This Month in Alaska History

This Month in History was compiled by Robert N. DeArmond of Sitka.


January 1, 1918 – An Alaskan law that forbid employees from working more than 8 hours a day went into effect. This law, which has been called “the most radical piece of hours regulation in the history of the United States,” was struck down as unconstitutional by Judge Charles Bunnell on February 27th.

January 2, 1917 – Fire wiped out much of the business district of Valdez.

January 3, 1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed Alaska the 49th state of the Union.

January 4, 1945 – Anthony J. Dimond, former territorial legislator and Delegate in Congress from Alaska, became the U.S. District Judge at Anchorage.

January 5, 1985 – The federal government transferred the ownership of the Alaska Railroad to the State of Alaska.

January 6, 1874 – The Unalashka post office was established, then discontinued nine months later. It was reestablish as Ounalaska in 1892 and the name changed to Unalaska in 1898.

January 7, 1905 – The Alaska Road Commission was established by Act of Congress and placed under the Army. The ARC was responsible for much of the pre – Statehood road building in Alaska.

January 8, 1908 – The codfishing schooner John F. Miller was wrecked in the Shumagin Islands with the loss of 10 of the 37 men aboard.

January 9, 1797 – Baron Ferdinand Von Wrangell was born. He was the sixth Russian governor of Alaska serving from 1830 to 1835.

January 10, 1882 – The name of the first post office on Gastineau Channel (and today’s state capital) was changed from Harrisburgh to Juneau.

January 11, 1937 – Nell Scott of Seldovia became the first woman in Alaska’s legislature.

January 12, 1878 – Charles E. Bunnell was born in Pennsylvania. On this date in 1915 he took office as U.S. District Judge in Fairbanks and later became the first president of what is now the University of Alaska.

January 13, 1946 – The Anchorage Daily News was established with Norman Brown as editor and publisher.

January 14, 1869 – Commander Richard W. Meade, in command of the USS Saginaw, burned a number of Kake villages.

January 15, 1959 – The Chugach Electric Association announced plans to build a nuclear reactor on Knik Arm near Anchorage. It was never built.

January 16, 1874 – Robert Service was born in Preston, England. In the first decade of the 20th century he lived in Dawson, Yukon Territory and inked many popular poems telling of the wonder, beauty, and harshness of the Far North.

January 17, 1901 – The post office of Coppermount, site of Alaska’s second copper smelter, was established.

January 18, 1909 – Robert Stroud, who became known as “The Birdman of Alcatraz,” began his crime career by killing a man at Juneau.

January 19, 1900 – The Military Department of Alaska was established by the Secretary of War.

January 20, 1969 – The Cape Newenham National Wildlife Refuge was created.

January 21, 1911 – Mount Wrangell erupted and an earthquake shook central Alaska.

January 22, 1959 – The IRS reversed an earlier ruling and allowed Alaska’s federal employees’ cost of living allowance to be declared non – taxable.

January 23, 1969 – The U.S. Senate confirmed Alaska’s Walter J. Hickel as the Secretary of the Interior by a vote of 73 to 16.

January 24, 1963 – The M/V Malaspina, the first of the Alaska Marine Highway system’s ferries, arrived in Juneau on its maiden voyage.

January 25, 1959 – Alaska’s first indoor artificially heated swimming pool opened in Fairbanks.

January 26, 1959 – The first Alaska State Legislature convened at Juneau.

January 27, 1925 – The first dog team left Nenana to relay serum to Nome to fight a diphtheria epidemic. The serum reached Nome on February 4.

January 28, 1940 – Half of the town of Candle was destroyed by fire.

January 29, 1914 – Juneau Camp No. 4 of the Alaska Native Brotherhood was organized in the Native school house.

January 30, 1920 – Fire destroyed the plant of the Daily Alaska Citizen at Fairbanks.

January 31, 1956 – General John Noyes, head of the Alaska National Guard, died at Nome as a result of a plane crash.


February 1, 1905 – Congress transferred the National Forests to the Secretary of Agriculture and provided that pulp wood or wood pulp manufactured from Alaska timber could be exported.

February 2, 1931 – The flag was raised for the first time over the new Capitol building at Juneau. Governor George Parks raised the flag.

February 3, 1961 – Juneau’s first commercial jet landed.

February 4, 1941 – The Alaska Defense Command was established with General Simon Buckner as its commanding officer.

February 5, 1956 – The delegates to the Constitutional Convention at Fairbanks adopted a constitution for an as yet unauthorized State of Alaska.

February 6, 1887 – Ernest Gruening, territorial governor and one of Alaska’s first two senators, was born in New York City.

February 7, 1893 – Fire destroyed 24 homes at Metlakatla, founded six years earlier by Tsimshean Indians who had migrated from Canada.

February 8, 1939 – The Goldstein Building in Juneau, which formerly housed Alaska’s executive offices and served as its capitol, was gutted by fire but its concrete walls stood and were reused.

February 9, 1973 – The U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., in a victory for environmental groups, ruled that the right-of-way configuration requested for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline could not be issued under the Mineral Leasing Act. Congress later that year amended the law to allow construction.

February 10, 1899 – The Wilson & Sylvester sawmill at Wrangell received machinery that would make it the largest sawmill in Alaska.

February 11, 1945 – Charles D. Brower, known as the “King of the Arctic,” died at Barrow at age 82.

February 12, 1932 – The roundhouse and shops at the White Pass Railroad at Skagway were destroyed by fire.

February 13, 1947 – The SS North Sea of the Northland Transportation Co. ran upon a rock in Milbank Sound, B.C. The people were saved, but the ship remained on the rock.

February 14, 1931 – The Federal and Territorial Building, now the State Capitol at Juneau, was formally dedicated.

