What's this flag flying on a fort at Kodiak, Alaska?

What's this flag flying on a fort at Kodiak, Alaska?

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Naval captain Yuri Lisianskii drew a harbor scene in Alaska about 1805. It was engraved in England for an edition of his book.

(High-res version)

In the image, from left to right, there are flags flying on a building, a ship, and a fort. The flag on the building is the simple tricolor of Peter the Great that Russia uses today. The flag on the ship is the ensign of the Imperial Navy. However, after comparing to other Russian flags and the flag of the Russian-American Company, I can't identify the third one.

What's that flag?

What is the strange third flag? I would say nothing we can identify, its an error by the engraver and doesn't represent what was seen (or drawn) by Lysianskyi. Let me explain.

Once again comments touch on the truth of the matter, one comment pointing out the incorrect colors on another flag in the image:

Hmmmm - isn't Peter the Great's flag White ?top stripe, Blue center stripe, Red bottom stripe? Thus picture has the red and blue inverted… regardless, no idea on the one in question. - Kerry L Dec 6 '18 at 22:14

We can take a look at that other flag:

If we compare that to known information concerning the Russian American Company flags, we find that this flag should be the commercial flag of Russia.

White over blue, over red. But this not what is depicted in this illustration.

@Pieter Geerkens in comments point out

rigging on the ships is exquisitely detailed

, so we should accept the rest as equally correct, but there's a problem with that, and we aren't the first to notice this discrepancy. The point being that what we are seeing represents the work of two different individuals.

Our problem is discussed in an article by Dr. Svetlana G. Federova, originally published by the Academy of Sciences, U.S.S.R., a translation of which appeared in the Pacific Historian, vol 14, No. 1, winter 1978, discussing The Flag of the Russo-American Company. This is available on a PDF at Here is a clipping from that article discussing the apparent discrepancies over what was observed vs what was drawn (sorry I had to resort to an image, the font used does not ocr well):

From this we can gather a couple of points:

  • The original drawing was in 'black India ink on blue paper'
  • The original drawing of this flag bore no resemblance to what appeared in the later edition.

The fact that this image shows such detail on the ships rigging might be due to the fact that this aspect of the original is essentially in black and white and there was no confusion there. But from the rest of the above paragraph it is quite apparent that this image does not represent what was drawn in the original hand written journal. Even though this article is discussing a different portion of the image than the OP, I see little reason to believe that the questioned flag is being displayed any more accurately then the first.

We have been chasing an artists (mis)conception.

---Update--- After seeing this Information, @Aaron Brick was able to find another publication by Dr. Federova which actually showed the inked original by Lisianskii, and which seems to confirm my suspicions:

Pulled out my volume of Fedorova and surprise, it contains Lisiansky's india ink drawings of the two harbors. His tricolors have the middle band darkest as they should, while the mystery flag, almost too small to see, appears to have a simple cross… Aaron Brick

Kodiak Airport

Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport (IATA: ADQ, ICAO: PADQ, FAA LID: ADQ) is a public and military use airport located four nautical miles (5 mi, 7 km) southwest of the central business district of Kodiak, [1] a city on Kodiak Island in the U.S. state of Alaska. The airport is state-owned and operated by the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF). [1] It is home to the co-located Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and a hub for Servant Air. On April 11, 2013, the Alaska State Legislature passed SB31, [2] which renamed the facility "Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport," in honor of the designer of the Alaskan flag.

This airport is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a primary commercial service airport. [3] As per Federal Aviation Administration records, the airport had 82,057 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, [4] 78,375 enplanements in 2009, and 80,303 in 2010. [5]

