CITY AND BOROUGH OF WRANGELL & PETERSBURG CENSUS AREA, ALASKA
TIMELINE OF HISTORICAL EVENTS
|100 million BC||Land masses collided about this time and created Alaska.|
|20,000 BC||Ancient people from Siberia crossed the Bering land bridge about this time and began their southward migration into the Americas.|
|10,000 BC||The first humans to stay in Alaska are thought to have arrived more than 10,000 years ago and are the ancestors of today's Alaska Natives.|
|8,000 BC||Ice Age ending - rising waters cover land bridge.|
|500-900 AD||At Barrow, the Birnirk culture, is represented by a group of 16 dwelling mounds and is considered a key link between the prehistoric cultures of Alaska and Canada.|
|1579||Sir Francis Drake's Secret Voyage to Northwest America brought him to Alaska's southeast (Chatham Strait, south of Juneau, between Baranof Island and Kulu Island).|
|1725||Peter the Great dies and Empress Catherine becomes head of Russia. Vitus Bering explored Northwest coast; established Russia's claim|
|1728||Vitus Bering discovered St. Lawrence Island. Bering sailed through Bering Strait|
|1733||Bering's second expedition, with George Wilhelm Steller aboard, the first naturalist to visit Alaska.|
4 - 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.
July 15 - Aleksei Chirikov along with the Danish Explorer, Vitus Bering, sights the Aleutian Islands. Chirikov, in command of the ship the St. Paul, sighted what is believed to be Prince of Wales Island of the Alexander Archipelago. 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.Bering's ship, the St. Peter, had sailed a more northerly direction and came upon Kayak Island the next day
July 18 - 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.
December 8 - 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|
|1764||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||Charles III of Spain fears Russian expansion; sends expeditions north along northwest coast of North America. 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. Juan Perez discovered Prince of Wales Island, Dixon Sound. Spain leaves few traces except place names such as Malaspina Glacier and Valdez.|
|1776||British Captain James Cook of England searches for Northwest Passage. His maps of northern North America prove that America and Asia are separate land masses and remain the standard for over a century.|
|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.|
|1784||First white settlement (Russian) established at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island by Grigorii Shelikov|
|1786||Gerasim Pribilof discovers Saint George Island|
|1787||Peter and Paul Island discovered (now called Saint Paul Island)|
|1788||Russians enslave Aleuts to hunt fur seals|
|1789||First American expedition sets out for northwestern North American to compete with British and Russians for fur trade.|
|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||British Captain George Vancouver explores Northwest Coast exhaustively with two ships, but finds no Northwest Passage|
|1794||Aleksandr Andreyevich Baranov builds first ocean-going vessel in northwestern America on the Kenai Peninsula at Voskressenski.|
|1795||The first Russian Orthodox Church established in Kodiak.|
|1797||United American Company formed as a merger of 19 traders and trading companies to trade, explore, colonize and Christianize Alaska.|
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 (later renamed Sitka). Violating order against doing business with foreigners Baranov made friends with James Shields, an English naval officer experienced in ship building. Baranov engaged Shields to construct a vessel. When it was finished the ship was christened the Phoenix. It was used in American waters and made two voyages to Siberia. Its chief value was symbolic.
Two French ships visit Alaska - one reaching Frenchman's Bay and the other Sitka Bay.
|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.|
|1802||In Baranov's absence the Tlingits burn New Archangel, killing and capturing some 600 people. New Archangel (later Sitka) is recaptured and rebuilt, two years later. After the attack on Old Sitka, Baranov was forced to pay 10,000 rubles ransom for surviving settlers.|
|1804||Russians attacked Kiksadi fort on Indian River; Russians lost. Baranov returned to Sitka with a large contingent of Russians and Aleuts, and the Russian warship Neva. The ship destroyed the Native village and its occupants. Baranov immediately began to build the settlement of New Archangel, now known as Sitka.|
|1808||Unalaska's first Russian Orthodox church constructed|
|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.|
|1815||Otto von Kotzebue, an Estonian German, sets out on Russian round-the-world expedition; visits St. Lawrence Island and Unalaska during summer.The Romanzov Expedition led to naming of Escholtz Bay, Chamisso Island and Wildlife Refuge, the city of Kotzebue, and to many botanical discoveries on land and in Alaskan waters.|
|1820||Czar Alexander declared that Russian influence in North America extended as far south as Oregon and closed Alaskan waters to foreigners.|
Trading Charter is renewed extending Russian jurisdiction to 51st parallel.
