This month has two anniversaries for the Alcan (Alaska Canada) Highway. On November 3, 1942, construction crews building the Alaska Highway from the north and south met at “break through,” 20 miles east of the Alaska boundary. On November 22, 1942, the Alcan Highway was dedicated near Lake Kluane. So this is a good time to commemorate this achievement of engineering and perseverance.
As you might guess from the dates, the Alcan Highway was built during World War II to create a safe passage from Alaska through parts of Canada to the Lower 48 states. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and a civilian group called the PRA split up the construction duties and built 1500 miles of road in only eight months. African-American soldiers did much of the work in primitive conditions, including engineering feats like building the Sikanni Chief River Bridge in three and a half days. Their accomplishments were a big factor in the integration of Black soldiers into the U. S. Army a few years later.
In the fall of 2014, my husband and I traveled down the highway from Alaska to Dawson Creek, British Columbia. I did a lot of historical research and snapped a bunch of pictures. Here are a few shots from that trip.
Top photo from WWII exhibit in the MacBride Museum, Whitehorse