Holiday Beach, the MOVIE

  • Timeline for Aleutian campaign and Kodiak
      from park kiosk, amended
    • Alaska Communications System, Signal Hill in charge of base construction photographer, actor, newspaper man. by Carrol Adcock
    • 250th Coast Artillery Historical and Pictorial Review 1941 Camp McQuaide California new Dec 2013 12 images Battery D, 250th CA, 69 images supply officer, 215 CA AA , Submarine Base 1944 (page 1 - 2 - 3.) , NOJ Commsta 1979-1980 (Includes Great Buskin River Raft Race.) , NOJ Commsta 1955 , Navy Security Group Chiniak , Navy Security Police 1967-68 , 215th CA (AA) , Navy Base 1967 215 CA (AA) maintained the large artillery pieces 1947-49. of several units in 1949, Army, Navy, Marines. Leslie Gehres albums Army Dock WWII, 30 images over 250 images 79th Construction Battalion , addendum, 76 photos in high resolution 79th Construction Battalion - 174 photos during base construction 1939-1940, text index - 105 photos from circa 1960 with thumbnail index - from Daniel Jessup 1950 - 6 undated photos USN Net Depot, Woody Island. with 90 WW II images. US Army 151st Combat Engineers. US Army 151st Combat Engineers. USN Fleet Weather Central tent city, etc. , unit insignias, etc. , USNS Funston, base aerial 50's, 5 photos. , 1967-1970. White Alice circa 1958. from large photos in the hall at the borough. photos from the tsnaumi era with a few of Anchorage
    • Cruise Ship Schedule calling at Kodiak: 20192020
    • The Naturalist Dave Evans, researcher.
    • Air Force Tracking Station
      • Bob Siptrott's Chiniak Tracking Station pages
      • PROJECT CORONA, launches
      • Chiniak Tracking Station December 2000 photos
      • Pictures of the AC&W / Air Force Tracking Station at Chiniak.
      • Smaker's Story
      • Miles France's story, circa 1971
      • Naval Facility Chiniak Direction Finder Station.
      • Coast Guard Facility Chiniak Direction Finder Station.
      • Site Inspection Report, Naval Defensive Sea Area, Kodiak Island, Alaska, 29 July 2016source new 2019 Feb 14 7 December 1941 (More)
      • History of the navy in Kodiak, 1941-1952
      • 1965 List of structures and maps
      • The airport and some of it's structures NOJ stories & historical files
      • NAS Kodiak, Alaska - Patrol Squadron Home Pages, History, pictures and more! (Off site link)
      • Anton Larsen Pass Ski Chalet
      • Naval Station photo index - 174 photos during base construction 1939-1940, text index
      • Naval Station photo index - 105 photos from circa 1960 with thumbnail index
      • Elmer Aemmer photo album USN Net Depot, Woody Island.
      • Devil's Creek sportfish hatchery on the Naval Station.
      • U S MARINES
      • Albert Kahn, Architect
      • USCG Base modern views
      • USCGC STORIS WMEC-38 (no frames version)
      • Malcom Smith tells all (off site link)
      • Historical Report, Vol 1, 1941-1944
      • Historical Report, Vol 2.
      • Operations Bulletin, #17 (image) (image)
      • In or near the City of Kodiak
        • William Julian Army Dock WWII (Now Ocean Beauty)
        • Gibson Cove, Deadman's Curve
        • Government Dock below the Griffin Building.
        • non-military images of old Kodiak
        • Army Diesel Power Plant
        • Ft. Tidball garrison Quonsets & gun bunker
        • SCR-296A Radar, 700 MHz fire control radar
        • SCR-582 Radar with veteran story
        • BD-74 Switchboard, pretty rare item.
        • Deer Point plotting room and ammo bunkers
        • John C. Tidball 1825-1906
          was battalion radar officer.
      • Kodiak Military History Museum at Miller Point, Ft. Abercrombie
        • WWII photo album
      • Communications Station Kodiak Navy and USCG Buskin and Holiday Beach
      • Navy Base communications file 1940-1946
      • My personal telephone company career
      • Aircraft crashes
      • Collings Foundation Bombers visited Kodiak 2001 July 1-3.
        from Kodiak City and earthquake destroyed downtown Kodiak photos from the tsnaumi era with a few of Anchorage

      Alaska With Kids: Kodiak Military History Museum

      Shrouded by swirls of island fog, the entrance to Kodiak’s Military History Museum smelled of wet concrete and moss, and even though an American flag hung over the doorway, and an “Open” sign invited our family inside, we still hesitated. On a family vacation to the second-largest island in the United States, we had hiked around, crawled over, and gingerly explored inside dozens of bunkers and emplacements left over from Kodiak’s involvement in World War II at Fort Abercrombie State Park, three miles from town. Established in 1941 to provide an army presence and defensive posture from the potential invading Japanese military, and to protect nearby Kodiak Naval Operating Base, Fort Abercrombie played an important, if not critical role to the United States war effort.

      Today, bunkers, batteries, and magazines dot the park’s landscape some hidden from view by 60+ years’ accumulation of moss and forest floor duff, others standing silently erect, waiting for curious folk like us to venture inside and wonder what it might have been like to live and work enclosed in five feet of steel and reinforced concrete. For children who only discuss WWII in oblique terms in favor of focus on today’s worldwide conflicts, the museum is a valuable resource, especially for those who live in Alaska.

      The benefit of the Kodiak Military History Museum is just that – visitors are able to enter a retrofitted and renovated bunker to explore the daily life of a soldier during WWII. An all-volunteer force worked thousands of hours for permitting and construction, and the result, along with a bluff-side location, produces stunning results.

      Open on weekends and variable hours during the year, it can be tricky to show up at Fort Abercrombie and expect to visit the museum. However, volunteers are quick to point out the facility’s phone number, and true to form, someone did indeed answer my call with a schedule for the coming week.

      Visitors to the bunker are greeted by a surprise wave of warm air, thanks to a large heating system that keeps humidity down and heat, up, important when one is inside a virtual cave. Painted in the white and gray colors of the time, the walls feel solid and secure, leading one to think living like a gopher wasn’t such a bad idea during a war. With big band tunes softly completing the transformation from 21st century back to 20th, we slowly shuffled between rusty guns, American and Japanese uniforms, and a wonderful display of a bunker barracks, complete with pin-up girls, card games, and those scratchy, olive-drab blankets. For kids whose lives revolve around “stuff” and their trappings, the spartan barracks provide a reality check for teens, especially since the average age of a WWII soldier was only 22, ripe with possibility and the invincible attitude of young adulthood.

