ACQUISITION: The collection was copied from an album of U.S. telegraph station construction activities in Alaska. The photographer and provenance are unknown. The album was purchased by Richard Wood of the Alaska Heritage Shop, who loaned it to the Alaska Historical Collections for that purpose. Accession no. 1989-41.
ACCESS: The collection is available for viewing, however, the photographs may not be photocopied.
COPYRIGHT: Request for permission to reproduce the photographs should be discussed with the Librarian.
PROCESSING: Fifty-three of the original 118 photographs were reproduced. The photos have been numbered and placed in Mylar inserts. The original views contained captions written on the front and back, which are noted. The collection is arranged geographically.
HISTORICAL NOTE In 1900, Congress allocated funds to link Alaska's army posts by military telegraph and cable lines. The Secretary of War set up the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS) under the U.S. Army Signal Corps. The original group numbered about 100 men but grew to more than 2,000 by World War II, linking military posts in the Aleutians to Adak, Kodiak, and Anchorage. Gen. Adolphus Greely was designated Chief Signal Officer. Lt. Billy Mitchell mapped a route over 2,000 miles along the coast at Valdez and west from Tanana and Yukon to Nome. By 1903, six telegraph circuits included 559 miles of line between Fort Gibbon (Tanana) and Fort Egbert (Eagle City). Headquarters at Fort St. Michael also began telegraph communication at this time over 2,500 miles to the United States.
In 1936, WAMCATS was changed to the Alaska Communication System (ACS). ACS constructed 2,020 miles of lines composed of 72,000 poles along the Alaska-Canadian Highway (Alcan). By the 1950s there were 33 combination military-commercial stations and 7 branch offices in Alaska. The main station was located in Seattle, Washington. In 1962 the Air Force took over the ACS. [Portions taken from PCA 64, U. S. Alaska Communications System, 1904-1963.]
SCOPE AND CONTENTS NOTE The original collection contained 118, 3 x 5 photographs. The images provide valuable information about Alaska communications activities, including telegraph construction, campsites, roadhouses and U.S. telegraph stations.
INVENTORY 1. U.S. Tel. Station. Copper Center.
2. Copper Center Telegraph Center, ca. 1912.
3. Camp Comfort, Alaska. (Beaver Dam, Alaska, ca. 1912.)
4. (Beaver Dam Telegraph Station.)
5. Beaver Dam Telegraph Station, ca. 1912.
6. Myself, Cash and Walker (Delta Telegraph Station).
7. (Delta Telegraph Site, Taken when -55 degrees.)
8. (Delta, Alaska. Cache and wood yard back of Delta Telegraph Site, ca. 1909-1916.)
8a. (Delta, Alaska. Delta River Telegraph Construction. 1918-1925. Tom Davis.)
9. U.S. Telegraph Station, Donnelly, Alaska-Brogan, ca. 1915.
10. Donnelly Telegraph Station, ca. 1915.
11. U.S. Telegraph Station, Donnelly, Alaska.
12. Donnelly Telegraph Station, Donnelly, Alaska.
13. Donnelly, Alaska. Funster and Brogan on the Dome.
14. (Fairbanks, Alaska. U.S. Radio Station.)
15. (Fort Egbert, Alaska. Wireless Station.)
16. Fort Liscum, Alaska.
17. Gulkana, Alaska, ca. 1915.
18. Telegraph Station, Gulkana, Alaska.
19. (Cache at Hogan, Alaska used as station after fire and before new station was built, ca. 1912.)
20. (Hogan Telegraph Station, Hogan, Alaska, ca. 1915.)
21. (Hogan Telegraph Station, Hogan, Alaska, ca. 1912.)
22. (Hogan. One to left burned to the ground, ca. 1912, Hogan, Alaska.)
23. (Hogan Station, before fire, Tom Davis.)
24. (Hogan Telegraph Station after fire. Hogan, Alaska.)
25. Construction party near McDavitts.
26. (Gill near McDavitts (Archie McDonald) Glacier Stream, McDavitts.)
27. Paxon Telegraph Station.
28. McCallum Telegraph Station (near Paxon, Alaska, ca. 1912).
29. McCallum Tel. Station (14 mi. N.W. of Paxon. Tom Davis).
30. U.S. Telegraph Station Richardson, Alaska 2nd one. (Pvt. 1st Class Thomas Signal Corps.)
31. (Richardson Tel. Station, Richardson, Alaska, ca. 1920.)
32. St. Michael Wireless Station, ca. 1912.
33. U.S. Telegraph Salcha (Salcha, Alaska, ca. 1912).
34. (Salcha Telegraph Station, 1918-1925. Salcha, Alaska.)
35. Thompson Pass.
36. Thompson Pass, Alaska. (Valdez side, ca. 1915.)
37. U.S. Telegraph Station. Thompson Pass, Alaska.
38. U.S. Telegraph Station. Thompson Pass, Alaska.
39. (Thompson Pass, Alaska. Telegraph Station.)
40. Teikell [Teikel] Telegraph Station. (Tiekell [Teikel], Alaska, ca. 1912.)
41. Tonsina Telegraph Station. (Tonsina, Alaska, ca. 1912.)
42. Valdez Cable Office. May 9, 1916 (Valdez, Alaska).
43. (Brogan's residence Valdez, Alaska, ca. 1912.)
44. (Valdez, Alaska, ca. 1912.)
45. (Valdez, Alaska. Telegraph Cable, etc., 1925.)
46. (Valdez, Alaska. Signal Corps Cable office.)
47. Bridge over Glacier Stream. Fairbanks-Valdez Trail.
48. (Telegraph Valdez Trail.)
49. (Valdez Trail Construction Camp, Tom Davis.)
50. (Valdez Trail, travel easy stages.)
51. (Driving 4 ton caterpillar over and thru glazier (sic) 8 miles south of Braeburn May 1925 (Blackburn). (Tom Davis.)
52. Wertman Tel. Sta. (Wortmann's Alaska).
53. Sheep Creek, near Wortmanns, Alaska.
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development