Richardson Highway, Alaska, photograph collection, 1907-1940  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Title
Richardson Highway, Alaska, photograph collection
Dates
1907-1940 (inclusive)
1920-1940 (bulk)
Quantity
84 photographic prints (1 box)
Collection Number
PH0693
Summary
Images of the Richardson Highway, which runs from Valdez to Fairbanks, and surrounding areas.
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English


Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The Richardson Highway measures 368 miles and connects Valdez and Fairbanks, Alaska. Valdez is Mile 0 and Fairbanks is Mile 368. Alaska's first road, the Richardson Highway started out as a five-foot-wide pack trail known as the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, which was built by the army in the spring of 1899. Starting around 1902, the highway was the primary access route for gold miners of the Klondike gold fields to the interiors of Alaska. In order to get desired construction work and improvements completed, destitute prospectors were hired alongside regular construction workers. Working on the Richardson Highway allowed many unsuccessful prospectors to save enough money to leave Alaska.

The original pack trail was upgraded to a sled and wagon road by 1910. General Wilds P. Richardson and the Alaska Road Commission began to develop what became known as the Richardson Highway into a road suitable for use by automobiles in the 1920s. Between 1910 and 1920 the highway traffic shifted from pedestrian and animal traffic to wagons and motor vehicles. To finance road maintenance, the government charged a toll for commercial or large passenger vehicles starting in 1933.

During World War II the Richardson Highway was connected to the Canadian highway system at Dawson Creek by the Alaska Highway. The last bridge on the Richardson Highway was completed as part of the Alaska Highway project, making it possible to drive directly from the continental United States to Fairbanks, Alaska, without taking a ferry. During this time the Richardson Highway was also connected to Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, by the construction of the Glenn Highway.

Originally the Richardson Highway was only open to through traffic in the summer, as it was thought impossible to keep the section of road at Thompson Pass clear of snow in the winter. John Clarke, a Thompson Pass resident who was chief foreman of a freight company, cleared snow off the Richardson Highway road during the winter of 1949-1950, proving to the government that it was possible to drive from Valdez to Fairbanks even in the winter. After that winter, the government took over the task of clearing snow from the Richardson Highway throughout the winter.

The Richardson Highway was paved in 1957 and is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska. The highway is considered today to be part of the Alaska Highway and provides the primary access to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the world's largest park system.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains 84 black-and-white photographic prints of the Richardson Highway, Valdez, Alaska, and the surrounding area. Included are scenic views from the roadway and images of the highway in various seasons.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the Special Collections division, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Preferred Citation

Richardson Highway, Alaska, Photograph Collection. Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Valdez-Mineral Creek Road, 1934-1936Return to Top

In the vicinity of Valdez, Alaska.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 1
Mineral Creek Valley
October 11, 1934
1 2
Mineral Creek proposed bridge site at west side of glacier stream
September 19, 1935
1 3
Mineral Creek: No. 1 Bridge
December 20, 1935
1 4 December 30, 1935
1 5 June 12, 1935
1 6
Mineral Creek: No. 2 Bridge right of way
January 1936
1 7
Mineral Creek: No. 2 Bridge
February 19, 1936

Valdez, Alaska, circa 1920-1935Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 8 1935
1 9 circa 1925 or 1926
1 10
 Interior of city market
"One days' hunt on the Valdez-Richardson Rd."
undated
1 11 October 11, 1934
1 12 undated
1 13 November 27, 192?