      A hop inside an old Willy jeep, a quick dress-up in a gas mask and officer garb, and we found ourselves moving through the final section, dedicated to 1940’s and ‘50‘s communication processes. In a brilliant maneuver, museum volunteers hooked up an entire switchboard and accompanying 1940’s-style rotary telephones. All work, and visitors are encouraged to dial phone numbers, listen for the switch and connection, then chatter away. AK Kid found this to be a hoot, having never dialed an actual telephone before, and he called and yakked and called again, loving the brash “rinnnnggggg” to be absolutely fascinating. A teletype, Army radio the size of my arm, and morse code/HAM radio set-up was equally intriguing, and the volunteer on duty said nothing about the taps and ticks and endless questions from our curious 8 year-old.

      History is best understood in proper perspective. Location, combined with environment, delivered us to 1941 the perfect way to honor those who spent similar days and hours far from home.

      If you go: Find the Kodiak Military History Museum inside Fort Abercrombie State Park, Mile 3.7 East Rezanof Drive. Call the office at 907-486-7015 for hours, or, if you have a few days, swing by the bunker and check the posted hours.

      Admission is $5/adults, FREE for those under 13.

      While the museum is heated, it still feels a bit damp and chilly, especially on a typical Kodiak rainy day. Bring warm jackets and sturdy walking shoes, because you’ll want to wander the rest of the park afterward.

      This museum is best suited for school-aged kids. Do watch little ones a few metal parts are displayed on the floor, and could be sharp for small fingers. Observe all posted signs and directions.

      Members of the Kiks.ádi of the indigenous Tlingit people had occupied portions of the Alaska Panhandle, including Sheetʼká Xʼáat'i (present-day Baranof Island), for some 11,000 years. [1] Alexandr Baranov (Chief Manager of the Russian-American Company) first visited the island aboard the Ekaterina in 1795 while searching for new sea otter hunting grounds. Baranov paid the Tlingit a sum for the rights to the land in order to prevent "interlopers" from conducting trade on the island.

      On 7 July 1799, Baranov, with 100 fellow Russians, sailed into Sitka Sound aboard the galley Olga, the brig Ekaterina, the packet boat Orel and a fleet of some 550 baidarkas, [2] : 25–26 carrying 700 Aleuts and 300 other natives. [3] : 175–176

      Wishing to avoid a confrontation with the Kiks.ádi, the group passed by the strategic hilltop encampment where the Tlingit had established Noow Tlein ("Big Fort") and made landfall at their second-choice building site, some 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of the colony. The location of the Russian settlement at Katlianski Bay, "Redoubt Saint Michael," is known today as Starrigavan Bay, or "Old Harbor" (from Russian старая гавань stáraya gavanʼ) The outpost consisted of a large warehouse, blacksmith shop, cattle sheds, barracks, stockade, block house, a bath house, quarters for the hunters, and a residence for Baranov.

      Though the Koloshi (the Russian name for the Tlingit, based on the Aleut name for the Tlingit) initially welcomed the newcomers, their animosity toward the Russians grew in relatively short order. The Kiks.ádi objected to the Russian traders' custom of taking native women as their wives, and were constantly taunted by other Tlingit clans who looked upon the "Sitkas" as the outsiders' kalga, or slaves. The Kiks.ádi came to realize that the Russians' continued presence demanded their allegiance to the Tsar, and that they therefore were expected to provide free labor to the Company. Competition between the two groups for the island's resources would escalate as well.

      1802 battle Edit

      Despite a number of unsuccessful Tlingit attacks against the post during the winter of 1799, business soon prospered. Urgent matters required that Baranov return to Kodiak (then capital of Russian America) in 1800. 25 Russians and 55 Aleuts, under the direction of Vasilii G. Medvednikov, were left to staff the post. In spring 1802, the population of Redoubt Saint Michael had grown to include 29 Russians, 3 British deserters, 200 Aleuts, and a few Kodiak women. It was rumored [ citation needed ] that the British (under the auspices of the Hudson's Bay Company) staged a meeting with the northern Tlingit clans in Angoon in 1801, wherein they offered muskets and gunpowder to the Tlingit in exchange for exclusive fur trading rights.

      In June 1802, a group of Tlingit warriors attacked the Russian fort at mid-day. Led by Skautlelt (Shḵ'awulyéil) and Kotleian, the raiding party massacred many, looted the sea otter pelts, and burned the settlement, including a ship under construction. A few Russians and Aleuts who had been away from the post hunting, or who had fled into the forest, subsequently reached safety and relayed news of the attack. British Captain Barber, Unicorn, [4] seized the ringleaders, rescued 3 Russians, 20 other native allies, and many of the pelts. The Unicorn then set sail for Kodiak, where it delivered the survivors and the news of the attack to Baranov on June 24. Barber extracted a ransom of 10,000 rubles for the return of the colonists — a mere 20% of his initial demand. [2] : 37–39

      Following the Kiks.ádi victory, Tlingit Shaman Stoonook, confident that the Russians would soon return, and in force, urged the clan to construct a new fortification that was capable of withstanding cannon fire, and provided an ample water supply. Despite strong opposition, the Shaman's will prevailed, and the Kiks.ádi made preparations for war. The Sitkas sent messages to their allies requesting assistance, but none was forthcoming they would face the Russian fleet on their own.