February 15, 1860 – Scott Cordelle Bone was born in Shelby County, Indiana. In 1921 he became the 10th American governor of Alaska.

February 16, 1851 – Lieutenant J. J. Barnard of the British Navy was killed at Nulato while on a search for the lost Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin.

February 17, 1914 – Seven members of the Alaska Territorial Senate were hanged in effigy at Cordova as a protest against their votes on a railroad measure.

February 18, 1884 – Peter French was appointed U.S. Collector of Customs for Alaska with headquarters at Sitka.

February 19, 1902 – The name of the Fort Wrangel post office was changed to Wrangell.

February 20, 1899 – The White Pass & Yukon Route’s first passenger train reached White Pass in Canada.

February 21, 1924 – The first official air mail flight in Alaska was made by Carl Ben Eielson who flew from Fairbanks to McGrath.

February 22, 1850 – Josiah Martin Turner was born in Michigan. He became in turn mayor of Skagway, a member of the Territorial Senate, and U.S. Marshal for the First Judicial Division.

February 23, 1985 – The Fairbanks News-Miner ceased being Alaska’s widest newspaper when it adopted the standard newspaper format, rather than its distinctive 17″ width.

February 24, 1879 – Charles August Sulzer was born in Roselle, New Jersey. He became a member of the Alaska Territorial Senate, then Delegate in Congress from Alaska.

February 25, 1997 – The U.S. Supreme Court, hearing a case originating with the Natives of Venetie, ruled that lands conveyed by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act does not constitute federally recognized “Indian country.”.

February 26, 1917 – Mount McKinley National Park was established. It is now incorporated into the Denali National Park and Preserve.

February 27, 1923 – The 1,400-foot Tanana River steel bridge on the Alaska Railroad at Nenana was completed.

February 28, 1967 – Climbers completed the first winter ascent of Mount McKinley.

February 29, 1944 – The Juneau Lumber Mills sawmill burned.


1, 1879 – HMS Osprey arrived at Sitka from Victoria, B.C., in response to a call for help inspired by fear of an Indian uprising. The ship remained at Sitka until the arrival of the USS Alaska on April 3.

March 2, 1903 – Congress appropriated $485,000 for a submarine telegraph cable from Seattle to Sitka and Juneau.

March 3, 1913 – The first Alaska Territorial Legislature convened in the Elks Lodge building at Juneau. Twenty – three members met that day. One elected member, from the Fairbanks district, failed to appear during the session.

March 4, 1915 – President Woodrow Wilson signed the Alaska School Lands bill turning over to the Territory sections 16 and 36 of all surveyed townships.

March 5, 1959 – The “Detroit ’59ers,” more than fifty families from Michigan motored out
of Detroit toward Alaska with the intent to homestead on the Kenai Peninsula.

March 6, 1973 – Voters went to the polls to choose between Emil Notti and Don Young to replace U.S. Representative Nick Begich, who had been killed in a plane accident.

March 7, 1988 – Vern Tejas of Anchorage completed the first solo ascent of Mt. McKinley.

March 8, 1960 – The state legislature passed a bill permitting non – profit organizations to operate games of chance.

March 9, 1911 – Fire in Douglas destroyed a large section of the business district.

March 10, 1959 – The Alaska House of Representatives voted to give the governor of the new state a salary of $25,000 a year.

March 11, 1942 – The SS Mount McKinley, 4,861 tons, and carrying military cargo, was wrecked at Scotch Cap, Unimak Pass.

March 12, 1914 – President Woodrow Wilson signed into law a bill providing for a government railroad in Alaska. The Alaska Railroad created by this legislation is now owned by the State of Alaska.

March 13, 1968 – Atlantic Richfield and Humble Oil announced their Prudhoe Bay discovery well.

March 14, 1929 – International Airways inaugerated air passenger service between Seattle and Alaska.

March 15, 1916 – The Bering River and Matanuska coal reserves were proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson.

March 16, 1901 – Treadwell, on Douglas Island, was incorporated as a first class city.

March 17, 1912 – The U.S. Marines, withdrew from Sitka where a contingent had been stationed since 1879.

March 18, 1918 – The Wilson & Sylvester sawmill at Wrangell, the largest mill in Alaska, burned.

March 19, 1963 – The former Revenue Cutter Bear, famed for her long service in northern waters, sank in the Atlantic while under tow.

March 20, 1861 – Wilds P. Richardson, the first president of the Alaska Road Commission (1905 to 1917), was born in Texas.

March 21, 1913 – Governor Walter E. Clark approved the first act of the first Territorial Legislature, giving Alaska women the right to vote.

March 22, 1952 – Fire that started about 10:30 pm on the 21st destroyed much of downtown Wrangell.

March 23, 1933 – Governor George A. Parks signed into law the bill repealing the Alaska Bone Dry law.

March 24, 1989 – The Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, ultimately spilling 260,000 barrels of North Slope oil.

March 25, 1927 – E. Coke Hill took office as U.S District Judge for the Third Judicial Division, headquartered at Valdez.

March 26, 1958 – The “White Alice” communication system began operation.

March 27, 1964 – At 5:36 pm the Good Friday earthquake, which registered more than 8 on the Richter scale, rocked southcentral Alaska. The quake released approximately twice the energy of the 1906 San Francisco quake. It killed 115 people in Alaska and more than a dozen others in California and Oregon.

March 28, 1898 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture established an experimental station at Kodiak.

March 29, 1867 – Russian Minister to the U.S. Edouard de Stoeckl appeared at U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward’s home to inform him that the Czar had wired approval of a treaty for the American purchase of Alaska.

March 30, 1916 – Delegate James Wickersham introduced in Congress the first bill providing for statehood for Alaska.

