law officer in the Interior knew a thing or two about the criminal element. Frank Canton, appointed deputy marshal for Circle in February 1898, had served with distinction as a peace officer in Wyoming and Oklahoma Territory. He’d also escaped from prison while serving time for bank robbery, murder and holding up a […]

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Toll road to the Klondike

The short, feisty frontiersman held a rifle on the party trying to travel over his Yukon trail without paying the toll. Jack Dalton meant business, and people found he was a tough man with whom to deal. Dalton watched the group with their herd of cattle floundering through scrub trees and bushes and kept alongside […]

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Eskimo Scouts Guard Alaska

When the U.S. Government needed them, Alaska’s Native population came out in droves. From the beaches of Bristol Bay to the far corners of Bethel, Kotzebue and Barrow, villagers didn’t hesitate to provide Alaska with a line of defense after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Col. Marvin “Muktuk” Marston, who’d been […]

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Alaska’s 1st Sourdough Governor

Alaska’s governor from 1933 to 1939 believed the vast northern territory should become a state. And John Weir Troy, who came to Alaska during the gold rush in 1897, thought a larger population and a better road system would help achieve that goal. “More people for Alaska is her greatest need,” said the former pack-train […]

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Alaska Criminals Run Amuck

Criminals dabbling in everything from prostitution to bootlegging to gambling flourished in Alaska during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Believing that gold miners and other citizens easily could be parted from their hard-earned income, thugs crossed the border into Alaska when law enforcement in the rest of the United States cracked down on their […]

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Nuns Head to Nome

Many images come to mind when one thinks of gold rush days in Alaska: bearded prospectors swishing pans filled with water as they search for specks of gold; saloons beckoning the hardworking boys to forget all their troubles with a slug of whiskey and a game of chance; and ladies known as “Lil” leaning against […]

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Earthquakes and Alaska landscapes

Alaska’s earthquake history has been written on its landscape – its riverbeds, glaciers and mountains – in the centuries before and since man set foot on the Great Land. Most of the early earthquake accounts are fragmentary. There are mentions of two in the Aleutians and the Alaska Peninsula as early as 1786 and 1788, […]

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White Pass Yukon Railway faces dispute

The White Pass and Yukon Railroad Co. began construction of its narrow-gauge railway to access the Klondike gold fields in May 1898. Along with the challenge of crossing coastal mountains – and a vertical rise of 3,000 feet in 20 miles near Skagway – engineers had to work around a boundary dispute between the United […]

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Alaska treasure 100 years old

A turn-of-the-last-century pioneer set down roots in the Greatland in the early 1900s that are still with us today in a historical Seward landmark, the Brown & Hawkins building. T. W. Hawkins came to Alaska in 1898 via the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson, Yukon Territory. He searched for gold in the Tanana country, and then […]

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Demon rum finds its way to Alaska

When the U. S. Army took over responsibility for administering Alaska in 1867, law enforcement found it had its hands full trying to stem the flow of liquor into America’s newest property. Up until alcohol possession was legalized in 1899, smugglers brought their illegal brew into Alaska via whalers, fishing vessels, American and foreign ships […]

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Adventurers carve postal system through Alaska wilderness

The first post office in Alaska was established in Sitka on July 23, 1867. John H. Kindaid, who later became an Alaskan governor, was named the first postmaster, three months before Alaska was formally transferred from Russian to American rule. “The Russians maintained no postal system in Alaska,” wrote James S. Couch in “Philately Below […]

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Chickaloon coal drive helps to build Anchorage

In the early 1900s, coal was being shipped from as far away as Cardiff, Wales, to the U.S. Navy’s coal station at Sitka. Some thought that the coal deposits at Chickaloon in the Matanuska Valley might meet the Navy’s requirements. Along with federal Bureau of Mines director A.M. Holmes, Jack Dalton went to look the […]

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Last shot of U.S. Civil War lands in Bering Sea

Seventy-four days after Appomattox, and almost two months after the Confederate Army stopped fighting on land, the last gun of the U.S. Civil War was fired in the Bering Sea. Not knowing the war had ended, the commander of an English-built Confederate vessel named The Shenandoah fired upon several whalers near Saint Lawrence Island on […]

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