1913 - A Very Important Year In Alaska History

Significant Strides in 1913

Planes, Peaks, Politics, Roads and Rights

by Anne Sanders

First Territorial Legislature Convenes

On March 3, 1913 Alaska’s first territorial legislature convened in Juneau. The year prior the 2nd Organic Act of 1912 was passed by Congress establishing the Territory of Alaska and granting permission for the territory to form a legislature, 45 years after the purchase of Alaska from Russia by the United States. Alaska would still be overseen by a governor appointed by the president, but this was Alaska’s first significant step toward self-governance. Elks Building where the first Territorial Legislature met Elks Building where the first Territorial Legislature session met

First Law Passed Gives Women The Right To Vote

Seven years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the first bill to pass from the newly formed Alaska Territorial Legislature was to give women the right to vote. Margaret Vale, 1913 Suffrage Margaret Vale, 1913 Suffrage

First Airplane Flight In Alaska At Fairbanks

It wasn’t an easy task arranging the first airplane flight in Alaska. Businessmen in Fairbanks hired aviator and inventor, James V. Martin to come to Alaska for an exhibition. Although it had been ten years since the Wright brothers successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, aviation was still in its infancy, so Martin and his Gage-Martin Tractor airplane were restricted to travel by land and sea. It was a long journey from Seattle to Fairbanks, but Martin and his wife, Lily Martin, an aviator herself, were able to make history and take flight on July 3, 1913. alaska history flying 1913 Seven years earlier, James V. and his wife Lily made history on July 3, 1913

First Automobile Trip From Fairbanks To Valdez

The first automobile trip along the Richardson Highway from Valdez to Fairbanks and back was made by the Army. It traveled approximately 50 miles per day. In that same year, a civilian, Bobby Sheldon, along with three passengers made the trip from Fairbanks to Valdez in four days. They made the drive in a Model T Ford. First car on the Richardson Highway, Alaska, in 1913 First car on the Richardson Highway, Alaska, in 1913

First Man To Reach The True Summit Of Denali, Mount McKinley

It wasn’t until 1913 that someone reached the summit of Denali, or Mt. McKinley, depending on what you were taught to call the tallest mountain in North America. Denali is now the mountain’s official name, which is fitting, considering it was named Denali long before Europeans discovered its lofty peak. Just as fitting is that a young Native Alaskan by the name of Walter Harper would be the first to ever step foot on its summit. He was in the company of Hudson Stuck, the expedition’s leader as well as Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum. Denali By Sbork - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
If you enjoyed this story, check out these other historical pieces, "The Battle For Attu" and "The Trading Post."

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