March 31, 1915 – A bill placing a $10 bounty on wolves was signed into law by Governor John Strong.


April 1, 1869 – The first public school in Alaska under the American flag was opened in a log building at Sitka. The teacher, Miss Addie Messer, was paid $50 a month.

April 2, 1935 – Juneau-Fairbanks air service was inaugurated by Pacific-Alaska Airways.

April 3, 1898 – A snowslide at Sheep Camp on the Chilkoot Trail killed 43 men.

April 4, 1911 – A large business block in Iditarod was destroyed by fire.

April 5, 1824 – The United States and Russia signed a convention opening the North Pacific to fishing and trade.

April 6, 1933 – The sale of beer became legal in Alaska with the repeal of the Bone Dry law.

April 7, 1867 – Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivered a speech in the Senate strongly supporting the purchase of Alaska.

April 8, 1944 – The Alaska Juneau gold mine, Alaska’s largest, closed down at midnight.

April 9, 1915 – President Woodrow Wilson officially announced the route of the Alaska Railroad between Seward and Fairbanks.

April 10, 1885 – Dr. Sheldon Jackson was appointed General Agent of Education for Alaska, a position in the U.S. Bureau of Education.

April 11, 1975 – Alaska Airlines hired Joann Osterud, its first female pilot.

April 12, 1794 – Captain George Vancouver and his ships entered Cook Inlet and discovered it was not a river.

April 13, 1913 – The Princess Sophia struck Sentinel Island Reef and was damaged. Five years later she was wrecked on close by Vanderbilt Reef with the loss of all 343 people (the number varies) on board.

April 14, 1938 – The Hydaburg Cooperative Association ratifies Alaska’s first Indian Reorganization Act constitution.

April 15, 1929 – Anscel Eckmann arrived at Juneau in a Lockheed Vega plane, the first non-stop flight from Seattle to Alaska.

April 16, 1959 – The first Alaska State Legislature adjourned after being in session since January 26.

April 17, 1869 – The Army established Fort Kenay at the old Russian town of Fort St. Nicholas, today known as Kenai.

April 18, 1913 – John F. A. Strong, owner of the Alaska Daily Empire, a Juneau newspaper, was appointed Governor of Alaska.

April 19, 1933 – John W. Troy, owner of the Daily Alaska Empire, was inaugurated as he 12th governor of Alaska.

April 20, 1888 – The Metlakahtla post office was established on Annette Island with Fr. William Duncan as postmaster. The office was discontinued in 1889, reopened in 1892, closed again in 1895 an finally reestablished April 20, 1904, with the spelling Metlakatla.

April 21, 1913 – President Woodrow Wilson signed an Executive Order establishing a reservation for the Chilkat Natives at Klukwan.

April 22, 1917 – A cave-in and flooding closed the Treadwell and Mexican mines on Douglas Island.

April 23, 1869 – The Alaska Times, a weekly newspaper, began publication in Sitka. It was the first newspaper printed in Alaska.

April 24, 1956 – The voters of Alaska approved the constitution adopted at Fairbanks in February by a vote of 17,447 to 7,180 and adopted a “Tennessee plan” to send an unofficial three-member delegation to Congress. Ernest Gruening and William Egan were named delegates to the Senate, Ralph J. Rivers to the House.

April 25, 1840 – Sir James Douglas of the Hudson’s Bay Company, arrived at Sitka to negotiate a treaty.

April 26, 1875 – Charles D. Jones was born at Zanesville, Ohio. He was a member of the first Alaska Territorial Senate, was appointed U.S. Marshal at Nome and returned to the Senate for a term in the 1950s.

April 27, 1933 – The Admiral Watson sailed from Seattle for Alaska, the last sailing of a ship of the pioneer Pacific Steamship Co. which was going out of business.

April 28, 1898 – The townsite of Council City on Seward Peninsula was staked and a mining district formed.

April 29, 1958 – The last Territorial Primary Election was held, a “lost” election because it was annulled by the first state primary in August.

April 30, 1913 – The Alaska Pioneers’ Home bill was approved by Governor Walter Clark.


May 1, 1914 – Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane announced the selection of the Susitna route for the government railroad. The rails would extend from Seward on the coast to Fairbanks. On this date 25 years later, in 1939, the Interstate Commerce Commission authorized the Copper River & Northwestern Railroad, another major link between the coast and the Interior, to abandon its route.

May 2, 1778 – Captain James Cook, British navigator and explorer, sighted and named Mount Edgecumbe at the entrance to Sitka Sound. He is believed to have named it for a mountain near Plymouth, England.

May 3, 1917 – Governor John F. A. Strong approved a bill that created the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, today the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

May 4, 1911 – At Cordova a group of residents, irate because nearby coal fields had been closed to entry, shoveled a quantity of Canadian coal from the wharf into the bay. The event became known as the Cordova Coal Party.

May 5, 1898 – Tom Lopp and Native reindeer herders returned to Wales after driving more than 400 reindeer 700 miles to Barrow. This feat was part of the “Overland Relief Expedition” to supply food to whalers unexpectedly trapped in the ice in the fall of 1897 off Barrow.

May 6, 1941 – A B-19 bomber was the first plane to land on the still unpaved Yakutat airfield.

May 7, 1906 – An Act of Congress providing for a Delegate in Congress from Alaska was approved by President Theodore Roosevelt.

May 8, 1871 – John H. Kinkead closed his mercantile business and left Sitka. He had been the town’s first postmaster and had served briefly as mayor. He would return in 1884 as Alaska’s first governor.

May 9, 1879 – Alonzo E. Austin arrived in Sitka with John Brady. Two years later he opened a boarding school for Native boys, the beginnings of the Sheldon Jackson School, now Sheldon Jackson College.

