How did Alaska get its name?

The man credited with purchasing Alaska from the Russians in 1867 probably signed his name to more government documents than any man of his day. He also appears to be the chief architect of the name given to America’s new possession. William H. Seward, born May 16, 1801 in Orange County, New York, held many […]

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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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The last sled dog mail service

The explosion of airplane competition didn’t stop Chester Noongwook of St. Lawrence Island from continuing his sled dog mail service run until 1963. His was the last mail delivery of its kind in the country. Wien Airlines established the first commercial airplane base on St. Lawrence Island at Gambell and built a landing strip at […]

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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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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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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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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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