During this period, the Hudson's Bay Company, chartered by the British,
was trying to gain a foothold in the Alaska fur trade. The British made
a deal with the Russians to lease the mainland south of Cape Spencer for
10 years at an annual payment of 2,000 land otter skins. The British were
a presence in Alaska for the next 30 years.
Tlingits are allowed to return and rebuild a village at Sitka on their pre-empted land. Their new settlement is called The Ranche.
|1823||December 2 President James Monroe, seeking to exclude European intervention in the New World, issues the Monroe Doctrine.|
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.
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.
Russians begin exploration of mainland that leads to discovery of Nushagak, Kuskokwim, Yukon, and Koyokuk Rivers.
Barrow is named for Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty by Captain
Beechey of the Royal Navy.
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.|
|1847||Fort Yukon established|
|1848||The onion-domed St. Michael's Cathedral is built in Sitka.|
|1849||Russian Mining engineer discovers gold and coal on Kenai Peninsula.|
|1853||Oil seeps in Cook Inlet discovered by employees of Russian-America Company.|
|1857||Coal mining begins at Coal Harbor on Kenai Peninsula to supply steamers. The Russian-American Company was suffering from financial difficulties and the Tzar wanted to revoke the charter. The company had been beaten by the Hudson's Bay Company in the fur trade. The British company had better and cheaper items to trade with the Natives for furs. The Company tried new business ventures. It opened a coal mine at Port Graham. By 1857 the mine produced enough coal to support the colony. Surplus coal was taken to San Francisco but it was sold at a loss. The company quit the venture. It also failed at whaling because it could not compete with the more efficient Americans. The ice trade prospered, but it was not enough to justify the company's existence. The company's long tenure in the Americas soon came to an end.|
|1861||Gold is discovered at Telegraph Creek at the Stikine River near Wrangell by Buck Choquette.|
Western Union Telegraph Company prepares to put telegraph line across Alaska
Last shot of the Civil War fired in Alaskan waters
sold (present-day) Alaska (375 million acres) to United States for $7.2
million (about 2 cents per acre). Many called this "Seward's Folly"
because little was known about Alaska, other than its cold climate.
Fur seal population, stabilized under Russian rule, declines rapidly.
Major General Jefferson C. Davis, U.S. Army, assumes command of the Department of Alaska. A decade of military rule begins
|1868||Alaska designated Department of Alaska. First Alaska newspaper, "The Sitka Times," is published by Thomas Murphy|
|1869||Sitka Times, first Alaskan newspaper, published|
|1870||Gold found at Sumdum Bay, SE Alaska.|
|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.|
|1872||Gold discovered near Sitka at Indian River.|
|1873||Jack McQuestern, Arthur Harper and Alfred Mayo begin prospecting along the Yukon River.|
|1874||George Halt first white man to cross Chilkoot Pass in search for gold|
|1876||Gold discovered south of Juneau|
|1877||The US Army leaves Alaska and chaos ensues. First mission school for natives is founded|
|1878||First Alaska fish cannery opens in Klawock.|
|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.|
1880, George Pilz, a German-born mining school graduate living in Sitka,
grubstaked his employee Joe Juneau and another man, Richard Harris. The
two men went prospecting in the vicinity of Gastineau Channel. Harris and
Juneau named the creek where they found placer gold, Gold Creek, and they
named Silver Bow Basin at the head of the creek. A mining district was established
and called Harrisburg, and soon a town first named Harrisburg, then Rockwell,
and finally Juneau began to flourish at a shallow bay called Miners Cove.
First census of Alaska taken.
|1881||Parris Lode claim staked near Juneau and by 1885 is Alaska's most famous mine -- the Treadwell. In 1881 John Treadwell, a promoter, obtained a claim from a prospector known as French Pete for a sum ranging from $5 to $400, depending upon one's source of information. The claim was located on Douglas Island. A Geologist had said the site contained only low-grade ore. It was worthless to French Pete, who did not possess the capital to develop it. Treadwell recognized its potential and developed a very profitable enterprise. The year-round employment at the mine gave the town an economic base. Eventually, four mines were opened -- the Treadwell, the 700, the Mexican, and the Ready Bullion -- and five stamp mills.|
Alaska salmon canneries are built in central Alaska.