May 10, 1957 – President Dwight Eisenhower nominated Mike Stepovich to be governor of territorial Alaska. Stepovich served as the last governor before Alaska became a state.

May 11, 1852 – Charles Warren Fairbanks was born in Ohio. He became Vice President of the United States and Fairbanks, Alaska, was named for him.

May 12, 1898 – Dr. Charles C. Georgeson arrived in Sitka to begin the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s experiment station program in Alaska. He picked the hill where Baranov’s Castle had stood as the site for the administrative building.

May 13, 1866 – Major Robert Kennicott, a member of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, died unexpectedly at Nulato. Several geographic features and a state ferry have been named for him, directly or indirectly.

May 14, 1898 – An Act of Congress was approved granting a right of way for the White Pass & Yukon railroad from Skagway to the Canadian border.

May 15, 1926 – The dirgible Norge with Roald Amundsen on board, arrived at Teller, Alaska, after flying over the North Pole from Norway.

May 16, 1924 – The Army’s Round-the-World fliers left Attu Island for Paramashiru Island, the longest leg of the trip and most of it over water. They landed successfully.

May 17, 1906 – Congress passed the Alaska Native Allotment Act authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to allot 160 acres to Alaska Natives. The land would be inalienable and non-taxable. Administrative interpretations of the law, however, would limit the number of Natives qualifying for the land for nearly three-quarters of a century.

May 18, 1937 – Construction of a Navy air base was commenced on Japonski Island, a Navy reserve since 1891.

May 19, 1932 – The German armed cruiser Karlsruhe arrived at Juneau on a round-the-world cruise.

May 20, 1909 – Walter Eli Clark was appointed the 7th governor of the District of Alaska. In 1912 he became the first governor of the Territory of Alaska.

May 21, 1913 – John F. A. Strong was appointed the 8th governor of Alaska, the first man appointed to the position after Alaska became a territory. In 1918, soon after he was reappointed to the office, he was asked to resign when it was disclosed that he was still a Canadian citizen.

May 22, 1906 – A devastating fire swept through the Fairbanks business district.

May 23, 1935 – Officials held a drawing at the newly established Matanuska Colony to award the first 200 tracts to the settlers of this government-sponsored relief and development project.

May 24, 1894 – St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka was threatened by a fire that destroyed a nearby building. Valuables were removed from the cathedral and returned the following day. In 1966 the cathedral was destroyed by fire but was subsequently rebuilt.

May 25, 1799 – Alexander Baranov arrived on Sitka Sound from Kodiak to establish a post for the newly organized Russian American Company of which he was chief manager.

May 26, 1900 – Congress passed a bill creating the Washington-Alaska Cable System. Over the cable Alaska would be connected to the worldwide telegraphic system.

May 27, 1905 – The steamer White Seal was launched at Fairbanks, the first registered vessel to be built on the Tanana River.

May 28, 1867 – The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty providing for the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Ninety-one years later, on May 28, 1958, the House of Representatives passed the Alaska statehood bill by a vote of 208-166.

May 29, 1943 – The U.S. Army activated the Shemya post with 236 officers, seven of them women, and 4,565 enlisted men.

May 30, 1778 – The vessels of Captain James Cook discovered Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet.

May 31, 1977 – The final weld was completed on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.[/symple_toggle]


June 1, 1909 – The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opened in Seattle on what is now the campus of the University of Washington.

June 2, 1840 – The British flag replaced the Russian flag over Fort Dionysius and the Hudson’s Bay Company changed the name to Fort Stikine. In 1868 the name was changed to Fort Wrangell and the American flag was raised.

June 3, 1942 – Japanese planes from two carriers bombed Fort Mears at Dutch Harbor and fighter planes strafed the fort, the Navy station, and Unalaska village. Twenty-five soldiers and sailors were killed. The Japanese made a second attack the following day. In all, 44 were killed and 71 were wounded in the two attacks.

June 4, 1741 – Vitus Bering and Alexi Chirikov sailed from Kamchatka an a voyage that resulted in the Russian discovery of Alaska.

June 5, 1915 – The Anchorage Times published its first issue.

June 6, 1914 – A government survey party landed at Ship Creek, Cook Inlet, to begin surveying a railroad to Fairbanks. The camp they established later became the town of Anchorage.

June 7, 1942 – Japanese troops landed on Attu Island in the Aleutians and made prisoners of the Aleut residents and a school teacher and his wife. They were unopposed by American forces.

June 8, 1957 – Michael Anthony Stepovich was sworn in at Juneau as the 15th and last appointed governor of Alaska.

June 9, 1947 – The Farwest Fisheries Company cannery at Wrangell was destroyed in a $150,000 fire.

June 10, 1883 – Explorer Frederick Schwatka started over the Dyea Trail on his way to start his examination of the Yukon River.

June 11, 1913 – The 668-ton iron-hulled steamer Yukon was wrecked on Sanak Island during a fog. Her 3 passengers and 42 crew members were rescued by Revenue Cutter Tahoma.

June 12, 1924 – President Calvin Coolidge created the Sitka National Cemetery by executive order.

June 13, 1898 – The Fort Egbert military reservation was established on the outskirts of the town of Eagle on the Yukon River.

June 14, 1944 – Fire destroyed much of the town of Hoonah, and with it many important Tlingit cultural objects.

June 15, 1867 – HMS Sparrowhawk arrived from Victoria carrying Governor Frederick Seymour of British Columbia who came to settle Hudson’s Bay Company affairs in Russian America. The company had much of Southeastern Alaska under lease from the Russians.

June 16, 1963 – The University of Alaska made its only appearance on the television quiz show “General Electric College Bowl.” U of A lost to defending champion Temple University.

