Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Homestead Honeymooner Highway



For our honeymoon trip… let’s go find a homestead…let’s hope our honeymooner’s were well matched as they made their way through the 1,488 miles of the Alaska Highway. First know as the Alcan Highway this meandering road stretches from Dawson Creek in British Columbia through the Canadian Yukon into Alaska ending at Delta Junction just south of Fairbanks. Known as the last frontier of homesteading, 3,277 homesteads were built on 363,775 acres or about 1% of Alaska’s total state acreage until 1986. (As illustrated on this map of Alaska located on the walkway of the Heritage Center at Homestead National Monument).

In the January 24, 2007 edition of the Anchorage Daily News, we learn about two modern day homesteader honeymooners, Robert W. Brown and Alpha Mae Harrison. Mr. Brown “joined the U.S. Army for a chance to come to Alaska in 1948. On April 15, 1952, Bob traveled back to New Mexico and married his best friend’s sister and childhood sweetheart, Alpha Mae. They spent their honeymoon driving the newly constructed Alaska Highway to Alaska. They settled in the East Anchorage home site area, building many East Anchorage roads and maintaining them for years. Bob and Alpha built two East Anchorage homes and homesteaded in the Big Lake area in 1962. Bob cleared land for many of the Big Lake and Willow homesteaders.”

While it does not seem very romantic to go and find a homestead during a honeymoon it has been done. We see here again the very practical and focused mind of the homesteaders!

For additional stories on the Alaska Highway see:

Recreational Resources of the Alaska Highway and Other Roads in Alaska
http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/alaska/

The Alaska Highway A Yukon Perspective
http://www.alaskahighwayarchives.ca/en/index.php

Driving the Alaska Highway: It's still a great adventure
http://www.outwestnewspaper.com/akhwy.html

Alaska Highway Photo Album
http://www.explorenorth.com/library/weekly/aa111398.htm

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