First commercial herring fishing begins at Killisnoo.
U.S. Navy bombs, then burns Tlingit village of Angoon.
Steamers begin bringing first tourists to Alaska.
Congress passes First Organic Act; $15,000 appropriated to educate Alaska Native children.
|1885||Lieutenant Henry Allen reached St. Michael after exploring the Copper and Yukon Rivers.|
|1886||Howard Franklin strikes Gold on Fortymile River ln Interior Alaska.|
|1887||Congress creates the Indian Reservation of Metlakatla on Annette Island. Around 1887, Reverend William Duncan brought 1,000 Tsimshian followers from Metlakatla in British Columbia to Annette Island. On land obtained through a congressional grant he built a new Metlakatla, designed to make the Natives self-sufficient. They were taught trades such as carpentry, seamanship, and boat-building, built their own sawmills and a cannery, and engaged in other enterprises.|
|1888||Alexander King discovers gold on Kenai Peninsula near Turnagain Arm.|
oil claims are staked in Cook Inlet.
Dr. Sheldon Jackson explores Arctic Coast; brings reindeer husbandry into Alaska.
Large corporate salmon canneries begin to appear.
Israel C. Russell, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, returned from an expedition to Mt. St. Elias with fossil bearing rocks.
Gold discovered near Hope, Rampart and Circle.
Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station built near Barrow and is the oldest frame building in the Arctic
|1894||Gold discovery on Mastadon Creek; founding of Circle City|
- Dawson City founded at mouth of Klondike River.
George Washington Carmack, Tagish Charlie and Skookum Jim make a discovery on Bonanza Creek, setting off the great Klondike Gold Rush.
|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|
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.
U.S. Army establishes Fort St.Michael, first of six Gold Rush posts.
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.
First shipment of fresh halibut sent south from Juneau.
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
Libby Partners make first major gold strike on Melsing and Ophir Creeks
Sixty five people die in Chilkoot Pass Avalanche.
Skagway is largest city in Alaska. Soapy Smith killed in Skagway.
The "Three Luck Swedes" discover gold on Seward Peninsula.
is discovered on the beaches of Nome and many prospectors who had been unsuccessful
in the Yukon move westward to try again.
Local government organized in Nome.
The White Pass & Yukon railroad was completed.
The U.S. Revenue Marine service steamer Nunivak entered the Yukon River to commence patrol duties.
exploratory well is drilled in Cook Inlet. Capital moves from Sitka to Juneau.
20,000 gold miners on Nome beach. Alexander McKenzie and Judge Arthur H.
Noyes arrive ln Nome and start a fraudulent scheme to seize rich mining
The 110-mile White Pass & Yukon narrow-gauge railroad from Skagway to Whitehorse, the Alaska-British Columbia border, was completed.
The Nome Daily Chronicle began publication. In September it changed to weekly publication and the following June it closed down.
The USS Wheeling arrived in Sitka from the Philippines after taking part in the Spanish-American War.
|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.|
oil production in Alaska.
Felix Pedro discovers gold near Fairbanks. Pedro and merchant Barnette played leading role in the establishment of Fairbanks. Barnette, who had been a trader for several years in Circle, came down the Tanana River in 1901. He anchored the ship that his chartered ship on the Chena River, a tributary of the Tanana, in August of 1901. Persuaded by Pedro of the area's potential, he established his store there. A town grew up and named for the vice president of the United States at that time, Charles Fairbanks.
President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the Tongass National Forest.
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.
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.
The Santa Ana landed 200 people at Seward. The date was long observed there as Founders Day.
Last great Tlingit potlatch held in Sitka.
Washington Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS) begins to lay submarine cable between Seattle, Sitka, and Valdez linking Alaska to "Outside."
Kennel Club organizes to promote sled dog racing. First message is telegraphed
from Fairbanks to Valdez. 1906 Native Allotment Act passes; first opportunity
for Natives to obtain land under restricted title. Gold discovered in Chadalar
Alaska territorial capital is moved from Sitka "the Paris of the Pacific" to Juneau. 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.
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.
Road Commission surveys route from Seward to Nome, later called the Iditarod
The first automobile in Fairbanks, a Pope-Toledo, arrived for David Laite
The first sled dog race to receive national attention, the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, was held in Nome, AK.
|1909||The George C. Thomas Memorial Library was dedicated at Fairbanks|
"Sourdoughs," four Kantishna miners, make first ascent of Mt.