June 17, 1953 – The military port of Whittier was virtually destroyed by a $20-million fire said to have been the most costly fire in Alaska.

June 18, 1945 – General Simon Bolivar Buckner, who had commanded all troops in Alaska during the early years of the war, was killed at Okinawa.

June 19, 1912 – By executive order President William Howard Taft set aside land for the new town of Hydaburg.

June 20, 1940 – A Pan American Airways plane took off from Fairbanks. It carried mail that would be delivered mail at Seattle the next day, thus initiating the fastest airmail service between Interior Alaska and the Lower 48 states.

June 21, 1890 – President Benjamin Harrison reserved Indian River Park in Sitka from the land laws. It is now part of Sitka National Historic Park.

June 22, 1865 – The Confederate raider Shenandoah fired the last shot of the Civil War in the western Bering Sea where she had raided Yankee whalers.

June 23, 1888 – The Lutheran Church at Sitka, built of logs and the first Protestant church in Alaska, was being razed by order of the District Court because of its poor condition.

June 24, 1894 – The Circle City townsite was staked following the discovery of gold on Birch Creek.

June 25, 1897 – The Alaska Commercial Company steamer Alice arrived at St. Michael with the first shipment of Klondike gold.

June 26, 1940 – Fairbanks’ first paved street – Second Avenue – opened to traffic. The local newspaper claimed that this was the “farthest north” paved road in America.

June 27, 1940 – Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Field were activated near Anchorage.

June 28, 1928 – The post office, Province Hotel, and other business buildings at Hyder were destroyed in a $100,000 fire.

June 29, 1978 – Alaska created Wood-Tikchik State Park.

June 30, 1958 – The U.S. Senate passed the Alaska Statehood bill 64-20 and sent it to President Dwight Eisenhower.


July 1, 1935 – The Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines became the University of Alaska as a result of an act of the territorial legislature.

July 2, 1922 – What was said to have been the first radio broadcast “north of 53” went on the air at Nome. The station was installed by Captain C. H. Burkhead of the U.S. Signal Corps. The broadcast was heard at St. Michael and Nulato.

July 3, 1913 – The first airplane flight in Alaska occurred at Fairbanks. The pilot was Army Captain J. V. Martin.

July 4, 1884 – John H. Kinkead of Nevada was appointed Alaska’s first governor. He had previously lived in Sitka from 1867 until 1872.

July 5, 1869 – The steamboat Yukon entered the Yukon River, the first steamer to do so.

July 6, 1921 – A fire at Katalla destroyed the plant of the Chilkat Oil Company.

July 7. 1958 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into law.

July 8, 1937 – Radio telephone service was inaugurated between Juneau and Seattle. The cost for 3 minutes was $9 during the day, $6 evenings and weekends.

July 9, 1953 – Mount Spurr erupted northwest of Anchorage and coated that city with volcanic ash.

July 10, 1899 – Fort Gibbon military reserve was established near Tanana by executive order of President McKinley.

July 11, 1921 – The last of the old Russian blockhouses at Sitka was razed by the Coast & Geodetic Survey because its iron spikes interferred with the instruments at the nearby magnetic observatory.

July 12, 1776 – Captain James Cook sailed from England on a voyage of exploration that brought him to Alaska.

July 13, 1921 – Scott C. Bone took office as the tenth governor of Alaska.

July 14, 1804 – The Russian ship Neva, Captain Urey Lisianski, arrived at Kodiak on a voyage around the world.

July 15, 1923 – At Nenana President Warren G. Harding drove the golden spike that signified the completion of the Alaska Railroad.

July 16, 1786 – The King George, with Captain Nathaniel Portlock, and the Queen Charlotte, with Captain George Dixon, arrived on Cook Inlet.

July 17, 1897 – The steamer Portland arrived in Seattle with what the headlines said was “a ton of gold.” The Klondike gold rush was on.

July 18, 1881 – The Rev. and Mrs. Eugene Willard arrived at Portage on Lynn Canal and established Haines Mission.

July 19, 1888 – John H. Keatley took office as U. S. District Judge for Alaska, the fourth man to hold that office.

July 20, 1897 – Carl Ben Eielson, pioneer Alaska aviator and for whom Eielson Air Force Base was named, was born in North Dakota.

July 21, 1922 – Jay Hammond, Alaska’s governor from 1974 to 1980, was born.

July 22, 1902 – Felix Pedro discovered gold on Cleary Creek near present Fairbanks.

July 23, 1907 – President Theodore Roosevelt issued a Proclamation establishing the Chugach National Forest.

July 24, 1897 – Congress created the office of Surveyor General and ex-officio Secretary of Alaska. The latter office is now known as Lieutenant Governor.

July 25, 1924 – The Alaska Sanitary Packing Co. cannery at Wrangell was destroyed by fire.

July 26, 1950 – A. E. “Cap” Lathrop, one of Alaska’s leading entrepreneurs, was killed when struck by a railroad car at the Suntrana coal mine.

July 27, 1868 – The U.S. Customs Service created a district for Alaska with its headquarters at Sitka.

July 28, 1899 – Fire destroyed the U.S. Army post, Camp Dyea, at the head of Lynn Canal.

July 29, 1905 – The sailing ship Star of Russia of the Alaska Packers fleet was stranded on Chirikof Island and sustained damage of $56,000 but was salvaged.

July 30, 1904 – The USS Burnside, laying a telegraph cable between Seattle and Sitka, sent the first message over the cable.

July 31, 1869 – The steamer Active arrived in Sitka with former Secretary of State William H. Seward and his party on board.


August 1, 1977 – The first tanker with Prudhoe Bay oil, the ARCO Juneau, left Valdez.

August 2, 1924 – Fire destroyed the power plant at the Kennecott mine.

