SITKA BOROUGH,

ALASKA GENWEB PROJECT

 
HISTORICAL TIMELINE
 
 
DATE EVENT
100 Million BC Land masses collided about this time and created Alaska.
20,000 BC Some scientists believe that ancient people from Siberia crossed the Bering land bridge about this time and began their southward migration into the Americas.
8,000 BC Ice Age ending - rising waters cover land bridge.
28 Jan 1725 Peter the Great dies and Empress Catherine becomes head of Russia.
4 June 1741 Vitus Bering on the St. Peter and Alexei Chirikov on the St. Paul set sail from Kamchatka, Siberia. On June 20 they lose sight of each other in a storm and continue on their separate voyages.
18 July 1741 Vitus Bering sights Mount St. Elias in North America. He and his men were shipwrecked on Avacha Island off of Kamchatka and many died of disease and lack of food..
15 July 1741 Chirikov sights land and drops the anchor of the St. Paul. After losing two crews sent to shore to explore, he continues on to Unalaska and probably the island of Adak. He also loses some of his crew to disease and scurvy, before returning to Kamchatka.
8 Dec 1741 Bering dies on the island of Avacha and is buried there. The island is later renamed Bering Island.
1745 Russian fur traders first sight Attu and land there to trade with the natives. Several natives were killed.
early 1760s Unalaska natives, tired of attrocities committed upon them by the Russians, strike back. Four Russian ships were destroyed.
1768 Pribalof discovers the seal islands in the Bering Sea, north of the Aleutians that now bear his name.
1774 Spanish navigator Juan Perez sailed from California to Prince William Sound. He is driven back by storms, but the Spanish returned in the Sonora the following year, venturing as far as Mt. Edgecume near Sitka.
1778 British Captain James Cook explores the Alaskan coast, seeking the Northwest Passage back to the Atlantic. On the Discovery he maps and names Mount Edgecumbe, Prince William Sound, Bristol Bay and Norton Bay. On the way back to England his crew almost mutinied, wanting to go back to Alaska, after stopping in China and discovering how much sea otter pelts were worth.
19 Aug 1790 Aleksandr Andreevich Baranoff embarks for Alaska. He is shipwrecked off of Unalaska. 5 of his crew members were killed by the Kolosh natives and the remainder nearly starved to death while spending winter there. The following spring he and his men travel by sealskin boats to Three Saints, arriving in June of 1791.
1791-1795 British Captain George Vancouver explores Northwest Coast exhaustively with two ships, but finds no Northwest Passage 1799 - Aleksandr Baranov consolidates Russian possession of Alaska with fort and trading base at Sitka. Two French ships visit Alaska - one reaching Frenchman's Bay and the other Sitka Bay.
1797 United American Company formed as a merger of 19 traders and trading companies to trade, explore, colonize and Christianize Alaska.
July 1799 Czar Paul grants a charter to Shelekhov's Russian-American Company for exclusive rights in the fur trade in Alaska.
Baranov leads 1110 men to Sitka. After purchasing land from the Tlingits, they begin to build the town of New Archangel. New Archangel is later renamed Sitka.
Apr 1800 Baranov returns to Kodiak. In his absence the Tlingits burn New Archangel, killing and capturing some 600 people. New Archangel (later Sitka) is recaptured and rebuilt, two years later.
10 Sep 1812 Russians complete the settlement of Fort Ross (Russ) on Bodega Bay, north of the Russian River in California. This settlement was founded to provide foodstocks for Sitka, AK.
1820 Czar Alexander declared that Russian influence in North America extended as far south as Oregon and closed Alaskan waters to foreigners.
1821 Tlingits are allowed to return and rebuild a village at Sitka on their pre-empted land. Their new settlement is called The Ranche.
1824 Treaty signed between the United States and Russia which designates the southern border of Russian America at 54°40'. This treaty also re-opened all harbors in the region to fishing and trading.
1824 Ivan Popov, later known as Ioann Veniaminov arrives at Unalaska as a missionary. While he preaches he learns the Aleut language and creates an Aleut dictionary.
1825  Feb 22, Russia and Britain established the Alaska/Canada boundary.
1834 Ivan Popov, later known as Ioann Veniaminov moves from the Aleutians to Sitka and learns the Tlingit language in order to minister the natives.
1839 Dena’ina population decimated by smallpox

