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Home  >  Digital Archives  >  Industry  >  Tourism
The Road to Tourism  -  Related Materials
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Visit the Library for more information:

Alaska's libraries hold audio, visual, and written material about how the Alaska Railroad was established and its effect on Alaska's tourism. Visit your local library or go online to see what's available in holdings all over the state. Take these simple steps:

  1. Access SLED (State Library Electronic Doorway) at
  2. Click on the listing for ALNCat (the Alaska Library Network Catalog) to view the Basic Search window. Go to the Keyword field, and type in ALASKA RAILROAD, ALASKA STEAMSHIP, or MCKINLEY PARK HISTORY.

More Reading:

Alaska Steamship Company. Sailing Sheltered Seas to Alaska. Seattle: Alaska Steamship Company, 1931.

Alaska Steamship Company. Alaska: Sailing Sheltered Seas. Seattle: Alaska Steamship Company, 1933

Brastad, Erling. Recollections of the Alaska Steamship Company: By Erling Brastad, John Vogler, Arnold Wiest; recorded by William Schnieder. Fairbanks: Program for the Preservation of Oral History and Traditions, Alaska and Polar Regions Dept, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1984.

Brown, William E. A History of the Denali - Mount McKinley Region, Alaska: Historic Resource Study of Denali National Park and Preserve. Santa Fe, NM: National Park Service, Southwest Regional Office, 1991.

Clifford, Howard, Alaska / Yukon Railroads: An Illustrated History. Oso, Wash.: Oso Publishing, 1999.

McDonald, Lucile. Alaska Steam: A Pictorial History of the Alaska Steamship Company. Anchorage: Alaska Geographic Society, 1984.

Rennick, Penny, Alaska Geographic Society, Alaska's Railroads. Anchorage: Alaska Geographic Society, 1992.

Archival Material:

A History of Alaska Steamship Company, 1895-1954. Alaska State Library, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Masters thesis written by Marylou McMahon Haugland at the University of Washington in 1968.

Steamship Company Publications and Promotional Materials, 1887. Alaska State Library. Includes travel guides, brochures, maps, passenger lists, daily bulletins, newsletters, shipping schedules, publications and miscellaneous from Alaska Steamship Co., Pacific Coast Steamship Company, Alaska Coast Company, and British Columbia Steamship Company.

A Good-Natured Map of Alaska: showing the services offered by "The Alaska Line" and suggesting some of the most interesting features of the Territory, 1934. Alaska State Library, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Library and Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks. A 51 x 72-cm map produced by Alaska Steamship Co. and Farwest Lithograph & Printing Co., Seattle.

When You Think Alaska, Think Alaska Steamship Co., 1929. Alaska State Library. A 53 x 76-cm map made by Alaska Steamship Co. and Poole Brothers - Chicago.

Beulah Marrs Parisi Papers, 1938 - 1995. Alaska State Library. The collection consists of Beulah Marrs Parisi's biographical scrapbooks, photographs, and related materials concerning her life in Anchorage during World War II and her volunteer work with the USO. The collection includes biographical scrapbooks (1941-1945), photographs from or related to the scrapbooks, publications, newspaper clippings, and a six-page reminiscence on the wartime newsletter, the Mukluk Telegraph. The biographical scrapbooks contain autobiographical narratives, letters, photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, and other materials. The photographs include over 300 copy prints and negatives from the scrapbooks, plus other original prints and negatives. The publications consist of wartime Alaska magazines, issues of Flying Time, the newsletter of Headquarter Squadron of the 11th Fighter Command in Adak, and illustrated booklets for the Alaska Steamship Co., the Alaska Railroad, the USO Club in Anchorage, and the Mt. McKinley U.S. Army Recreation Camp. The newspaper clippings primarily concern the Morrison-Knudsen Construction Company, aviation, and airplane crashes and rescues.

