Alaska Highway has legendary history

Official opening ceremonies were held on this day in 1942 of the Alcan Highway, later renamed the Alaska Highway.

This section covers 2,451 kilometres from Dawson Creek, B.C., through the Yukon to Alaska.

According to Wikipedia, the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alaskan Highway, Alaska-Canadian Highway, or Alcan Highway) was constructed during the Second World War for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada.

It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, B.C., and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. Completed in 1942 at a length of approximately 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi), as of 2012 it is 2,232 km (1,387 mi) long. The difference in distance is due to constant reconstruction of the highway, which has rerouted and straightened out numerous sections. The highway was opened to the public in 1948.

alaska2

This 50th anniversary stamp was issued by Canada Post.

Legendary over many decades for being a rough, challenging drive, the highway is now paved over its entire length.

An informal system of historic mileposts developed over the years to denote major stopping points; Delta Junction, at the end of the highway, makes reference to its location at “Historic Milepost 1422.”

It is at this point that the Alaska Highway meets the Richardson Highway, which continues 155 km (96 mi) to the city of Fairbanks. This is often regarded, though unofficially, as the northern portion of the Alaska Highway, with Fairbanks at Historic Milepost 1520. Mileposts on this stretch of highway are measured from Valdez, rather than the Alaska Highway.

This 29-cent USA stamp was issued in 1991.

This 29-cent USA stamp was issued in 1992.

The Alaska Highway is popularly (but unofficially) considered part of the Pan-American Highway, which extends south (despite its discontinuity in Panama) to Argentina.

In 1967, Canada Post celebrated the Alaska Highway’s 25th birthday by issuing an eight-cent stamp featuring a painting by A.Y Jackson. It also issued a 42-cent stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary. In 1992, the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a 29-cent stamp to mark the highway’s 50th anniversary.

alaskamedalTo date, no collector coins have been issued to commemorate the Alaska Highway, however, we did find on eBay a silver medallion that was produced in 1992 to mark the 50th anniversary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Keep up to date with the numismatic community

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Canadian Coin News

Canada

Canadian Coin News is Canada's premier source of information about coins, notes and medals.

Although we cover the entire world of numismatics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Coin News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $45.75/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier coin publication. Canadian Coin News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.