1841 Ivan Popov is appointed Bishop of Russia America and Siberia and is re-named Ioann Veniaminov.
1848 The onion-domed St. Michael's Cathedral is built in Sitka.
1867 Mar 30, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement  with Edouard de Stoeckel of Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million, two cents an acre, a deal roundly ridiculed as "Seward's Folly."
Apr 9, The treaty authorizing the purchase was ratified. Through the negotiations of Secretary of State William H. Seward the purchase of the 591,000 square miles (more than 375 million acres) of Russian America territory cost $7.2 million.
Oct 18, The United States took formal possession of Alaska from Russia. This is done by a formal lowering of the Russian flag at Baranoff Castle in Sitka and raising the Stars and Stripes.
Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner popularized the name Alaska for the territory that had been known as Russian America in a famous Senate speech supporting the treaty to purchase Russian America.
1871 A whaling fleet of 32 ships was abandoned off Icy Cape in the Chukchi Sea. Seven other vessels escaped with all the crew members saved. In 1998 an attempt was made to locate the shipwreck site.
Jun 1877 The US Army leaves Alaska and chaos ensues.
1877 First mission school for natives is founded
1879

Naturalist John Muir canoes throughout Southeast Alaska and discovers Glacier Bay. (When Vancouver passed 80 years earlier the bay was still totally full of ice.) Muir's reports inaugurate tourism to the territory.

Lode gold is found near what is now Juneau.

1880 First census of Alaska taken.
1888 Gold discoveries in Turnagain Arm.

1890 Israel C. Russell, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, returned from an expedition to Mt. St. Elias with fossil bearing rocks.
1896-1900 Aug 16, Skookum Jim discovered gold on a creek of the Klondike River in Alaska.
1896-1900 - Discovery of Gold on a Yukon River tributary brings 100,000 people to Alaska and the Yukon Territory
1896 James Girdwood stakes placer claim at Crow Creek

1897 Jul 15, The gold-laden ship Excelsior from Alaska landed in San Francisco. Seattle mayor W.D. Wood was visiting and immediately resigned his job, hired a ship, and organized an expedition from SF to the Yukon territory.
Jul 17, The Steamer Portland arrived into Seattle from Alaska with 68 prospectors carrying more than a ton of gold. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer announced that men with gold from Alaska were landing. This unleashed the Klondike gold rush and tens of thousands headed for the Yukon.
1897-1902

The Jesup North Pacific Expedition was made to study the biological and cultural connections between peoples on each side of the Bering Strait. It was one of the first instances where a camera was used in such a study.

1898 Construction began on the White Pass & Yukon railroad. It was led by Big Mike Heney, a Canadian Railway contractor, and Sir Thomas Tancred, who represented the British financiers. The Klondike gold rush was in full swing. Congress extends Homesteading Act to Alaska

1899

The White Pass & Yukon railroad, which led to the goldfields, was completed.

