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Alaska Highway News, 1945-1950

Newspaper articles from the early post-war period as the highway opened to the public

Alaska Highway Chronology

Alaska Highway - Historic Road Reports

The Winnipeg Tribune: June 28, 1946, page 21

More Gas Stations For Alaska Highway, 1946

    EDMONTON, June 28 (CP) - Construction of accommodation buildings and refuelling stations at many points along the Alaska Highway between Fort St. John, B.C. and Whitehorse, Y.T., is proceeding satisfactorily and facilities for civilian travelers is expected to be ready by next spring. L. H. Phinney, special Canadian commissioner for northwest defense projects, announced Tuesday.

    Four additional refuelling stations are being put in between Dawson Creek, B.C., and Whitehorse while accommodation for overnight stops is being provided at nine other points, the commissioner said. It is hoped to have most of the construction completed by fall.

Winnipeg Tribune: Thursday, May 1, 1947, page 3

No Tourists Allowed On Alaska Highway, 1947

    EDMONTON, May 1 (CP) - Donald E. Byron, of Chicago, would like to travel over the Alaska highway on horseback.

    Rev. D. A. Gregory, a 52-year-old Baptist minister from Harlingen, Texas, is anxious to ride along the highway on his three-wheel scooter.

    A California couple, both 64 years old, have asked about the possibility of motoring via the 1,523-mile road to see their son in Alaska.

    Horseman Byron, who wants to homestead in Alaska, may be allowed a permit providing he can comply with regulations governing traffic over the road, built by the U.S. during the war as a supply route to Alaska.

    But Mr. Gregory has been refused permission to make the trip. He planned on taking his dog Poochie and her her three pups along, carrying them on wire baskets attached to the scooter.

    No tourists are allowed because of the limited accommodation along the highway which runs through sparsely-settled frontier mountain and bush country to Fairbanks.

    "Byron could manage it on horseback," said one official familiar with conditions.

    The Chicago man, eligible to travel over the road because he has "actual business" - homesteading is his objective - must show some proof of his ability to make such a trip before a permit would be issued.

    Rules governing travel are laid down by a special three-man committee in charge of civilian traffic now going over the road at an average daily rate of seven vehicles and 18 persons. In 22 days only two vehicles returned to Edmonton after starting out on the 2,000-mile jaunt to Alaska.

    Each applicant must make a personal appearance at Edmonton before an R.C.M.P. constable who has authority to issue a permit. Each must be able to supply his own transportation, gas, oil and spare parts, and to undertake necessary vehicle repairs.

    Officials in charge of traffic say the best advice they can offer anyone contemplating a road trip to Alaska is to obtain full information before leaving home. This information is available at the Northwest Chamber of Mines office in Edmonton.

    Letters are pouring into the office at the rate of 35 to 65 a day, "99.9 percent" of them from the U.S.

Great Falls Tribune (Great Falls, Montana): June 29, 1947

Alaska Highway Road report, 1947

    FAIRBANKS - Big plans for Alaska highway travel got under way in Chicago last month when Ken O'Harra of the O'Harra bus lines signed an agreement with the Greyhound Corp, to make connections in Canada for expanded passenger service to Alaska, O'Harra disclosed.

    The operation. which probably will start next summer when more equipment is available, will bring passengers to Dawson. Y. T., via Greyhound and Canadian Greyhound where they will be met by the O'Harra lines, according to present, tentative plans.

    FAIRBANKS - As Alaska highway traffic in May, 1947, increased 15 times over May, 1946, the customs office here announced the road will be closed to tourist traffic this year.

    Territory-bound travelers must have solid reasons - such as plans for permanent homes in Alaska, waiting jobs or sound business purposes - to proceed north of Edmonton.

    A total of 883 passengers in 369 vehicles (11 of which were buses), rode the highway last month alone.

    The Alaska highway control board receives from 400 to 700 applications and grants 15 to 20 travel permits daily.

Ottawa Journal: February 16, 1948

    Resource Minister Glen announces tourist and pleasure travel restrictions are now removed from the Alaska Highway. The highway extends 1,523 miles from Dawson Creek in B.C. to Fairbanks in Alaska, and nothing stands between us and it but about 3,000 miles of long hard travel.

Ottawa Journal: March 10, 1948

RCMP Traffic Squad for Alaska Highway, 1948

    EDMONTON, March 9. - (CP) - Inspector H. H. Cronkite, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Whitehorse, said today that RCMP will be compelled to form a traffic squad to patrol the Alaska Highway in Yukon Territory.

    He said as soon as restrictions were lifted recently on highway travel, a rush began of jalopies, trailers and trucks.

The Lethbridge Herald: May 12, 1948

Alaska Drive No Pleasure Trip, 1948

    Summer motor trips up the Alaska highway are not pictured too enticingly for Montana readers of the Great Falls Tribune. Following is from that newspaper:

Be Prepared

    HELENA - Motorists contemplating a trip over the Alaska highway were today advised by officials of the Montana Automobile Association, affiliate of the American Automobile Association, to be thoroughly prepared and equipped.

    A steady increase in motor travel, from 3 to 4 cars a day to 30 or 40 per day, has been observed at Edmonton, officials said. It appears at the present time that persons who travel the highway regularly in the course of their business, plus current tourists, are using about 70 per cent of available accommodations at hotels and stopping places.

Pioneer Journey

    Word from the Alberta Motor Association is that persons undertaking the Alaska road trip should be well prepared for a possible "pioneer" journey as far as accommodations at hotels and stopping places are concerned, if traffic continues to increase at present rate.

    Removal some weeks ago of restrictions requiring travel permits by those using the highway is expected to increase the flow of traffic greatly.

    The highway is in relatively good repair, reports indicate, with some 75 timber bridges needing replacement during the summer by the Alaska highway maintenance force. There are also some 8,000 culverts of which many must be replaced.

    The Canadian army his established 13 maintenance camps along the highway, each about 70 miles apart. Each camp houses between 5 and 10 families. The highway is used as a freight road for the R.C.A.F. and army rations and other government utilities, officials stated.

The Chilliwack Progress: January 18, 1950

Canadian Far North is Booming, 1950

    The far north is really being opened up with settlers coming in all the time, I. Macfarlane, who arrived here December 10 by car, said.

    He has lived at Carcross, Yukon Territories for the past 12 years. With him on the trip out was his wife, and his brother who left by plane from Seattle to be at work there last Sunday.

    Mr. and Mrs. Macfarlane are living in a Chilliwack auto court and plan to settle here. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Macfarlane live at 18 Cleveland avenue.

    Whitehorse is a "big town now" with a population between 7000 and 8000, he said.

    It was 25 above zero and a warm sun was shining when they left December 10. Since then he heard the temperature had dropped to 60 degrees below zero.

    "But we never saw anything like this up north," he kids his Chilliwack friends.


    The Alaska Highway is open all year round, and you can "highball it" along at 60 to 70 miles per hour all the way. Maintenance work by the Canadian Army is the reason, he said.

    Stops were meals are served and gasoline is sold have been erected about every 50 miles along the highway.