Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Alcan Highway

Dawson Creek, British Columbia           High 73 Low 52

Today we went to the Visitor Centre and learned about the Alcan, now Alaska, Highway. It was built in 1942 in about 8 months. The USA was afraid of a Japanese invasion of Alaska, and for a while two of the Alaskan islands were occupied by Japanese forces.

Some of the things in the museum.

Pointing the way of the Alaska Highway.
At the start of construction, no one knew for sure where to take the highway. They ran into lots of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some of the things that slowed them down were all the trees, muskeg which are swampy areas, lots of rivers which had to have bridges built over them, and as they got further north, they ran into perma-frost. When the dirt was taken of the rock hard frost, the frost melted and formed impenetrable swamps, so a way to leave and insulate the frost had to be devised.

Then as summer came on, the mosquitoes were unrelenting. And finally as winter came on, the 40 degree below zero temperatures took its toll.

But in spite of all this, the highway was completed while some said it couldn’t be done and in only 8 months.

I asked the docent at the Chamber of Congress how the Canadians felt about building the highway and she told me that they were also afraid of invasion, so the majority of Canadians were in favor of the Highway. Great Britain was at war with Germany long before Pearl Harbor.

We also walked to the actual start of the Alcan Highway and stood on the marker in the middle of the road.

On one of the old buildings in downtown Dawson Creek.
After we visited the museums and Chamber of Congress, we went to Kiskatinaw Bridge, the only one of the original bridges still in use. It took 9 months to complete and is the largest curved wooden bridge in North America.

Sorry about the graffiti.
It was an interesting day here in Dawson City. Tomorrow we leave to go to Chetwynd to see some of the Chainsaw carving championships.

Thanks for visiting.

No comments:

Post a Comment