McKinley's North Peak.
Ruby gold stampede begins.
copper mines begin production. July 7th - US, Canada, Russia, Great Britain,
Japan sign an agreement in Washington D.C. to preserve the fur seal in the
Jun 4, Gold was discovered in Alaska's Indian Creek.
G/s F.S. Redfield stranded on Cape Prince of Wales. All 23 people aboard survived.
Katmai exploded, created Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
The Alaska Native Brotherhood is founded in Sitka.
Aug 24, By an act of Congress, Alaska was given a territorial legislature of two houses. 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.
First Alaska Territorial Legislature convened; women granted voting rights.
Gold found at Marshall.
authorized construction of Alaska Railroad. Surveying begins for Alaska
Railroad; Anchorage starts as construction camp on Ship Creek.
Gold discovered at Livengood, near Fairbanks.
Alaska Native Sisterhood holds first convention in Sitka.
First Alaska Railroad Anchorage townsite auction.
Pioneer School established as Anchorage’s first school
bill for Alaska statehood introduced; Alaskans voted in favor of prohibition
In Anchorage, baseball diamond and grandstands built.Joe Spenard holds first ice carnival on Lake Spenard
"Skookum Jim" the miner who discovered the gold that led to the Klondike Gold Rush, dies penniless in Dawson, Yukon Territory..
Pribilof fur seal exports exceed $274,000. Total Alaska fur exports: $1,338,599.
Treadwell Mine caves in at Douglas.
All-Alaska Mid-Winter Carnival first held.
Alaska salmon pack exceeds six million cases, valued at over $51 million.
The Alaska Air Expedition from New York to Nome is successful. The Alaska Air Expedition was sponsored by the US Army. The "Black Wolf" squadron of wheeled biplanes landed at Wrangell, Fairbanks, Ruby, and finally at Nome's Fort Davis. For Alaska, the flight was significant because it demonstrated that airplanes capable of carrying heavy loads could fly to and across Alaska.
Train service established between Anchorage and Seward
Father William Duncan died at Metlakatla, a town he was instrumental in founding in 1887.
is incorporated as a city.
The cannery of the Straits Packing Company burned at Skowl Arm of Kasaan Bay.
Juneau had its first airplane overflight when one of the four planes of the Black Wolf Squadron passed over on its way to Nome.
Agricultural College & School of Mines, later the University of Alaska,
opens at College near Fairbanks. When it opened in 1922, the Alaska Agricultural
College and School of Mines had six students, one building, and an annual
budget of $30,000. It became the University of Alaska in 1935 and has since
added campuses at Anchorage and Juneau.
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 fire at Haines destroyed the post office and other buildings.
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,
near the village of Nenana.
Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4 is created.
extends citizenship to all American Indians. William L. Paul, a Tlingit,
is the first Alaska Native elected to Territorial Legislature
Airmail delivery began.
The railroad made it to Fairbanks.
Eklutna Industrial School established in Anchorage
Fire destroyed the power plant at the Kennecott mine.
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.
old Benny Benson won contest for design of Alaska flag.
Alaska Native Townsite Act allows Natives to obtain restricted deeds to village lots.
First homestead established in South Anchorage by Thomas Hogan
A Statue of Balto, a famous lead dog in the 674 mile serum run that saved the town of Nome the year before, was erected in NYC's Central Park.
|1928||Court case resolves the right of Native children to attend public school.|
|1929||Pioneer aviator Russell Merrill disappears while crossing Cook Inlet|
|1930||Merrill Field opened in Anchorage|
|1931||Col. and Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh landed at Barrow en route to the Orient.|
15, Humorist Will Rogers, American comedian and "cowboy philosopher,"
and aviation pioneer Wiley Post were killed when their airplane crashed
near Point Barrow, Alaska.
Alton C. Nordale, a Territorial Legislator, died in a plane crash near Healy River.
Matanuska Valley Project established ane 202 farmers colonize Matanuska Valley; 900 gold mine workers struck for 40 days
Congress extends the Indian Reorganization Act to Alaska.
Nell Scott of Seldovia becomes the first woman elected to the Territorial Legislature.
|1937||First Fur Rendezvous held by Chamber of Commerce|
Mine closes at McCarthy.