1900 The 110-mile White Pass & Yukon narrow-gauge railroad from Skagway to Whitehorse, the Alaska-British Columbia border, was completed.
1901 E.T. Barnette opened a trading post on the Chena River. A town formed that came to be called Chenoa City and was later renamed Fairbanks.
1902 Felix Pedro, an Italian miner, discovered gold northeast of Chenoa City. Miners surged in from the Fortymile and Klondike goldfields. Construction of the Alaska Central Railway begins at Seward.
1903 Jan 24, U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and British Ambassador Herbert created a joint commission to establish the Alaskan border.
Oct 20, A joint commission ruled in favor of the United States in a boundary dispute between the District of Alaska and Canada.
1906 Alaska territorial capital is moved from Sitka "the Paris of the Pacific" to Juneau. The Alaska Packers Assoc. bought the square-rigged Balclutha ship and renamed it Star of Alaska. It carried workers to the Chignick Cannery and transported them back after the salmon season.
In Alaska Dr. Frederick Cook claimed to have taken a picture of his companion, Edward Barrill, from the summit of Mt. McKinley. In 1998 it was reported that the photo was a fake, and that they probably never reached the summit.
A fire burned down most of downtown Fairbanks.
1910 Apr 3, Alaska's Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America, was climbed. First cabins built on the flats of Ship Creek
1911 Jun 4, Gold was discovered in Alaska's Indian Creek.
1912 Aug 24, By an act of Congress, Alaska was given a territorial legislature of two houses.
1915 First Alaska Railroad Anchorage townsite auction. Pioneer School established as Anchorage’s first school
1916 Baseball diamond and grandstands built.Joe Spenard holds first ice carnival on Lake Spenard
1917 All-Alaska Mid-Winter Carnival first held
1918 Train service established between Anchorage and Seward
1920 Anchorage is incorporated as a city.
1922 Feb 6, The Washington Disarmament Conference came to an end with signature of final treaty forbidding fortification of the Aleutian Islands for 14 years. Roy Jones makes the first floatplane trip up the Inside Passage; such small aircraft revolutionize travel in the bush. A 674 mile dogsled relay brings diphtheria vaccine to Nome
1923 Aug 2, President Warren G. Harding died suddenly of an embolism in San Francisco on August 2, 1923, during a return trip form Alaska. Born November 2, 1865, in Corsica, Ohio, Harding was elected the 29th U.S. president in 1920. He had just driven the “Golden Spike” to complete the Alaska Railroad line from Seward to Fairbanks
1924 The railroad made it to Fairbanks. Eklutna Industrial School established in Anchorage.
1925 January, Dr. Curtis Welch in Nome began diagnosing cases of diphtheria. An emergency delivery of serum against the disease was arranged by dogsled. 20 mushers rushed the serum 674 miles from Nenana to Nome in 5 days. The last leg of the journey was run by Gunnar Kaasen and his lead dog Balto. An animated film on Balto was made in 1995 by Stephen Spielberg. The longest segment of the journey, 260 miles, was run by Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog Togo. The events were later described by Bill Sherwonit in his book: "Iditarod: the Great Race to Nome."
Glacier Bay National Monument was dedicated in Alaska.
Anchorage Golf Club organized.
1926 First homestead established in South Anchorage by Thomas Hogan
1929 Pioneer aviator Russell Merrill disappears while crossing Cook Inlet
1930 Merrill Field opened
1935 Aug 15, Humorist Will Rogers, American comedian and "cowboy philosopher," and aviation pioneer Wiley Post were killed when their airplane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska.
Robert Atwood becomes editor and publisher of Anchorage Daily Times.
Matanuska Colony experiment begins
1937

First Fur Rendezvous held by Chamber of Commerce

1939 Providence Hospital opens in Anchorage.
1940 Construction begins on Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base

1949
First traffic lights installed on Fourth Avenue

1942 The Japanese invaded Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
Sep 16, The Japanese base at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands was raided by American bombers.
The Alaska-Canadian Highway across Canada was formally opened. Whittier Tunnel completed
The Alaska Highway project is begun to move defense supplies.
15 Aug 1943 Americans retake Kiska Island from the Japanese.
1946

Universal Services was formed in 1946 to provide catering and other support services for the civilian workforce rebuilding defense bases in Alaska. Extensive work was then developed with the oil industry that was expanding its exploration activity in Alaska. As the search for energy moved to other parts of the world, Universal followed. Operations were established in the Gulf of Mexico (1955), South America (1957), North Sea (1964), Africa (1960s), Middle East and Far East. Additional work was developed with the mining and construction industries.
An Anchorage landmark, Austin “Cap” Lathrop’s 4th Avenue Theatre opens doors.

1949

First traffic lights installed on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.

1950 First “Carrs” grocery store opens in Anchorage
Marvin "Muktuk" Marston lays out Turnagain-by-the Sea
1951

Completion of highway between Anchorage and Seward

1953 Mount Spurr erupts for first time in recorded history
1954 Anchorage Community College opens
1956 Anchorage named "All-American City"
1957 Oil discovered at Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula

1958 Jun 30, Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of Alaska as the 49th state in the Union, the first new state since 1912.
Jul 7, President Eisenhower signed the Alaska statehood bill.
1959

Jan 3, President Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state. Its area is 586,412 sq. mls. Capital: Juneau; bird: willow ptarmigan; flower: forget-me-not; nickname: The Last Frontier.
Jul 4, A 49-star flag was raised for the first time at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., in honor of Alaska which had become the 49th state in the Union on July 7, 1958.
In Anchorage Alaska Methodist University dedicated