August 3, 1908 – The first automobile in Fairbanks, a Pope-Toledo, arrived for David Laiti.

August 4, 1938 – Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, sailed from Seattle on an inspection trip to Alaska.

August 5, 1909 – The George C. Thomas Memorial Library was dedicated at Fairbanks.

August 6, 1920 – The cannery of the Straits Packing Company burned at Skowl Arm of Kasaan Bay.

August 7, 1938 – A Pan-American Airways “Baby Clipper” landed on the Juneau airfield in a trial flight.

August 8, 1931 – Col. and Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh landed at Barrow en route to the Orient.

August 9, 1899 – The U.S. Revenue Marine service steamer Nunivak entered the Yukon River to commence patrol duties.

August 10, 1728 – Vitus Bering discovered St. Lawrence Island.

August 11, 1900 – The Nome Daily Chronicle began publication. In September it changed to weekly publication and the following June it closed down.

August 12, 1869 – William H. Seward, the former Secretary of State who was instrumental in the purchase of Alaska, delivered an address to an overflow crowd at the Lutheran Church in Sitka.

August 13, 1974 – The USS Anchorage, on a tour of Alaska ports, arrived in Sitka harbor for a three-day stay.

August 14, 1906 – The first official election was held to name a Delegate in Congress for Alaska. Actually, two Delegates were elected: Frank Waskey for a short term, Thomas Cale for a full term.

August 15, 1935 – Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed in a plane crash near Barrow.

August 16, 1920 – Juneau had its first airplane overflight when one of the four planes of the Black Wolf Squadrom passed over on its way to Nome.

August 17, 1896 – George Carmack and companions discovered gold. Canada’s Yukon Territory celebrates the anniversary as Klondike Discovery Day.

August 18, 1903 – U.S. Senator W. P. Dillingham arrived at Sitka on the Revenue Cutter McCullouch on a tour of Alaska. The town of Dillingham was later named for him.

August 19, 1935 – Alton C. Nordale, a Territorial Legislator, died in a plane crash near Healy River.

August 20, 1953 – The Northern Commercial Company displayed the first TVs to arrive in Fairbanks at the Tanana Valley fairgrounds. Prices ranged from $259 to $419.

August 21, 1922 – A fire at Haines destroyed the post office and other buildings.

August 22, 1794 – Captain George Vancouver and his ships sailed from Port Conclusion, Baranof Island, ending his Alaska surveys.

August 23, 1911 – Fire destroyed the Alaska Steamship Company warehouse at Cordova.

August 24, 1912 – President William Howard Taft signed the Organic Act which created the Territory of Alaska. The signing took place on the birthday of Delegate James Wickersham, author of the bill.

August 25, 1900 – The USS Wheeling arrived in Sitka from the Philippines after taking part in the Spanish-American War.

August 26, 1958 – Voters in the first Alaska State Primary Election approved the Statehood Enabling Act 40,452 to 8,010 and nominated candidates for Governor, Secretary of State, members of Congress and for the first State Legislature.

August 27, 1911 – G/s F.S. Redfield stranded on Cape Prince of Wales. All 23 people aboard survived.

August 28, 1903 – The Santa Ana landed 200 people at Seward. The date was long observed there as Founders Day.

August 29, 1885 – Lieutenant Henry Allen reached St. Michael after exploring the Copper and Yukon Rivers.

August 30, 1918 – Father William Duncan died at Metlakatla, a town he was instrumental in founding in 1887.

August 31, 1953 – Ted Stevens was appointed as the U.S. District Attorney in Fairbanks, his first government job in Alaska.


September 1, 1906 – Roald Amundsen and the Gjoa reached Nome after the first traverse of the Northwest Passage.

September 2, 1935 – The first bridge connecting Douglas Island with Juneau opened.

September 3, 1941 – The Army activated a post at Nome with nine officers and 221 enlisted men.

September 4, 1794 – The Phoenix, the first ship built in Alaska, sailed from Resurrection Bay.

September 5, 1881 – Alaska held its first election. A total of 294 voters cast ballots at Sitka, Harrisburg (Juneau), Wrangell, Killisnoo, and Shakan and elected M. D. Ball of Sitka as an unofficial delegate to Congress.

September 6, 1867 – General Jefferson C. Davis was appointed commander of the Military District of Alaska. He served in that office until the district was abolished on July 1, 1870.

September 7, 1884 – The First Presbyterian Church of Sitka was organized.

September 8, 1906 – The office of the Governor of Alaska was moved from Sitka to Juneau. The rest of the District government and the Customs District headquarters had already moved.

September 9, 1947 – Fire destroyed the Gilson store and bank and the Seattle Hotel at Valdez.

September 10, 1918 – The “golden spike” was driven along the rail line connecting Seward and Anchorage.

September 11, 1958 – Robert W. Service died at Monte Carlo, age 85.

September 12, 1922 – The Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines was dedicated. (Also reported as being on the 13th)

September 13, 1955 – In a Special Election, 55 delegates were chosen to the Constitutional Convention which was to convene at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in November.

September 14, 1917 – Pioneer Hall in Fairbanks opened with a potlatch dance.

September 15, 1948 – The parcel post zone system was established in Alaska.

September 16, 1929 – Pilot Russ Merrill lost his life when his plane went down in Cook Inlet. Merrill Field in Anchorage and Merrill Pass in the Alaska Range are named for him.

September 17, 1868 – The Alaska Commercial Company was incorporated at San Francisco.

September 18, 1948 – Eielson Air Force Base was formally dedicated.

September 19, 1903 – The Fairbanks News was established. Today it survives as the Fairbanks News-Miner.

September 20, 1914 – The Revenue Cutter Tahoma was wrecked in the Aleutian Islands, a $750,000 loss.