A Pan-American Airways "Baby Clipper" landed on the Juneau airfield in a trial flight.
|1939||Providence Hospital opens in Anchorage|
|1940||Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base established|
bombs Dutch Harbor; invades Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
Sep 16, The Japanese base at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands was raided by American bombers.
Pioneer Service Road (Alaska-Canada Military Highway) is built between February 14th and September 24th from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska.
Whittier Tunnel completed
Upgrading and bridge building continues on the Alaska Highway providing
first start for some of today's largest construction contractors.
American forces retake the Aleutian Islands, Attu and Kiska, from the Japanese.
Secretary of the Interior creates the Venetie Reservation.
|1944||Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine shuts down.|
school for Native high school students opens at Mt. Edgecumbe.
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.
An Anchorage landmark, Austin “Cap” Lathrop’s 4th Avenue Theatre opens doors.
The Fur Rendezvous World Championship Sled Dog Race debuted in Anchorage, AK, and has been run nearly every year since. A sprint race, teams in the event traveled a short distance (~25 miles) several days in a row.
The Open North American Sled Dog Race was first run in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Open North American is also a sprint race, with teams traveling 20 miles on day one and two, and 30 miles on day three.
Alaska Command is established; first unified command of the US Army, Air
Force, and Navy.
First Alaska Native land claims suit, filed by Tlingit and Haida people, introduced in US Court of Claims.
Highway opens to civilian traffic.
Alaskans vote to abolish fish traps by a 10 to 1 margin.
|1949||First traffic lights installed on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.|
“Carrs” grocery store opens in Anchorage
Marvin "Muktuk" Marston lays out Turnagain-by-the Sea
|1951||Completion of highway between Anchorage and Seward|
Spurr erupts for first time in recorded history.
Oil well drilled near Eureka on Glenn Highway marks the beginning of Alaska's modern oil history
The first plywood operations begin at Juneau and the first large pulp mill opens at Ketchikan.
DEW-Line construction begins in the Arctic at Barter Island.
First Alaska television broadcast by KENI, Anchorage.
|1954||Anchorage Community College opens|
Anchorage named "All-American City"
|1957||Atlantic Richfield discovers oil at Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula. The Swanson River field on the Kenai Peninsula was the first commercial production site for oil and gas in Alaska's modern oil era. During the next ten years, additional oil fields are discovered offshore in nearby Cook Inlet and production platforms are installed to bring production on-line for the Middle Ground shoal field, the Granite Point field, the MacArthur River field and the Trading Bay field. By 1968, the Cook Inlet is producing nearly 200,000 barrels per day, and the income generated by oil production in Alaska is contributing more than 20% of the state government's total revenues.|
|1958||Congress passes Alaska Statehood Act conveying ownership of 104 million acres.|
Alaska is admitted to the Union as the 49th state, and William A. Egan becomes
Alaska's first governor.
Sitka pulp mill opens.
British Petroleum begins to explore for oil on Alaska's North Slope.
|1960||Amoco finds offshore oil in Cook Inlet.|
Village and other Yukon villages protest the proposed Rampart Dam.
Alaska Marine Highway System begins
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|
Secretary of the Interior, Stewart L. Udall, imposes a land freeze until
Native land claims can be settled. Alaska Federation of Natives is organized.
The Russian-built Cathedral of St. Michael in Sitka was destroyed by fire. It was later rebuilt.
|1967||Chena River flooded Fairbanks|
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||September 10: Prudhoe Bay Lease Sale provides $900 million in lease bonuses to state treasury. In this year, Alaska's population totals 295,000.|
revenues: $1,067,264,000 First bill introduced in the legislature to establish
a Permanent Fund.
Environmental studies measuring the impact of pipeline construction on Alaska wildlife begin.
Walter Hickel named to Presidential Cabinet post, a first for any Alaskan
passes Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; transfers ownership of 44 million
acres of land to newly established Native corporations.
Sep 4, An Alaska Airlines jet crashed near Juneau, killing 111 people.
President Richard Nixon and Emperor Hirohito meet at Elmendorf Air Force Base
|1972||Dog mushing was established as the Alaska state sport|
passes legislation allowing construction to begin on the trans-Alaska pipeline.
War in the Middle East in October causes oil prices to rise from $3 to $16
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. Joe Redington, Sr. and others organize the first Iditarod to finish in Nome. The race is completed by 22 mushers, and won by Dick Wilmarth of Red Devil AK in 20 days, 49 minutes and 41 seconds.
