Hear 1942 eyewitness accounts of Alaska Highway construction in this entertaining video
“…The army was coming in by the trainloads into Dawson Creek just hundreds of soldiers and equipment like every kind that nobody had ever seen… Dad said they’re going to build the Alaska Highway!” – The Alaska Highway in Historical Fort St. John (YouTube video)
If you’re going to drive the Alaska Highway – this year for its 75th Anniversary, or anytime after that – watch this eight-minute video on the Tourism Fort St. John YouTube channel:
In the video, eyewitnesses describe the arrival of the US Army troops in and around Dawson Creek, BC, in 1942, when construction of the Alaska Highway began.
The interviewees talk about the camps that suddenly materialized (cities of tents in the wilderness), the trainloads of soldiers coming in, construction equipment they’d never seen before, black American workers segregated from their white counterparts, makeshift airports, men clearing the way with nothing more than axes and saws ahead of the equipment, troops heating meals on the hoods of their running trucks, surveyor teams that included local First Nations people and their dog teams and the original dirt highway itself, with its (now straightened) hazardous corners (where signs marked the number of deers killed) and Suicide Hill, where if you didn’t slow your vehicle down before getting to the top (before the drop), you were an “automatic casualty.”
This is a great series of eyewitness interviews for anyone who wants to know what was going on at the time… so they can re-imagine it as they drive today’s highway.
Video courtesy of Tourism Fort St. John.