      The Tlingit chose to construct the roughly 240 feet by 165 feet (73 by 50 meters) Shís'gi Noow (the "Fort of Young Saplings") at the high water line near the mouth of the Indian River to take advantage of the long gravel beach flats that extend far out into the bay it was hoped that the shallows would prevent the Russian ships from attacking the installation at close range. Some 1,000 native spruce logs were used in the construction of 14 buildings (barabaras) and the thick palisade wall that surrounded them. The Kiks.ádi battle plan was a simple one: they would gauge the Russians' strength and intentions at Noow Tlein, then strategically retreat to the perceived safety of the new fort. Baranov returned to Sitka Sound in late September 1804 aboard the sloop-of-war Neva under the command of Lieutenant Commander Yuri Feodorovich Lisyansky. Neva was accompanied by the Ermak and two other smaller, armed sailing ships, manned by 150 promyshlenniks (fur traders), along with 400–500 Aleuts in 250 baidarkas. [5]

      In this engagement, fortune favored the Russians from the outset. On September 29, the Russians went ashore at the winter village. Lisyansky dubbed the site "Novo-Arkhangel'skaya Mikhailovskaya" (or "New Archangel Saint Michael"), a reference to the largest city in the region where Governor Baranov was born. [6] Baranov immediately sent forth envoys to the Tlingit settlement with offers of negotiation for the Noow Tlein site, all of which were rebuffed. The Tlingit merely hoped to stall the Russians long enough to allow the natives to abandon their winter village and occupy the "sapling fort" without the enemy fleet taking notice.

      However, when the Kiks.ádi sent a small, armed party to retrieve their gunpowder reserves from an island in nearby Shaaseiyi Aan (Jamestown Bay), the group (electing not to wait for the cover of darkness, instead returning in broad daylight) was spotted and engaged in brief a firefight with the Russians. An errant round struck the canoe in which the Tlingit were transporting the gunpowder, igniting the cargo and causing it to explode. When the smoke cleared, it was evident that none of the expedition, comprising upper-caste young men from each house (all future Clan leaders) and a highly respected elder, survived the encounter. Baranov's emissaries notified the Tlingit that the Russian ships would soon begin firing on the new fort. [7]

      Day One Edit

      On or about October 1, Neva was towed by the Aleut from Krestof Sound into the shoals near the mouth of the Indian River. [8] A Russian landing party, led by Baranov and accompanied by about 150 men, assaulted the Tlingit compound, only to be met by continuous volleys of gunfire. The Aleuts panicked and broke ranks, retreating to the shore where their baidarkas waited. [9] : 157–158

      The Kiks.ádi warriors, led by their new War Chief Ḵʼalyaan (Katlian) — wearing a Raven mask and armed with a blacksmith's hammer, surged out of Shis'kí Noow and engaged the attacking force in hand-to-hand combat a second wave of Tlingit emerged from the adjacent woods in a "pincer" maneuver. Baranov was seriously injured and the Russians fell back to the water's edge, just as Neva opened fire to cover the retreat. Twelve of the attackers were killed and many others injured during the melee, and the Russians were forced to abandon several small artillery pieces on the beach. [7] Lisiansky reports only two were killed, but fourteen wounded (one mortally), and they were able to save their guns. [9] : 158

      That night, the Tlingit rejoiced at having repulsed the Russian onslaught.

      Day Two Edit

      In as much as Baranov's battlefield wounds prevented him from continuing the battle, Lieutenant Commander Lisyansky assumed command, ordering his ships to begin shore bombardment of the Tlingit position. The initial barrage consisted mainly of "ranging shots" as the vessels attempted to determine the optimum firing range. Unable to breach the fort's walls, the Russians ceased fire in the early afternoon and sent a messenger ashore under a flag of truce. According to Lisyansky,

      It was constructed of wood, so thick and strong, that the shot from my guns could not penetrate it at the short distance of a cable's length. [9] : 163

      Much to the Kiks.ádi's amusement, the message demanded their surrender, which they rejected out of hand. The Tlingit replied with their own demand that the Russians surrender, which was also rejected. The Russian cannon fire resumed until nightfall. After dark, the Kiks.ádi met to consider their situation. They all believed that the Russians suffered too many losses the day before to mount another ground attack. The Tlingit's goal had been to hold out long enough to allow the northern clans to arrive and reinforce their numbers, but the shortage of gunpowder limited their ability to remain under siege, a factor that made ultimate victory seem less likely. [7] The Tlingit concluded that a change in tactics was in order: rather than suffer the ignominy of defeat on the battlefield, they formulated a strategy wherein the Clan would disappear into the surrounding forest (where they felt that the Russians could not engage them) and establish a new settlement on the northern part of the island.

