Charlie King builds the Alaska Canada Highway

Charlie's Cat

Charlie King and Al-Can Highway –

This post will link to a set of photos at Flickr on the WWII construction. If visitors may comment there [if enrolled there] or on this site (below). For those with questions on those pictures, please add them as a comment here or better yet,

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Here are some references to explore. The first two are from The Internet Scout Project,

13. Building the Alaska Highway [QuickTime, RealPlayer, Macromedia Flash Player]

The most well-documented road-building program in the world may in fact be the construction of the U.S. interstate highway system. However, the most dramatic project may have well been the construction of the Alaska Highway during World War II. As part of the highly celebrated Public Broadcasting System series, “American Experience”, this site complements the recent edition of this program that examined this 1,500-mile road. Construction of the road commenced in May 1942, largely because of the very real possibility that Japan might invade Alaska. The highway took eight months to complete, and along the way the soldiers assigned to this project encountered substantial mountain peaks, snow, and primeval forests. After reading a brief synopsis of the film, visitors will want to take a look at the site’s special features, which include an online poll, a fun section titled “How to Build a Road”, and a virtual “road trip” along the route of the highway.

The site is rounded out by a timeline and some bonus interview transcripts from various persons who participated in the construction of the Alaskan Highway. [KMG]

21. CME 2003: The Centennial of the Canadian Military Engineers [pdf]
p> 2006-07-14T23:15:41+00:00 [The Wayback Machine has archived copies of this document: National Launch of the Centennial of Canadian Military Engineers 2003


2003 marks the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Military Engineers. As part of the Web site honoring their century of service, the Heritage Archive contains over 50 stories documenting some of the remarkable achievements made over the years. For example, one story tells of the transformation of the Alaska Highway from a road suitable for only military vehicles into a “first-class gravel road.” During the process, engineering crews had to deal with extremely harsh conditions that made the project an even more noteworthy success. Other stories describe the Canadian Military Engineers’ presence in World War II and Haiti, among others, and at home. [CL]

The Associated Press (Published: October 6, 2003)

Japanese metal technicians and U.S. Coast Guard crews have completed restoration of the Peace Monument at the summit of Engineer Hill on Attu Island, the Coast Guard said recently. The monument was damaged in a storm last year.

The island was the site of what is considered one of the bloodiest battles of World War II and the first on American soil since the War of 1812.

In 1942, Japanese occupied Attu Island with 2,300 men. On May 11, 1943, U.S. forces began a 19-day campaign to retake the island…. See full story at:

John S Whitehead (2004. Completing the Union: Alaska, Hawai’i, and the Battle for Statehood. Albuquerque: University of NM Press) recommends—

  • the single best resource for the US perspective on the highway
    Heath Twichell. 1992. Northwest Epic: The Building of the Alaska Highway. NY: St Martin’s Press.
  • the Canadian perspective
    K.S. Coates and W.R. Morrison. 1992. The Alaska Highway in World War II: The U.S. Army of Occupation in Canada’s Northwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • Aleut displacement
    Dean Kohlhoff. 1995. When the Wind Was a River: Aleut Evacuation in World War II. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

National Geographic map, can be purchased. Attu and Shemya can be viewed in “more views”, all the way to the west in the margin

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7 Responses to “Charlie King builds the Alaska Canada Highway”

  1. 1 vuee 2006 July 19 at 1:12 pm

    Additional references–
    University of San Diego:
    The Alaska Highway in WWII
    "The Aleutians"
    Sources from Will Kalenius

    "Webster’s Historical Notes The Alaska Highway"
    "Alcan Highway 95th Engineer Regiment – Colored"

  2. 2 vuee 2006 July 19 at 1:17 pm

    “18th Engineers: The 18th began their work in the middle of ALCAN, at Whitehorse, and moved towards Alaska to link up with the PRA. They were led by Colonel Earl Paules. (Picture from Twichell)”

  3. 3 vuee 2006 July 19 at 6:06 pm

    The Tiny URL for this page is Charlie King Al-Can

  4. 4 vuee 2006 July 19 at 9:35 pm

    “Article from American History Magazine
    Alaska Highway: The Biggest and Hardest Job Since the Panama Canal
    After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States feared that Alaska was vulnerable to invasion. To allay those fears, the government embarked on a monumental job of road building through some of the most remote and inaccessible terrain in North America.

    By J. Kingston Pierce”

  5. 5 vuee 2011 December 17 at 4:38 pm

    Alternative view of the highway’s necessity–

    Several years ago, the PBS and most of its affiliates nationwide aired a documentary film depicting the construction of the Alaska (formerly Alcan) Highway in 1942, around the start of World War Two, perpetuating one of the more enduring hoaxes in the history of U.S.-Canada relationships. (The film was initially aired in the U.S. and Canada on Feb. 7, 2005, and occasionally since as part of the PBS’s American Experience series.)

  1. 1 O’Folks » Alaska Highway and Aleutians War Trackback on 2006 August 10 at 1:11 am
  2. 2 Comments on Al-Can and Aleutians photos « O’Folks Trackback on 2006 September 3 at 4:57 pm
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