State Information

Nickname(s):              The Last Frontier

Motto(s):                     North to the Future

State song(s):             Alaska’s Flag

Capital                        Juneau

Largest city                Anchorage

Admitted to US          1/3/1959                      49th State

Brief History

Alaska’s native inhabitants are the Eskimos, an indigenous people that live in the Arctic region.  Russia had no interest in the icy area and was happy to sell it to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million. Alaska returned thousands of times more in natural resources.  During WWII, American warplanes were flown to Fairbanks and Nome, where Soviet pilots took possession under a lend-lease program to fight the Germans.  The Japanese temporally occupied US soil on one of the remote Aleutian Islands. 

Here are a few interesting facts about Alaska:

  • The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) can be seen 243 days a year in Fairbanks, with green being the dominant color. 

  • Alaska has more than 3 million lakes, 130 active volcanoes, and 100,000 glaciers. 

  • Juneau is the only capital with no road access. It is also the largest city area-wise – larger than Rhode Island. 

  • Denali is the highest point in the US at 20,320 feet. 

  • There are eight national parks in Alaska.

  • It is the only state without an income tax or a sales tax. 

  • The highest temperature was 100 degrees in Fort Yukon in 1915, and the lowest temperature was minus 80 degrees in Prospect Creek in 1971.   

Interesting Stories

Serum Run of 1925In the winter of 1924, the only medical doctor in Nome, AK, was out of diphtheria antitoxin.  It started with a few children getting sore throats.  The doctor knew it was highly contagious diphtheria when they began to die.  A telegram went out broadcasting the epidemic.  Air and sea routes were unavailable, leaving dog sleds as the only transportation option.  But that was projected to take 30 days. 

Volunteers who were unable to wait that long for life-saving supplies set up a Pony Express-type relay to transport the anti-toxin to Nome.  The trek took place at minus 40 degrees, in whiteout conditions.  The first musher had parts of his face frost-bitten. The second needed hot water poured over his hands to free him from the handlebars. And the remaining mushers had similar hardships.  But, the 20 volunteer mushers reached Nome in only six days without breaking a single glass vial containing the anti-toxin. 

These rugged, generous people define Alaskans.

Natural Resources.  Alaska leads the nation in energy reserves, and not just oil.  Alaska has 5 trillion (with a “T”) tons of coal reserves, which translates into 24 trillion barrels of oil.  This is more than all of the other states combined.  Alaska also has a 28 billion barrel oil reserve in the North Slope, plus another 6 to 16 billion barrels in ANWR.  These energy reserves have an equivalent value of more than 100 trillion dollars.  The United States has most of the fossil fuel reserves in the world, largely thanks to Alaska.

ALCAN Highway.   Within months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US and Canada began constructing a 1500-mile road through snow-covered mountains.  Four construction sites worked simultaneously.  When a newbie arrived and asked where he should bed down, the standard reply was, “Son, see that snow drift over there?”  The Army sent 3300 black soldiers to one site.  Thanks to the workers’ efforts, the highway was completed in just eight months.  This illustrates that permits shouldn’t inhibit construction but improve it.

Curt Schilling was born in Anchorage.  A baseball glove adorned his crib when he arrived home from the hospital.  He took the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series.  He helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win a world series in 2001 and was voted Co-MVP.  The Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years, thanks to Curt’s pitching.  He is the only pitcher to win the World Series for three different teams.  So, why is he not in the Hall of Fame? Well, it turns out he had a cantankerous relationship with the media.  They hated his views on climate change and his disagreement with kneeling during the national anthem.  Since getting into the Hall of Fame requires a vote by sports writers, he was never able to cut due to his lack of media popularity. 

Sarah Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, but moved to Skagway, AK, when she was a few months old.  She won the Miss Alaska pageant and was voted Miss Congeniality.  A bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho adorns her wall at home.  She is the youngest woman to win the governorship of Alaska.  When John McCain named her as his VP running mate, he opened the proverbial Pandora’s box.  The media went nuts because she was a new, powerful force they couldn’t intimidate.  The facts show that she is a talented, intelligent, and exceptionally hard-working woman who believes in America.