OTD: Alcan Highway officially dedicated at Soldier’s Summit

On today’s date in 1942, the official dedication ceremony of the Alcan Highway was held at Soldier’s Summit, which is located at historic milepost 1061 within Kluane National Park and Reserve.

Working closely with agencies in the U.S. and Canada, U.S. Army engineers officially opened the present-day Alaska Highway as an overland military supply route passing through the Yukon on its route from the prairies of British Columbia to central Alaska. The roadway was more than 2,400 kilometres long and offered Canadians as well as Americans a new route for the transportation of goods on the Pacific coast.

It also provided a sense of security following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and during the escalating hostility in the Pacific region.

The official dedication ceremony for the present-day Alaska Highway was held on today’s date in 1942. (Photo by South Peace Historical Society)

CONNECTING ALASKA

The idea to connect the U.S. with its Alaskan territory was discussed since the 1920s; however, it wasn’t until the Second World War a route was studied in earnest.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt decided the highway should be built, and Prime Minister Mackenzie King agreed—if Canada didn’t have to fund the highway’s construction or maintenance during the war.

The US Army Corp of Engineers began construction in early 1942, and while the road was completed, its maintenance became a laborious effort.

The U.S. government eventually paid $147.5 million to build the highway, which officially opened to the public in 1948.

As of 2012, the highway is officially 2,232 kilometres long. The difference in distance is due to the constant reconstruction of the highway, which has been rerouted—and several of its sections straightened—in the 75 years since the first phase of construction was completed.

1992 SILVER MEDALLION

In 1992, the Anchorage Mint struck a one-ounce, .999 per cent silver medallion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Highway.

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 $47.99/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.