Florence Carr Wendt Collection, 1935-1967. Alaska State Library. Includes unpublished manuscript, typescript poems (Robert W. Service) and legends, menus from the S.S. Victoria and S.S. Yukon, a copy of Sydney Laurence's "Mount McKinley," and a loose-leaf scrapbook containing photos, postcards, maps, and travel brochures from a 1935 Alaska-Yukon tour.

Lloyd Spetzman Photograph Collection, 1946-1968. Alaska State Library. Collection of 854 slides and a photo album with 168 black-and-white photos that includes images of buildings in Anchorage, railroad engines and stations, canneries, fishing boats, Alaska Railroad scenes and equipment and photos taken during a trip from Anchorage to Seward. Photos from this trip include Matanuska Valley and Glacier, Kenai Peninsula, Portage Glacier, Spencer Glacier, Bartlett Glacier, Turnagain Arm, Palmer Highway and bridge, Girdwood, Pioneer Peak, Kenai Lake, Mount Susitna, Cook Inlet and Knik Arm. Images cover all of Alaska except the southeast regions. The collection also includes an Inuit grammar dictionary (manuscript), plant lists, field notes, loose photographs, correspondence to and from Spetzman, and a loose-leaf, black-and-white photograph album.

Frederick Date Papers, Photographs and Artifacts, 1833-1976. University of Alaska Anchorage. The collection consists of papers, publications, photographs, and artifacts relating to Frederick Date's life and activities in Alaska. There are also more than 600 photographs, which depict towns, buildings, social activities, mining, travel, people, and Date's activities with the Alaska Road Commission and the Alaska Railroad.

Alaska Railroad Microfiche Project Collection, 1984. Alaska State Library. Construction of the railroad began under the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC) around 1916. The AEC became the Alaska Railroad Commission after construction was complete in 1923, and eventually became the Alaska Railroad. Because early construction was of interest to the government in Washington D.C., professional photographers were employed to document the work in Alaska. Photographers represented in the collection include P. S. Hunt, H. G. Kaiser, A. J. Johnson and the Sydney Laurence Co. Between 1915 and 1923 nearly 2,700 photographs were taken. The project to preserve the collection of Alaska Railroad photographs on microfiche was funded by the Alaska Historical Commission and directed by M. Diane Brenner of the Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum. The Anchorage Museum of History and Art [previously Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum] holds the original photographs and reproductions may be ordered from the Museum.

U.S. Alaska Engineering Commission Photograph Collection, 1916-1918. Alaska State Library. This collection includes views of Anchorage churches, buildings, hotels, theatres, and festivals, construction activities, facilities and equipment of the Alaska Railroad, then identified as Alaska Engineering Commission Railway. Views of other southcentral Alaskan towns are included. Official photographers for the Commission, represented in the collection include: P.S. Hunt (Phinney S.), H. G. Kaiser, A. J. Johnson and S. Laurence. The collection also includes views by the Sydney Laurence Co. and E. A. Hegg.

Alaska Railroad Tour Lantern Slide Collection, 1923. Alaska State Library. This collection of 85 colored lantern slides advertised the Alaska Railroad's Tour #2 in the first year of operation for the Alaska Railroad in 1923. The slides are imprinted with "Alaska Railroad, Washington D.C." The tour began at the Alaska Steamship pier in Seattle and continued by steamship up through the Inside Passage to Seward where the passengers boarded the train. The images start at Seward and show the scenic views along the tour as the train heads to Fairbanks and then by automobile to Valdez. Tour #2 covered 4,402 miles in 22 days, and cost $240.65. The slides advertised the scenic beauty of Alaska and activities of Alaskans living along the route.

Alaska Railroad Photograph Collection, 1916-1922. Alaska State Library. A collection of 356 black-and-white photographs taken by Alaskan Engineering Commission photographers and professional photographers hired to record railroad construction. In addition, people, camps, buildings, and communities along the railroad are shown. The collection includes a series of agricultural photographs, from the Matanuska Valley and Fairbanks, among others. Images of government officials are also identified. Photographers represented in the collection include P. S. Hunt, H. G. Kaiser, Albert J. Johnson and several views by the Sydney Laurence Co. Most images have AEC numbers.