Construction of Richardson Highway, undatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 14
 Valdez-Fairbanks Trail
Later known as the Richardson Highway.
undated
1 15 undated

Richardson Highway, 1907-1940Return to Top

Arranged in order of mile marker, starting near Valdez.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 16
Valdez Dike
undated
1 17 June 26, 1929
1 18
Valdez Dike, Route 4BA, east side
1930
1 19-21 June 10, 1931
1 22 September 1931
1 23
Mile 3: Robe Lake from air over Lowe River
undated
1 24
Mile 4-4.5: view of highway
June 6, 1929
1 25
Mile 11: view of highway
undated
1 26
Keystone Canyon
September 1907
1 27 undated
1 28
Mile 13.3: pile and brush bank protection
June 1934
1 29
Mile 16-16.5: view from highway of Keystone Canyon and Meteor Mountain in distance
June 16, 1929
1 30 May 30, 1935
1 31
Mile 16.25: Lowe River below Snowslide Gulch
undated
1 32 June 16, 1929
1 33
Mile 16.25: snow slide
May 30, 1930
1 34
Mile 16.25: passageway cut into snow on bridge at Snowslide Gulch
undated
1 35 1929
1 36 1930
1 37
Mile 16.5: bridge destroyed by slide at Snowslide Gulch
May 9, 1933
1 38 May 30, 1935
1 39 May 30, 1935
1 40
Men on bridge at Snowslide Gulch
June 8, 1929
1 41 June 9, 1929
1 42
Men standing on center line of road at Snowslide Gulch
May 11, 1935
1 43
North side of Snowslide Gulch
May 30, 1935
1 44
Men and machine clearing snow at Snowslide Gulch
circa 1927-1938
1 45
Mile 17.5: Bear Creek after Glacier Stream flood
1925
1 46 1931
1 47
Mile 17.5: Bear Creek Glacier from bridge site
before 1937
1 48 October 1937
1 49 undated
1 50-51 May 11, 1938
1 52
Mile 19: black bear cub
circa 1920-1930
1 53
Mile 19: black bear cub at Whorthman Camp
circa 1920-1930
1 54
South side of new road at Thompson Pass
July 1930
1 55
 Mile 25.2: Thompson Pass Summit
Maas, Pete (photographer)
Note on verso: "This area now in 1975 has been lowered (from 1974 road height) to 50 feet lower to accomodate the Alyeska Pipeline coming right alongside the road."
1933
1 56
Mile 26: tractor and bulldozer removing snow
June 5, 1934
1 57
Mile 26.5: snow plowing
undated
1 58
Mile 26.5: snowdrift and overflow channel
June 4, 1934
1 59
Mile Mile 26.5-27: road from head of gulch to shelter cabin
June 6, 1934
1 60 June 1, 1936
1 61 September 12, 1934
1 62
Mile 26.5-28: Crater Lake (also called Summit Lake)
June 1934
1 63 July 6, 1929
1 64
Mile 28.75: metal pipe thrown 900 feet by snow slide
undated
1 65
Mile 29: Worthington Glacier area
September 1937
1 66 July 6, 1929
1 67
Mile 29.5: bridge on road from Big Flats
September 1937
1 68 September 20, 1934
1 69 July 10, 1934
1 70
Mile 45.5: highway
August 1, 1940
1 71
Mile 47: Stewart Creek pony truss bridge
undated
1 72
 Mile 47.5: crossing at Tsaina River
Note on verso of photograph explains that original crossing built in 1924 is being dismantled and moved 900 feet upstream due to discovery of oil.
September 19, 1930
1 73
Mile 50.625: snow slides along river
May 23, 1929
1 74
Mile 51: highway with snow
undated
1 75
Mile 51.5: land elevations along bank of Tukheil River
May 23, 1929
1 76
Mile 51.5: deep section of snow slide
May 23, 1929
1 77
Mile 51.5: Tukheil River at Tukheil road house
May 23, 1929
1 78 June 4, 1938
1 79 circa 1937
1 80 undated

Valdez, Alaska, area , circa 1930-1940, undatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box item
1 81 January 1935
1 82
Valdez area
undated
1 83
Area north of Valdez
circa 1930-1940
1 84 undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Roads--Alaska--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Alaska Highway--Photographs
  • Alaska--Description and travel--Photographs
  • Richardson Highway (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Valdez (Alaska)--Description and travel--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints
  • Photographs

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)