      Day Three Edit

      Neva and her escorts resumed their day-long bombardment of the Tlingit fort at sunrise. The Kiks.ádi responded with offers of a truce, hostage exchanges, promises of more talks, and even the possibility of surrender. Unbeknownst to the Russians, the Clan's elderly and young children had already begun the trek to G̱aajaa Héen (Old Sitka). At nightfall, the House Chiefs met again to discuss their planned march across the island. Mothers with infant children were to depart in the morning. [7]

      Day Four Edit

      The naval cannon fire began at daybreak, halting periodically to allow the Russians to extend offers of peace to the Kiks.ádi, which were in turn rejected. That afternoon, the Tlingits' response was that they had tired of battle, and would accede to the Russian demands to evacuate Shís'gi Noow the following day. Once the sun had set, the natives held their last gathering in the sapling fort. The elders offered praise for their clansmen who had defended the Kiks.ádi homeland against a formidable enemy. The Clan gathered together for a last song, one that ended with a loud drum roll and a wail of anguish (which the Russians interpreted as a sign of their surrender). [7]

      The Tlingit then departed undetected under the cover of darkness.

      It was not until the evening of 4 October that the Kiks.ádi began their retreat. The Russians landed a large contingent of troops to secure the beachhead and to reconnoiter the area in and around Shís'gi Noow. To their great surprise, none of the natives was to be found as, unbeknownst to the Russians, the Tlingit had embarked on what is now referred to as the "Sitka Kiks.ádi Survival March". [9] : 161–162

      On 8 October, Captain Lisianski visited the abandoned Tlingit fortification, in which he estimated eight hundred males lived, and recorded:

      . what anguish did I feel, when I saw, like a second massacre of innocents, numbers of young children lying together murdered, lest their cries, if they had been borne away with their cruel parents, should have led to a discovery of the retreat. [9] : 162–163

      The fort was razed to preclude the possibility of its being used as a stronghold against the Russians and their allies ever again. Neva sailed out of Sitka Sound on 10 November. [5]

      In January 2021, the fort was rediscovered using electromagnetic induction. [10]

      "Sitka Kiks.ádi Survival March" Edit

      The first leg of the Tlingit's sojourn entailed a hike west from Gajaa Héen to Daxéit (the Clan's fishing camp at Nakwasina Sound, where each May the Kiks.ádi harvested herring eggs, a traditional native food). From there, the group's exact path across the mountains north to Cháatl Ḵáa Noow (the Kiks.ádi "Halibut Man Fort" at Point Craven in the Peril Strait) is a matter of some conjecture. However, a coastal route around the bays of northwest Baranof Island appears to be the most likely course as it would have allowed the travelers to circumvent the Island's dense forests, based on significant firsthand research into the event conducted by Herb and Frank Hope of the Sheetʼká Ḵwáan — Sitka Tribe of Alaska. Canoes fashioned out of red cedar trunks facilitated the ocean crossing to Chichagof Island.

      Several warriors remained in the vicinity of Noow Tlein after the Battle as a sort of rear guard, in order to both harass the Russian settlers and to prevent them from pursuing the Kiks.ádi during their flight north. Shortly thereafter, eight Aleut trappers were killed in Jamestown Bay and another was shot in the woods adjacent to New Archangel. From that point forward, Russian hunting parties went out in force, ever alert to the possibility of attack. The Kiks.ádi encouraged other Tlingit clans to avoid contact with the Russians by any means possible.

      Russian Alaska Edit

      Atop the kekoor (hill) at Noow Tlein, the Russians constructed a fortress (krepostʼ) of their own, consisting of a high wooden palisade with three watchtowers (armed with 32 cannons) for defense against Tlingit attacks.

      By the summer of 1805, a total of 8 buildings had been erected [9] : 218 inside the compound, including workshops, barracks, and the Governor's Residence. Aside from their annual expeditions to "Herring Rock" near the mouth of the Indian River, the Kiks.ádi by-and-large steered clear of the ever-expanding settlement until 1821, when the Russians (who intended to profit from the natives' hunting prowess, and to put an end to the sporadic attacks on the village) invited the Tlingit to return to Sitka, which was designated as the new capital of Russian America in 1808.

      The Tlingit who chose to return were allowed to reside in a part of the village just below the heavily guarded stockade on "Blockhouse Hill" (an area known as the Ranche until around 1965). Russian cannon were constantly trained on the natives as a reminder of their defeat at Shís'gi Noow. The Kiks.ádi supplied the Russians with food and otter pelts, while the colonists introduced the Tlingit to the various aspects of Russian culture and the Russian Orthodox Church. Occasional acts of Tlingit aggression continued until 1858, with one significant uprising (though quickly quelled) occurring in 1855.

      In 1867 Russian America was sold to the U.S. After that, all the holdings of the Russian–American Company's holdings were liquidated. Following the transfer, many elders of the local Tlingit tribe maintained that "Castle Hill" comprised the only land that Russia was entitled to sell. Native land claims were not addressed until the latter half of the 20th century, with the signing of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

      The 1880 census reported a population of 43 Tlingit living in and around the Indian River, the Kiks.ádi's traditional summer fishing camp.