Joan Kimura designs official seal of Anchorage
begins on the pipeline; thousands of workers flock to Alaska in search of
jobs. Construction lasts 39 months, costs $8 billion, including the Marine
Terminal in Valdez.
The USS Anchorage, on a tour of Alaska ports, arrived in Sitka harbor for a three-day stay.
Carl Huntington of Galena AK wins the Iditarod.
Alaska Permanent Fund is created to insure long-term benefits from oil revenues.
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.
Jerry Riley of Nenana AK wins the Iditarod.
November's General Election, Alaska's voters, by a vote of 75,588 to 38,518,
approve constitutional amendment establishing the Permanent Fund. Article
IX, Section 15 - At least 25 percent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties,
royalty sale proceeds, federal mineral revenue sharing payments and bonuses
received by the State shall be placed in a permanent fund, the principal
of which shall be used only for those income-producing investments specifically
designated as eligible for permanent fund investments. All income from the
permanent fund shall be deposited in the general fund unless otherwise provided
Alaska's population passes 400,000.
Jerry Riley of Nenana AK wins the Iditarod.
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. The
first tanker with Prudhoe Bay oil, the ARCO Juneau, left Valdez on August
The Permanent Fund receives its first deposit of dedicated oil revenues: $734,000. A barrel of crude oil takes 5.04 days to flow from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez through the trans-Alaska pipeline at 6.62 mph. If the pipeline were full, it would hold 9 million barrels. One barrel equals 42 gallons.
Rick Swenson wins the Iditarod.
|1978||The closest Iditarod finish in history - Only 1 second separated champion Dick Mackey from runner up (and later, 5-time champion) Rick Swenson|
|1979||Rick Swenson of Manley AK wins the Iditarod.|
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.
Congress passes and President Jimmy Carter signs the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).
Legislature repeals Alaska income tax.
Joe May of Trapper Creek AK wins the Iditarod.
Alaska Legislature approves second special appropriation to the Permanent
Fund, this time for $1.8 billion.
Rick Swenson of Manley AK wins the Iditarod.
zones changed to include all Alaska.
The White Pass & Yukon railroad closed after a highway opened between Skagway and Whitehorse, and a slump in metal prices shut down mines.
State revenues peak at $4,108,400,000 after OPEC fixes oil price at $34/barrel. Alaska Legislature enacts inflation-proofing to protect purchasing power of Permanent Fund principal. First Permanent Fund Dividend check is distributed:$1,000.
Rick Swenson of Manley AK wins the Iditarod. Susan Butcher finishes 3 minutes later, in 2nd place.
1983 Crab stocks so low that most commercial seasons are canceled
Heritage Land Bank created
Rick Mackey of Wasilla AK wins the Iditarod.
Osmar of Clam Gulch, AK wins the Iditarod. Susan Butcher finishes 2nd.
Anchorage named “All-American City” for third time
The first 1,000 mile Yukon Quest Sled dog race was held, running between Fairbanks, AK and Whitehorse, YT, Canada. The race was established to commemorate the historic use of dog teams on the 'Highway of the North'; the Yukon River. Many prospectors had followed the race route during the 1898 gold rush.
20, Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod. Her run to
Nome took 18 days, 20 minutes and 17 seconds.
State of Alaska purchases Alaska Railroad from federal government.
Anchorage named a U.S. bid city for Olympic games.
Oil price decline caused budget problems
Susan Butcher wins the Iditarod.
Price of oil drops below $10 per barrel, causing Alaska oil revenues to plummet.
Alaska Legislature approves third special appropriation to Fund principal: $1.26 billion.
Butcher wins the Iditarod.
Congress passes amendments to the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act, which protect lands and stocks.
Trans-Alaska Pipeline celebrates its 10th anniversary.
Butcher wins the Iditarod.
Two whales trapped by ice, rescued near Barrow.
The Soviets allow a one-day visit of a group of Alaskans to the Siberian port city of Providenya.
Total annual throughput of oil in the trans-Alaska pipeline peaks at 744 million barrels (2 million barrels per day).
Anchorage population reduced by 30,000
The White Pass & Yukon railroad opened for tourists visiting the state from cruise ships and the new road to Skagway
Joe Runyon of Nenana AK wins the Iditarod. Susan Butcher of Manley AK finishes
1 hour later in second place.
