How a Public Railroad Saved Alaska
Long Before Statehood, the Progressive Era Made the Last Frontier Possible
Alaska officially became a state in 1959, but its modern origins occurred in the two decades that followed the discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1896.
At the turn of the century with reports of innumerable mineral resources and a limitless agricultural potential surfacing, this little-known U.S. possession suddenly grabbed the world’s attention. As pioneers and settlers rushed into the frontier and returned during this period, Alaskans founded many of today’s cities (including the two largest, Anchorage and Fairbanks), birthed a structure of highway and railroad transportation, and established …