      What's this flag flying on a fort at Kodiak, Alaska? - History

      The following is a greeting given in one of the 20 indigenous languages recognized by the State of Alaska.

      • Governor Walker announced the amount of the 2016 Permanent Fund Dividend in an online video address to Alaskans. Check the links below for more information about this year's PFD.
      • Video
      • Press release

      When: Friday, May 14th, 2021
      Where: Homer, Alaska
      Update: Office Closure
      Homer, Alaska - Friday, May 14th, 2021 - Due to mechanical issues, the Homer Job Center, located at 3670 Lake Street, Suite 201, will be closed for the day. Telework ready employees should continue to work unless otherwise approved by their supervisors. State employees involved in protecting the health and safety of Alaskans (certain offices within the Departments of Public Safety, Corrections, the Alaska Pioneer Homes and other 24-hour facilities) are required to remain at work unless on approved leave in coordination with their immediate supervisors.

      This Month in Alaska History

      [symple_toggle title=”January“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=” February“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”March“]March 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 󈧿ers,” 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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”April“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”May“]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]

      [symple_toggle title=”June“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”July“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”August“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”September“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”October“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”November“]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.[/symple_toggle]

      [symple_toggle title=”December“]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]


      Alaska's official flag is based on Benny Benson's design, which was submitted in a Territory-wide contest for schoolchildren sponsored by the American Legion in 1926. At that time Benny was a thirteen-year-old seventh-grader of Russian-Aleut and Swedish descent, studying at the Territorial School at Seward and a resident of the Jesse Lee Mission Home. The Alaska Territorial Legislature officially adopted his design on May 2, 1927. The proclamation praised his winning entry for, "its simplicity, its originality and its symbolism." On the design submission, Benny had written the following words of explanation: “The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaska flower. The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly in the Union. The dipper is for the Great Bear — symbolizing strength.” [2]

      Alaska Department of Education employee Marie Drake echoed Benny Benson's explanation of his design in a poem she wrote in 1935. Marie Drake had become the Territorial Assistant Commissioner of Education in 1934. [3] She edited and wrote most of the material for the School Bulletin, which was circulated throughout the Territorial school system. The poem first appeared on the cover of the October 1935 School Bulletin. [2]

      Elinor Dusenbury soon composed a song around the poem and the flag. The wife of the Commanding Officer of the Chilkoot Barracks at Haines from 1933 to 1936, she had fallen deeply in love with Alaska, but she left when her husband was transferred. She said, "I wrote the music for Marie's beautiful poetry from pure unadulterated homesickness for Alaska! I shed more tears on the boat going out than I ever have before or since. I had a book on Alaska with the picture the flag and Marie's poem." In the summer of 1938, Dusenbury visited Juneau and played her setting of the poem for Marie on the piano at the Baranof Hotel. Happiness came to the poet's eyes. [2]

      The song began gradually to be played unofficially, and steadily grew in popularity over the next two decades. [4] To the surprise and delight of both women, the Territorial Legislature adopted Alaska's Flag in 1955. [2] It became the official State song when the Territory of Alaska entered the union as the 49th state in 1959. [4]


      Ketchikan Creek served as a summer fish camp for Tlingit natives for untold years before the town was established by Mike Martin in 1885. He was sent to the area by an Oregon canning company to assess prospects. He established the saltery Clark & Martin and a general store with Nova Scotia native George Clark, who had been foreman at a cannery that burned down. [13]

      Ketchikan became known as "Alaska's first city" due to its strategic position at the southern tip of the Inside Passage, connecting the Gulf of Alaska to Puget Sound.

      In 1905 a mission house was built, which in 1909 became the Yates Memorial Hospital. In 2020, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the former hospital as one of America's most endangered historic places. [14]

      Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing totem poles, found throughout the city and at four major locations: Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Park, Potlatch Park, and the Totem Heritage Center. Most of the totems at Saxman Totem Park and Totem Bight State Park are recarvings of older poles, a practice that began during the Roosevelt Administration through the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Totem Heritage Center displays preserved 19th-century poles rescued from abandoned village sites near Ketchikan. The Chief Kyan pole in Whale Park in the city center is one of the featured background images in most US passports.

      Ketchikan's GPS geographic coordinates are latitude 55.342 (slightly south of both Copenhagen, Denmark at 55.676 and Glasgow, Scotland at 55.864) and longitude -131.648. The city is located in southernmost Southeast Alaska on Revillagigedo Island, 700 miles (1,100 km) northwest of Seattle, Washington, 235 miles (378 km) southeast of Juneau, Alaska, and 88 miles (142 km) northwest of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. It is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest, which is managed by the United States Forest Service from its headquarters in the Ketchikan Federal Building downtown, and to the south by the Tongass Narrows, a narrow east-west saltwater channel, which is part of the Inside Passage.

      Due to its steep and forested terrain, Ketchikan is long and narrow with much of the built-up area being located along, or no more than a few city blocks from, the waterfront. Elevations of inhabited areas range from just above sea level to about 300 feet (91 m). Deer Mountain, a 3,001-foot (915 m) peak, rises immediately east of the city's downtown area.