Alaska Railroad Construction, 1915-1918. Alaska State Library. A collection of 152 black & white photos that documents the preliminary route exploration, surveying, and early construction of the Alaska Railroad, ca. 1915-1917. Views include railroad survey and construction work, bridges, and the towns of Fort Seward, Anchorage, Seward and Cordova. Also included is a portrait of Thomas Guy Wansbury and one panorama of the original railroad survey crew. Includes views by Louis H. Pedersen, Paul Beran, John E. Thwaites, and Straughan.

Robert Lewis Papers and Photographs, 1941-1943. University of Alaska Anchorage. The collection consists of papers and photographs from Robert Lewis' service in the U.S. Army at Fort Raymond, Seward, Alaska during World War II. The papers include: two issues of the Daily Polaris (the Fort Raymond post newspaper), a certificate of completion and text from a University of Alaska extension course in mining, notes on combat intelligence, plans for a bridge, a National Park Service booklet on Mount McKinley National Park, and an Alaska Defense Command booklet about the Mount McKinley U.S. Army Recreation Camp. The photographs include those of Robert Lewis and Battery E, Fort Raymond and its facilities and troops, and scenery and recreational activities on the Kenai Peninsula and along the Alaska Railroad. Localities depicted in the photographs include Seward, Mount McKinley National Park, Fairbanks, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, Russian River, Rendezvous, Hope, the Divide Ski Area, and "Alaska Nellie" Lawing's house and trophy room in Lawing. The photographs also include a group of images of Adak Island and the army base there, taken in 1951.

Jacques N. and Marion M. Jacobsen Collection, 1882-1967. Alaska State Library. The collection includes the Klondike Gold Rush, Native peoples, Arctic life, U.S. Coast Guard activities, 1922-1925, railroads, World Flight airplanes, fishing, mining, ships, sled dogs, glaciers, lighthouses, Mt. McKinley (Denali), scenics, and Elmendorf Air Force Base, 1954-1955. Photographers include: Lomen Brothers, W. H. Parker, Alaska Shop, Elite Studio, A. Wischmeyer, Guy F. Cameron, Otto Schallerer, H. A. Ives, Charles S. Cann, Ordway, Kirk, Case & Draper, E. W. Merrill, O. D. Goetze, Lewis Rice, E. A. Hegg, John E. Thwaites, Dedman, Edward De Groff, T. W. Ingersoll, Trevor Davis, Frank La Roche, Landerkin & Winter, Partridge, and B. L. Singley. Papers include First Day Covers of 100th Anniversary Purchase of Alaska, Admission of Alaska to statehood; Alaska travel guides, and Air Force manual, 1951.

Moving Images:

Mount McKinley National Park, travelogue by Howard J. Cooper, 1927. Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA). University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library. 16 mm, black-and-white, silent film. This 30-second excerpt shows the roadhouse built, owned and operated by Italian immigrant Maurice Morino (1870-1937) at Mount McKinley National Park (later renamed Denali National Park and Preserve); the backside of the entrance sign to McKinley Park; the McKinley Park railroad station and a brief view of an entrance to a railroad tunnel. Except for the McKinley Park entrance sign, the scenes were filmed from a moving train. Intertitle at beginning of excerpt reads, "Entrance to McKinley Park." This excerpt is from an original motion picture travelogue made by Howard J. Cooper from footage shot when Cooper traveled to Alaska in 1927.

Denali National Park: Early Tourism Exhibit video, 2005. Alaska State Library. A DVD with black-and-white sequences written by Heather Walter and McClosley Productions Inc., that discusses the early tourism of Denali National Park and Preserve of the Alaska Interior.

Across Time and Tundra: A Historical Journey Through Denali National Park and Preserve, 2002. Alaska State Library. A video recording with black-and-white sequences written by Jane Bryant and Jane Aherm Tranel that discusses the creation of Denali National Park and Preserve of the Alaska Interior, and the early tourism which followed.

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Road to Tourism

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