September 21, 1891 – The first Siberian reindeer in Alaska were landed at Unalaska by the Revenue Cutter Bear.

September 22, 1898 – Discovery claim was staked on Anvil Creek near Cape Nome and the future city of Nome.

September 23, 1928 – Erik Lindblom, one of the “three lucky Swedes” of the Nome gold discovery, died in Berkeley, California.

September 24, 1918 – President Woodrow Wilson established the Katmai National Monument.

September 25, 1907 – A gun battle took place in Keystone Canyon near Valdez over the right-of-way for a railroad.

September 26, 1867 – President William Howard Taft issued Executive Order 1248, transferring land on Hawkins Island, near Cordova, from the Navy Department to the War Department for a site for coast defense fortifications.

September 27, 1957 – The Richfield Oil Company completed its well No. 1 near the Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula. The company had struck oil with the well on July 23.

September 28, 1922 – The library of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines officially put its first book on its shelves. Alaska – Its Meaning to the World was the first volume of what is now the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

September 29, 1849 – Frederick Schwatka, who became noted as an explorer of Alaska, was born in Galena, Illinois.

September 30, 1902 – Tom Gilmore located the discovery claim on Vault Creek in the Tanana District.


October 1, 1899 – The All-American mail route was opened from Valdez to Circle City and other points an the Yukon River.

October 2, 1903 – Telegraphic communication was established between Sitka and Juneau via submarine cable.

October 3, 1942 – The Whittier Army post was activated with one officer and 15 enlisted men.

October 4, 1943 – The Alaska Glacier Seafood plant at Petersburg was destroyed by fire, a $100,000 loss.

October 5, 1913 – A storm at Nome caused damage of one million dollars.

October 6, 1869 – The Fort Wrangle post office was established. The name later changed to Wrangell.

October 7, 1911 – The Ruby Record, a weekly newspaper, was established.

October 8, 1915 – William A. Egan, who became a three-term governor of the State of Alaska, was born in Valdez.

October 9, 1923 – The MV Kennecott, Alaska Steamship Co. freighter, went to pieces on the Queen Charlotte Islands on her maiden voyage from Alaska.

October 10, 1951 – Fire destroyed the Lathrop Building in Cordova, a $500,000 loss.

October 11, 1915 – The river steamboat Tyconda burned at Anchorage; all 10 persons on board escaped.

October 12, 1930 – Pilot Ralph Wien and two Catholic priests were killed in a plane crash at Kotzebue.

October 13, 1960 – Alaska Methodist University was dedicated at Anchorage. It is now Alaska Pacific University.

October 14, 1865 – Sydney Laurence, who gained fame as an Alaska artist, was born in Brooklyn, New York.

October 15, 1957 – The U.S. Forest Service awarded the Alaska Lumber & Pulp Company at Sitka a contract for five and a quarter billion board feet of timber.

October 16, 1929 – The Presbyterian Church at Wrangell, the oldest one in Alaska, was destroyed by fire.

October 17, 1873 – Thomas Riggs, who became the 9th governor of Alaska, was born in Maryland.

October 18, 1867 – In a formal transfer ceremony, Russians at Sitka lowered their flag for the last time and newly arrived American troops raised the Stars and Stripes over the United States’ recent acquisition.

October 19, 1951 – Fifty years ago today the Seward Highway connecting Anchorage and Seward opened. It connected to the Sterling Highway that had opened to Homer the previous year. The Seward Highway was to be paved in 1952.

October 20, 1897 – The Fort St. Michael military reservation was established.

October 21, 1904 – The Dillingham post office was established, named for U. S. Senator William P. Dillingham who had visited the town.

October 22, 1916 – The cornerstone was laid for the Masonic Building at 4th Avenue and F Street, Anchorage.

October 23, 1960 – William R. Wood was inaugurated as the fourth president of the University of Alaska.

October 24, 1887 – The Alaskan Society of History and Ethnology was founded at Sitka and it founded the Sheldon Jackson Museum.

October 25, 1916 – The Old Kasaan National Monument was established at a deserted Indian village on Prince of Wales island.

October 26, 1909 – Alfred P. Swineford, the second governor of the District of Alaska (1885-1889) died at Juneau.

October 27, 1778 – Captain James Cook, the British explorer, left Unalaska for Hawaii where he was killed the following year.

October 28, 1936 – The Matanuska Valley Cooperative Association was organized at Palmer.

October 29, 1904 – The Knik post office was established at the head of Knik Arm of Cook Inlet.

October 30, 1938 – The cornerstone was laid at the Shrine of St. Terese on Shrine Island, near Juneau.

October 31, 1935 – Ferry service between Juneau and Douglas, which had commenced in the 1880, was discontinued upon completion of a bridge.


November 1, 1947 – A retail sales tax took effect at Sitka; it was the first in Alaska.

November 2, 1920 – Anchorage residents voted 328 to 130 to incorporate as a first class city.

November 3, 1942 – Construction crews building the Alaska Highway from the north and south met at “break through,” 20 miles east of the Alaska boundary.

November 4, 1884 – The first U.S. District Court was formally organized at Sitka.

November 5, 1912 – An election selected 24 members, 8 in the Senate, 16 in the House, for the first Territorial Legislature

November 6, 1940 – An entire block, including the post office and a hotel, were destroyed by fire at McCarthy.

November 7, 1938 – Construction began on a long awaited small boat harbor at Juneau.

November 8, 1955 – The Alaska Constitutional Convention convened on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

November 9, 1929 – Carl Ben Eielsen and Earl Borland were killed when their plane was wrecked in Siberia.

November 10, 1897 – The Skagway post office was established.