      According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km 2 ). 4.4 square miles (11.3 km 2 ) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (4.0 km 2 ) of it (29.14%) is water. [15]

      The half-mile (800 m) wide channel called the Tongass Narrows separates Ketchikan from Gravina Island, where Ketchikan International Airport is located.

      Ketchikan has a mild maritime or oceanic climate, characterized by heavy cloud cover and high humidity through much of the year and abundant rainfall throughout the year (even in the driest month), earning it the nickname of the "Rain Capital of Alaska". This location's climate is classified as (Köppen Cfb or Marine West Coast). Winters are cool but milder than its latitude alone may suggest: January has a 24-hour average of 33.6 °F (0.9 °C) with an average daytime high of 38.9 °F (3.8 °C) and an overnight low of 28.6 °F (−1.9 °C). Summers are mild, as August's temperature averages 58.4 °F (14.7 °C) with an average daytime high of 65.2 °F (18.4 °C) and an overnight low of 51.6 °F (10.9 °C). Rainfall averages 153 inches (3,893 mm) per year, falling more heavily in autumn and winter. On average, the growing season (non-freezing temperatures) lasts about 6.3 months or 191 days, extending from about April 19 to about October 27.

      Ketchikan rivals Whittier and Yakutat as the wettest city in Alaska and the United States. (However, with an annual precipitation of 197.8 inches (5.02 m), the city of Whittier receives significantly more annual precipitation than both Yakutat and Ketchikan, which makes it the wettest city in Alaska and the United States, and Yakutat and Ketchikan the second- and third-wettest cities in Alaska, respectively. [16] )

      Further east and away from moderating maritime influence, winters on these parallels in inland North America are much colder.

      The record high temperature in Ketchikan was 96 °F (36 °C) on June 25, 1913. The record low temperature was −7 °F (−22 °C) on January 23, 1916. On January 14, 2018 Ketchikan recorded a high temperature of 67 °F (19.4 °C) which is the highest recorded temperature in Alaska in the month of January. The wettest year was 1949 with 202.55 inches (5,145 mm) and the driest year was 1995 with 88.45 inches (2,247 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 42.69 inches (1,084 mm) during October 1974 and the most rainfall in 24 hours was 8.71 inches (221 mm) on October 11, 1977. The most snowfall in one month was 45.1 inches (115 cm) in January 1971.

      Kodiak students step back in time at Fort Abercrombie

      KODIAK, Alaska - A group of Peterson Elementary third-graders glimpsed snapshots of World War II history on Kodiak Island when they visited the Kodiak Military Museum at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park on a crisp, clear Jan. 25 morning.

      Led by third-grade teacher John Malloy and armed with iPads to document their trip, the large platoon of students explored the now-empty and weather-worn bunkers and buildings on the trails around Miller Point.

      Malloy said the purpose of the field trip fits in with his class’s segment on history and geography.

      “We’ve been talking about the history and geography of Kodiak, so now they have a reference point,” Malloy said. “They are surrounded by history in Kodiak and it’s nice that we have experts here who can talk to them about it.”

      During a break in exploring the forest-covered site, Malloy introduced one element familiar to all military service members — vacuum-packed Meals Ready to Eat.

      “You have 15 minutes to get your MRE, cut it open and eat,” Malloy told students, adding they were allowed to eat the desserts only. The rest of the MRE package contents went home with parents.

      The caveat: students had to retrieve cutting implements — scissors — from the frozen grass nearby.

      Several students struggled due to the scissors being stuck together, requiring teamwork to cut the MRE open.

      Peterson third-grader Charli McCarthy managed to open hers with assistance from an adult. Once the contents of the MRE were spread out on the grass, she sorted through it.

      “Where’s the desert?” she asked. While other MREs contained items such as M&Ms or Reese’s buttercups, her package included sweet bread and peanut butter and jelly, which was promptly folded into a makeshift sandwich.

      Malloy said the field trip offers a different perspective than one provided in Peterson’s vicinity near Coast Guard Base Kodiak.

      “We have a bunker we can visit near Peterson Elementary, but this shows them artillery and other equipment,” Malloy said. “This really puts the talk they here in class into perspective. I wanted them to experience a site where history really happened.”

      He said the MREs were a last-minute idea that provided an extra element to the experience of exploring the area.

      “It was a little frosting on the cake and something I thought of at the last second,” Malloy said. “They (MREs) can hopefully emphasize what military personnel stationed here had to endure in 1942.”

      Students were given a tour of the Military Museum by Curt Law, one of the organization’s founding members. The museum is housed in the Miller Point Ready Ammunition Bunker, which was restored with grant funding in the early 1990s.

      The museum itself was established in 1999 and operates via private donations, according to Law.

      Inside, students got to experience the sights and sounds of World War II history, including military shells, armaments, radar equipment and radios.

      During the tour, Law explained some of the significance behind Kodiak’s military history. Kodiak Fort was built in 1898 by the Army on the site of what now forms the city of Kodiak.