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.
Susan Butcher wins the Iditarod again and claims 4 Iditarod titles in 5
years (1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990), inspiring the slogan: "Alaska, where
men are men and women win the Iditarod".
Over 800,000 visitors came to Alaska. Alaska population reaches 550,000 according to the US Census Bureau. Mining ranks as Alaska's fastest growing industry. Permanent Fund makes its first investments in stocks and bonds outside the United States.
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.
Rick Swenson wins his 5th Iditarod, becoming the most winning Iditarod musher
in Iditarod history
8 billionth barrel of oil arrives in Valdez. Permanent Fund Dividends are paid to all Alaska residents for the 10th consecutive year.
Mar 13, Exxon paid $1 billion in fines and for the clean-up of the Alaskan oil spill.
Highway celebrated 50th anniversary.
Final repercussions of Alaska's recession are felt as oil industry retrenches with major job losses
The Anchorage Times, once Alaska's largest newspaper folds
Reapportionment challenges delay primaries by two weeks
Spurr Volcano erupts three times, one blast dumping ash on Anchorage
Juneau's Hillary Lindh wins Olympic Silver Medal in downhill skiing.
Martin Buser of Big Lake, AK wins the Iditarod.
of Alaskan Independence Party, Joe Vogler, mysteriously disappeared
Jeff King of Denali Park, AK wins the Iditarod.
$5 billion verdict in Exxon Valdez case.
Tommy Moe won Olympic Gold Medal in downhill ski competition.
Several Koyukuk River communities washed away by flooding
Alaska population was 599,200
Martin Buser of Big Lake, AK wins the Iditarod.
|1995||Doug Swingley of Simms, MT wins the Iditarod and breaks the 10-day barrier, winning his first Iditarod title in 9 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes, and 19 seconds.|
of the most devastating fires in state history destroys homes and property
in Southcentral near Big Lake
Arctic Winter Games held in Chugiak/Eagle River
Jeff King of Denali Park, AK wins the Iditarod.
Nov 9, A family of 7 and the pilot of a commuter plane died in a crash in
Nov 26, In the Aleutian Islands 800 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the Japanese 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.
Martin Buser of Big Lake, AK wins the Iditarod.
King of Denali Park, AK wins the Iditarod.
The moose was adopted as Alaska's official state land mammal.
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.
Doug Swingley of Lincoln, MT wins the Iditarod.
Two legendary dog mushers died - Joe Redington, Sr., founder of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and Edgar Nollner, Sr., the last surviving musher of the 1925 diphtheria serum run to Nome.
|2000||Doug Swingley of Lincoln, MT wins the Iditarod|
|2001||Doug Swingley of Lincoln, MT wins the Iditarod|
Buser of Big Lake, AK breaks the 9-day barrier, winning his 4th Iditarod
title in 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds.
State study showed glaciers melting at higher rate.
Earthquake damaged highways and rural homes
|2003||Robert Sorlie of Hurdal, Norway wins the Iditarod.|
judge ordered Exxon to pay $6.75 billion for 1989 oil spill
Mitch Seavey of Seward AK wins the Iditarod.
|2005||Robert Sorlie of Hurdal, Norway wins the Iditarod.|
Palin takes office as Alaska’s first woman governor
British Petrolum had 267,000 gallons oil spill at Prudhoe Bay; crew rescued from cargo vessel listing by Aleutian Islands
Jeff King of Denali, AK wins the Iditarod.
Aug 5 - 4 time Iditarod winner, Susan Butcher dies.
|2007||Lance Mackey becomes the first musher to win both the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in the same year.|
Governor Sarah Palin runs on Republican ticket for US Vice President next
to Presidential Candidate John McCain. Election won handily by Democratic
Presidential candidate, Barack Obama and Vice Presidential candidate, Joseph
Lance Mackey won both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod sled dog races for the second year in a row.
Anniversary of Alaska Statehood
The minimum wage jumps from $5.65 to $7.15, giving Alaska the highest minimum wage on the West Coast
Sarah Palin resigns as Alaska Governor for unspecified reasons.
Lance Mackey of Fairbanks AK wins the Iditarod.
Mackey of Fairbanks AK wins the Iditarod.
Former Senator Ted Stevens is killed in a plane crash near Dillingham.
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