November 11, 1863 – Hudson Stuck, who became an Episcopal priest and the author of several books on Alaska, was born in England.

November 12, 1910 – The steamer Portland, known as the “Gold Ship” was wrecked at Katalla, a total loss.

November 13, 1913 – The bark A. J. Fuller, loaded with Alaska canned salmon, was rammed by a steamer at Seattle and sunk.

November 14, 1938 – The Copper River and Northwestern Railroad, with track from Cordova to Kennecott, discontinued operation.

November 15, 1907 – The business section of Cleary near Fairbanks was destroyed by fire.

November 16, 1973 – Congress passed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act, which cleared the way for construction of an oil pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

November 17, 1916 – A 40-man detachment from the U.S. Infantry arrived to take station at Anchorage.

November 18, 1959 – The first pulp was produced by the Alaska Lumber & Pulp Company at Sitka.

November 19, 1942 – Driving of the Portage-Whittier tunnel was started. It was holed through a year later.

November 20, 1909 – Igloo No. 4, Pioneers of Alaska, held its organizational meeting at Fairbanks.

November 21, 1900 – The Uyak post office was established.

November 22, 1942 – The Alcan Highway, as it was first named, was dedicated near Lake Kluane.

November 23, 1941 – Two business blocks in Seward were destroyed by fire.

November 24, 1947 – The freighter Clarksdale Victory was wrecked on Hippa Island in British Columbia.

November 25, 1922 – The Alaska Electric Light & Power Company installed a 20-watt radio broadcast station at Juneau.

November 26, 1867 – The first bill was introduced in Congress to organize the Territory of Alaska. It died in committee.

November 27, 1886 – John Charles Sehgers, Bishop of Vancouver Island, was murdered on the Yukon River.

November 28, 1931 – The passenger steamer Alameda of the Alaska Steamship Company was gutted by fire at Seattle.

November 29, 1930 – Operations were suspended at the copper mine at Latouche on the island of the same name.

November 30, 1895 – Peter Trimble Rowe was consecrated as the Episcopal Bishop of Alaska.


December 1, 1894 – The Yukon Order of Pioneers was organized at Fortymile on the Yukon River.

December 2, 1980 – Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, converting massive tracts across Alaska into National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and other protective designations.

December 3, 1906 – Frank H. Waskey was seated as the first Delegate in Congress from Alaska.

December 4, 1932 – The public school building at Fairbanks was destroyed by fire.

December 5, 1905 – Roald Amundsen, the Arctic explorer, reached Eagle on the Yukon River after traveling overland from Herschel Island.

December 6, 1907 – Fire started in the Model Cafe at Fairbanks, burned it, a drug store, and a men’s clothing store.

December 7, 1960 – The Arctic National Wildlife Range was created by the Secretary of the Interior.

December 8, 1900 – The steamer City of Topeka went aground on Sullivan Island in Lynn Canal but was salvaged.

December 8, 1741 – Vitus Bering, homeward bound after his discovery of Alaska, died on Bering Island.

December 8, 1960 – The Lazy Mountain Children’s Home near Palmer was destroyed by fire.

December 9, 1937 – Benjamin B. Mozee was issued a commission as U. S. Marshal for the Second Judicial Division, at Nome.

December 10, 1910 – The steamer Olympia was wrecked on Bligh Island in Prince William Sound, a total loss.

December 11, 1938 – The M/V Patterson ran ashore 8 miles west of Cape Fairweather, a total loss.

December 12, 1957 – The Coast Guard Cutter Storis arrived at Juneau after traversing the Northwest Passage around North America.

December 13, 1883 – The Custom House at Sitka, a log building built by the Russians, was gutted by fire.

December 14, 1940 – The Valdez Federal Building, which housed the U. S. District Court and Marshal’s office, burned.

December 15, 1950 – Frank A. Boyle, the Territorial Auditor, died at Juneau. The Assistant Auditor, Neil Moore, replaced him.

December 16, 1871 – George A. Edes was appointed Collector of Customs for Alaska with headquarters at Sitka.

December 17, 1959 – A PBY plane operated by the Stanford Research Institute, disappeared near Ketchikan. The wreck was later found an Gravina Island.

December 18, 1971 – Thirty years ago Congress enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act conveying over 40 million acres to Alaska Native-owned corporations and settling aboriginal land claims.

December 19, 1962 – There was a $300,000 fire at the Cape Lisburne Air Force Station.

December 20, 1905 – The SS Portland stranded on Spire Island Reef near Ketchikan, suffered $20,000 damage.

December 20, 1920 – The SS Dora, long a mail steamer on Alaska routes, wrecked at Hardy Bay, Vancouver Island, a total loss.

December 21, 1906 – The first message was sent via submarine cable between Juneau and Wrangell.

December 22, 1919 – The trading store of the Sons of Norway at Petersburg was destroyed by fire.

December 23, 1946 – The Auke Bay post office near Juneau opened for business.

December 24, 1906 – Ketchikan received telegraphic service by submarine cable.

December 25, 1929 – The U.S. Army Signal Corps radio station at Nome was destroyed by fire.

December 26, 1946 – Dr. Raymond Banister and Harold Roth disappeared after flying from Seward.

December 27, 1911 – The American halibut fishing steamer Grant, a former Revenue Cutter, was wrecked on Banks Island in British Columbia.

December 28, 1934 – A Juneau lodge of the Sons of Norway was initiated at the Odd Fellows Hall.

December 29, 1906 – The Elliott Creek post office was established. It was discontinued at the end of the year 1910.

December 30, 1938 – E. W. Griffen, Secretary of Alaska, died suddenly at Juneau.

December 31, 1917 – All saloons and liquor stores in Alaska were to close at midnight under a new law approved by a majority of Alaska voters.[/symple_toggle]