      Miller Point, later named Fort Abercrombie, was one of many Army defence postings on Kodiak during World War II. Artillery batteries were stationed at the site.

      The Navy built a radio facility on Woody Island in 1911, and later established its base on what is now Coast Guard Base Kodiak in 1939 in response to the onset of World War II.

      In April 1941, the Army transported Battery C of the 250th Coast Artillery Regiment along with three mobile artillery platforms to Navy Base Kodiak. In June, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order withdrawing 780 acres of land on Miller Point for military use.

      Following the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese air forces, military activity ramped up on Kodiak. Between 150 and 200 soldiers were stationed in 25 Quonset huts at Miller Point, with 11,000 military personnel stationed on Kodiak Island overall.

      “There were more people here on Kodiak then than there are today,” Law told students.

      Navy Seabees installed two eight-inch Mark IV naval guns in 1943. The installation’s mission was denying Narrow Strait and Kizhuyak Bay to hostile sea forces.

      The military post included an artillery bunker, searchlight tower, observation tower and several support structures.

      According to the Alaska Division of Parks and Recreation, Piedmont Point, a half-mile southeast of the eight-inch gun positions, housed a tactical searchlight, a second observation post, a radar tower and ancillary personnel facilities.

      Law showed students one of the large searchlights, noting the amount of heat they generated when activated.

      “If you stood too close, you would catch on fire,” Law said. “They would demonstrate this by holding a broom close up and watch as it started burning.”

      Today, the Quonset huts are gone and many of the remaining intact structures at Miller Point sit empty, monuments to a more tense era in modern history.

      According to Alaska Division of Parks and Recreation, Fort Abercrombie probably was actively manned between the summer of 1942 and the spring of 1944. The facilities were placed into caretaker status in December 1944. The gun batteries were destroyed with explosives to prevent them from falling into hostile hands.

      The years following its abandonment, Fort Abercrombie saw a number of uses, including a makeshift community springing up in and around the main bunker. According to Alaska Parks and Recreation, most of the fort’s infrastructure was either destroyed or recycled for fill material.

      Alaska established the area as a national park on Jan. 30, 1969, for its historical resources, and listed it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. A decade later, approximately 25 residents were evicted from the park and full-time staff assigned to it. The main artillery bunker housing was restored in the early 1990s the museum moved into the building in 2000.

      During the field trip last week, students were quizzed on their knowledge of U.S. history, including the meaning of the flags hanging on the museum walls. One was the U.S. flag with 48 stars, dating back to before Alaska and Hawaii were states the other, the flag of then-British-controlled Canada to represent when Canadian military forces served alongside U.S. military forces during WWII.


      Static displays in the museum included barrack-style bunks, dummies wearing uniforms of both U.S. service members and pilots and Japanese Imperial Forces, artillery shells and silk cartridge bags.

      In the museum’s main room, students managed to get hands-on with a variety of typewriters, rotary phones and military-grade radio equipment.

      A small group of Peterson Elementary students took the opportunity to don WWII-era uniforms and take turns scrambling into the museum’s 1945 Willys Jeep stationed in the corridor.

      One group, comprising Charli McCarthy, Elinor Stoecker and Abigail Richards, hopped in, scrambling for either the steering wheel or one of three passenger seats.

      “I’m an officer,” Richards said while tugging on a military cap.

      Law said that the museum caters to such hands-on activity.

      “It’s been my experience that kids learn by doing,” Law said. “How many people remember things when teachers are yelling, ‘Johnny, keep your hands in your pocket?’ Here, you don’t have too.”

      In his day job, Law owns Aksala Electronics, Inc. As one of the museum’s founding member, he manages the business end of the museum. He said his board of directors and staff are all volunteers.

      He said a hands-on experience was the intent when he and his partner Joe Stevens started the museum in 1999. The Willys Jeep is one such example.

      “They like using their imagination in the Jeep, especially if they got a lot of time,” he said. “I’ve had entire families dress up in military uniforms and sit in the Jeep, letting their imaginations go wild.”

      The typewriters are another fan favourite, he added.

      “By far, the biggest things they like are the typewriters,” he said. “They can figure it out until they get to the end, and then they are looking for the ‘enter’ key.”

      He added most young kids need help with that, demonstrating it by hitting the linespace return lever.

      Law said other big hits with visitors were rotary dial telephones, teletype machines and military radios.

      “We see kids coming back since we’ve been doing this in 1999,” Law said. “As they grow up and have kids of their own, they remember that experience, whereas some other museums are strictly hands-off.”

      But the museum is more than just a warehouse of WWII-era military information, Law said.

      “We’re not just about WWII history,” Law said. “I’ve got a diagram of Fort Kodiak in the late 1800s . It’s all about the rich military history we have.”

      For the Peterson third-grade class, it’s an opportunity to break away from screens and books, according to Malloy.

      “If you can channel the kids’ energy into activities like this, it makes for a great experience and teaches them that there’s more than YouTube videos and books,” he said. “They can touch things and get their hands dirty.”

      Watch the video: Walking in Kodiak, Alaska - What to do on Your Day in Port (June 2022).


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