Category Archives: Alaska History

Icebound

The documentary ‘Icebound’ is the story of the 1925 Serum Run, a heroic testament to the human spirit, and to the dogs of the far north. But beyond the legend lies a complex tale, filled with irony, tragedy, and myth. Continue reading

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Alaska Road Commission

The Commission did not favor use of these trails by trucks or automobiles, declaring in 1914 that it made “no pretense of having built roads adapted for automobile travel….” Continue reading

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Roadhouse Registers

Travelers of the Trail • Seeking Shelter and A Warm Meal W. A. Dikeman and Charles Peterson reported by Iditarod Nugget as “First Mushers Over the Iditarod Trail: Taking 45 Days from Seward to Otter, they meet several others on the … Continue reading

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Ernest de Koven Leffingwell

Ernest de Koven Leffingwell was a joint commander, with Ejnar Mikkelsen, of the 1906-1908 Anglo-American Polar Expedition, which established that, contrary to long-held myths and stories, there was no land north of Alaska.

Self-described as “the forgotten explorer,” as his efforts went largely unrecognized in his own time, Leffingwell is credited for later mapping about 150 miles of the Arctic coastline, between Point Barrow and Herschel Island, along with the adjacent Brooks Range, between 1906 and 1914. Continue reading

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Trailing and Camping in Alaska

Trailing and Camping in Alaska, subtitled Ten Years Spent Exploring, Hunting and Prospecting in Alaska – 1898 to 1909, was written in 1909 by Addison M. Powell, an adventurer, prospector, hunter, and a former guide for Captain William R. Abercrombie’s … Continue reading

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Jujiro Wada, Trailblazer

There are many strange and unusual stories in the annals of northern sled dog travel, but one of the most fascinating concerns an enigmatic Japanese explorer and adventurer named Jujiro Wada. Born in Japan in the 1870s, the second son of a lower-class samurai warrior, he traveled to the U.S. in 1890 and worked as a cabin boy for the Pacific Steam Whaling Company and at Barrow for the renowned Charlie Brower, manager of the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Company, which history buffs agree was probably where he learned to handle sled dogs and began learning the Alaska Native languages. Continue reading

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Seppala House Update

The Seppala House Project STILL needs funds for moving and restoration, please donate generously: Continue reading

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Leonard Seppala House

The Leonhard Seppala House Restoration Project is an effort to save what many believe to be a key piece of Alaskan history, the home of a legendary musher, three-time champion of the All Alaska Sweepstakes, who played a central role … Continue reading

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Alaska Nellie

Nellie Neal Lawing, familiar to Alaskans as “Alaska Nellie,” lived a life much larger than most, even by Alaskan standards. She was a fisherman, a hunter, a trapper, a cook and a roadhouse keeper; she fed the crews building the Alaska Railroad, welcomed princes and presidents into her home, guided big game hunters and developed an impressive trophy collection of her own. She mushed a dog team, kept a pet bear cub, became famous for her strawberry pies, and saw a movie made about her adventures. She was one of a kind, an Alaskan original, and she lived life to the fullest. Continue reading

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