1964 Mar 27, Good Friday, Valdez, Alaska, was rocked by an 8.6 earthquake, the largest ever recorded in North America. It lasted 4 minutes and was followed by tsunamis and fires and 32 people were killed. Survivors moved 4 miles west to solid bedrock and rebuilt the town. This earthquake is forever dubbed the "Good Friday" Earthquake.
Greater Anchorage Area Borough created the State legislature
1965 Anchorage again named “All- American City” for earthquake restoration efforts
2 Jan 1966 The Russian-built Cathedral of St. Michael in Sitka was destroyed by fire. It was later rebuilt.
1968 The Anchorage Museum of History and Art opened.
Kincaid Park created from a former Nike missile site in South Anchorage
Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil field in North America was discovered on the North Slope, near Barrow.
1969

Walter Hickel named to Presidential Cabinet post, a first for any Alaskan

1971 Sep 4, An Alaska Airlines jet crashed near Juneau, killing 111 people.
President Richard Nixon and Emperor Hirohito meet at Elmendorf Air Force Base
1973 The Alaskan 1,159 mile Iditarod dog-sled race was first run in commemoration of the 1925 dog-sled relay for diphtheria vaccine to Nome..
Joan Kimura designs official seal of Anchorage
1975

Mar 9, Work began on the Alaskan oil pipeline.
4,000 acre Bicentennial Park created in Southeast Anchorage.
City of Anchorage and Greater Anchorage Area Borough unified into Municipality of Anchorage.

 

1977

May 31, The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was completed after three years of work and the first oil through flows through an 800 mile engineering feat.

1980

In the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act the size of Denali National Park was tripled to 6 million acres. Motorized access to the land was given for traditional activities such as hunting, fishing and camping.

1982 The White Pass & Yukon railroad closed after a highway opened between Skagway and Whitehorse, and a slump in metal prices shut down mines.
1983 Heritage Land Bank created
1984 Anchorage named “All-American City” for third time
1985 Mar 20, Libby Riddles won the Iditarod.
State of Alaska purchases Alaska Railroad from federal government.
Anchorage named a U.S. bid city for Olympic games
1986

Kincaid Outdoor Center opens in Anchorage

1988

Oct 16, Rescue workers near Point Barrow, Alaska, continued their efforts to save three California gray whales trapped in Arctic Ocean ice.
The White Pass & Yukon railroad opened for tourists visiting the state from cruise ships and the new road to Skagway.

1989 Mar 24, Good Friday, The nation's worst oil spill occurred as the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran into Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound and began leaking 11 million gallons of crude. The Exxon Valdez struck ground and spilled 10.6 million gallons of oil. Exxon then spent some $2.5 billion to clean up the spill and filed suit against Lloyd's of London for reimbursement under a $210 million insurance policy. In 1996 a jury in Houston voted that Lloyd's and some 250 other underwriters should compensate Exxon $250 million. The Exxon Valdez spilled 240,000 barrels of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
Apr 1, Alaska Gov. Steve Cowper announced that a "strike force" of state officials and local fishermen were taking over some of the cleanup operations following the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill.
1990 Jan 29, Former Exxon Valdez skipper Joseph Hazelwood went on trial in Anchorage, Alaska, on charges stemming from the nation's worst oil spill. Hazelwood was acquitted of major charges and convicted of a misdemeanor.
Mar 22, A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, found Captain Hazelwood not guilty in the Valdez oil spill.
Population: 550,043
1991 Mar 13, Exxon paid $1 billion in fines and for the clean-up of the Alaskan oil spill.
1992

Mount Redoubt erupts in August, covering Anchorage in volcanic ash

1994 Alaska population was 599,200. Alaskan Tommy Moe wins gold medal at Winter Olympics
1996

Arctic Winter Games held in Chugiak/Eagle River

1997 Nov 9, A family of 7 and the pilot of a commuter plane died in a crash in Barrow.
Nov 26, In the Aleutian Islands 800 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the freighter, Kuroshima, ran aground off Dutch Harbor in heavy winds. Two crewmen were reported dead and 10,000 gallons of oil was reported to have leaked. As much as 240,000 gallons was reported on board. Emergency workers removed 57,000 gallons on Dec 5 and 30,000 gallons still remained.
1999

Feb, The snowmobile was banned from all but 7,000 of the 2 million acres of Denali National Park designated as the Denali National Wilderness.
Mar 21, In Alaska an avalanche killed at least 4 snowmobilers at the Turnagain Pass in Chugach National Forest.
Jun 10, A sightseeing helicopter crashed near Herbert Glacier and all seven people onboard were killed.

 

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