Yesterday was the 59th anniversary of Alaska’s Good Friday Earthquake. The above photo from the Alaska Digital Archives show the rail line north of Seward after the 9.2 magnitude quake struck South-central Alaska.
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Today Alaska celebrates the life and dedication of Elizabeth Peratrovich.
In 1945, the Anti-Discrimination Act came before the Alaska Territorial Senate. The bill had already passed the House, and Peratrovich was slated to testify on the bill’s behalf. The State Legislative Building was packed to the rafters, and the doors were left open so that those in the hallways could hear the proceedings.
A Juneau senator cemented his place in Alaska history with this question: “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, who want to associate with us whites, with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind us?”
When Elizabeth Peratrovich testified, she responded with, “I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them, of our Bill of Rights.” She went on a passionate plea calling for equal treatment for Indigenous peoples in the state.
The bill passed the Senate 11-5 and was signed by Governor Gruening on February 16, 1945. Alaska was still a territory, and its Anti-Discrimination Act passed almost 20 years before the United States passed the Civil Rights Act.
2023 is the Centennial year for the Alaska Railroad. U.S. President Warren G. Harding presided over the completion ceremony on July 15, 1923, by driving in the golden spike.
This past weekend, the annual Alaska Railroad print signing took place at the Anchorage Depot. The tradition of a yearly AKRR print was started back in 1979.
This year, Nenana artist Noah Nolywaika was on hand to sign his charcoal drawing of the Nenana Depot, where the railroad was officially completed 100 years ago. William Chase was also there with his painting of the locomotives throughout the railroad’s history, including Engine No. 1. That historic steam engine now sits outside the historic Anchorage Depot.
Prints and posters are available through the Alaska Railroad’s website.
The above photo was taken at noon of the Winter Solstice in ’98, as in 1898. P.S. Hunt arrived in Alaska that summer from San Jose, California. It would appear that Hunt named the cabin after his previous hometown.
Way to go Chicken!!
The Chicken, Alaska weather station continues to impress. -63F is the coldest I have ever experienced in Fairbanks.
It was -41F at the cabin on Tuesday morning.
The only head on collision in Alaska Railroad history happened on this date in 1943. The northbound freight train coming up from Seward met the southbound passenger train on its way to Whittier at 8:45 am at Bootleggers Cove, just west of downtown Anchorage. Minor injuries were reported, but no deaths. One rail car partially overturned, but the rest remained on the tracks.
During Prohibition, Anchorage had some strict liquor laws. The new town of Anchorage, was a bit of a pet project for then President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson sectioned off the city in grids and auctioned the parcels off to residents. One catch: If anyone who purchased parcels were caught with alcohol, the parcels would be repossessed. The rail line ran between the new residential area and the tidal flats. There was a cove below the rail and between Chester Creek and Ship Creek that was a favorite landing spot for bootleggers and their booty, because it was out of sight of the authorities. Thus the renaming of the cove to Bootleggers Cove.
Sunday brought the first snowfall to the Fairbanks area. That is slightly more than two weeks later than average, and the 6th latest first snowfall in the past 119 years of record keeping. That said, there is no long term trend with the statistic.
The snow falls when it wants to.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established on this date in 1972. As I’ve said before on here, GMNP is one of my favorite National Parks. My trip there, which involved some serious dirt roading in a ’73 Beetle, was completely spur of the moment and unplanned. I brought back a Bug full of memories when I found this gem in Texas.
This week is the 55th Anniversary of the Great Flood of 1967 that hit Fairbanks. The first half of August that year saw near continuous rainfall, that eventually was too much for the Chena and Tanana Rivers to hold back.
At its peak, 95% of Fairbanks was under water. Over 6000 homes and businesses were a total loss, and as many sustained damage. Eight people lost their lives due to the flooding.