This Month in Alaska History
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This Month in History is compiled by Robert N. DeArmond of Sitka

January 1, 1918 - An Alaskan law that forbid employees from working more than 8 hours a day went into effect.  This law, which has been called "the most radical piece of hours regulation in the history of the United States," was struck down as unconstitutional by Judge Charles Bunnell on February 27th.

January 2, 1917 - Fire wiped out much of the business district of Valdez.

January 3, 1959 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed Alaska the 49th state of the Union.

January 4, 1945 - Anthony J. Dimond, former territorial legislator and Delegate in Congress from Alaska, became the U.S. District Judge at Anchorage.

January 5, 1985 - The federal government transferred the ownership of the Alaska Railroad to the State of Alaska.

January 6, 1874 - The Unalashka post office was established, then discontinued nine months later. It was reestablish as Ounalaska in 1892 and the name changed to Unalaska in 1898.

January 7, 1905 - The Alaska Road Commission was established by Act of Congress and placed under the Army.  The ARC was responsible for much of the pre-Statehood road building in Alaska.

January 8, 1908 - The codfishing schooner John F. Miller was wrecked in the Shumagin Islands with the loss of 10 of the 37 men aboard.

January 9, 1797 - Baron Ferdinand Von Wrangell was born.  He was the sixth Russian governor of Alaska serving from 1830 to 1835.

January 10, 1882 - The name of the first post office on Gastineau Channel (and today's state capital) was changed from Harrisburgh to Juneau.

January 11, 1937 - Nell Scott of Seldovia became the first woman in Alaska's legislature.

January 12, 1878 - Charles E. Bunnell was born in Pennsylvania.  On this date in 1915 he took office as U.S. District Judge in Fairbanks and later became the first president of what is now the University of Alaska.

January 13, 1946 - The Anchorage Daily News was established with Norman Brown as editor and publisher.

January 14, 1869 - Commander Richard W. Meade, in command of the USS Saginaw, burned a number of Kake villages.

January 15, 1959 - The Chugach Electric Association announced plans to build a nuclear reactor on Knik Arm near Anchorage.  It was never built.

January 16, 1874 - Robert Service was born in Preston, England.   In the first decade of the 20th century he lived in Dawson, Yukon Territory and inked many popular poems telling of the wonder, beauty, and harshness of the Far North.

January 17, 1901 - The post office of Coppermount, site of Alaska's second copper smelter, was established.

January 18, 1909 - Robert Stroud, who became known as "The Birdman of Alcatraz," began his crime career by killing a man at Juneau.

January 19, 1900 - The Military Department of Alaska was established by the Secretary of War.

January 20, 1969 - The Cape Newenham National Wildlife Refuge was created.

January 21, 1911 - Mount Wrangell erupted and an earthquake shook central Alaska.

January 22, 1959 - The IRS reversed an earlier ruling and allowed Alaska's federal employees' cost of living allowance to be declared non-taxable.

January 23, 1969 - The U.S. Senate confirmed Alaska's Walter J. Hickel as the Secretary of the Interior by a vote of 73 to 16.

January 24, 1963 - The M/V Malaspina, the first of the Alaska Marine Highway system's ferries, arrived in Juneau on its maiden voyage.

January 25, 1959 - Alaska's first indoor artificially heated swimming pool opened in Fairbanks.

January 26, 1959 - The first Alaska State Legislature convened at Juneau.

January 27, 1925 - The first dog team left Nenana to relay serum to Nome to fight a diphtheria epidemic.  The serum reached Nome on February 4.

January 28, 1940 - Half of the town of Candle was destroyed by fire.

January 29, 1914 - Juneau Camp No. 4 of the Alaska Native Brotherhood was organized in the Native school house.

January 30, 1920 - Fire destroyed the plant of the Daily Alaska Citizen at Fairbanks.

January 31, 1956 - General John Noyes, head of the Alaska National Guard, died at Nome as a result of a plane crash.