Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Transportation: Rails and Roads

Transportation: Rails and Roads

RBHS

Resurrection Bay Historical Society

At the beginning of the century, John and Frank Ballaine came to Alaska with the dream of building a railroad from a coastal port to the interior gold mines. The task took several bankruptcies and more than 20 years to accomplish. This section takes a look at exploiting the Kenai corridors for the construction of rails and roads.


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TERN LAKE:  Road Construction on the Kenai

This is Now and That Was Then: Episode 7
Relevance: ***

First there were routes, then there were trails, and eventually there were roads. This episode looks at the daunting job of constructing a road system on the Kenai.


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RAILS ACROSS THE LAND

Trails Across Time: Pgs. 64-75
Relevance: ***

Gold and other resources were abundant in the interior of Alaska. The question remained: how does one connect the interior communities to ports to the south? It wasn’t easy, but it defined the economics of the Eastern Kenai.

DREAM OF THE NORTH

Trails Across Time:  Pgs 68-69
Relevance: ***

Prior to the completion of the Alaska Railroad, road houses provided services to workers and tourists. Nellie Lawings (Alaska Nellie) was the owner/operator of some of these inns.

FIELD TRIP NOTES

Trails Across Time:  Pgs 74-75
Relevance: ***

Taking a field trip? Eleven road/rail side sites of railroad significance are located and described.

EARLY TRAILS AND ROADS OF THE CORRIDOR

Trails Across Time: Pgs 81-85
Relevance: ***

Void of roads, the Alaska Road Act of 1904 compelled all adult males to donate 2 days per year to the task of road and trail building. Not surprising, this act failed in its mission. It took time, however with great effort. a network of roads were constructed.


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CANYON CREEK BRIDGE

Explore the Corridor:  Pg 4
Relevance: ***

The old Canyon Creek Bridge provides a good example of the perils of the 1st generation of modern roads on the Kenai.  Take a tape rule with you, measure the width, then try to figure how possibly two semi trucks could have possibly fit on the (sometimes icy) bridge at the same time.


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A PRECIOUS JEWEL IN OUR RECOLLECTIONS

The Spaces Between
Relevance: ***

After 20 years of failed construction attempts, the rail line from Seward to Fairbanks was finally completed. In July of 1923, President Warren G Harding came to Alaska to celebrate this endeavor…and to get away from the Washington scandals.


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DYNAMITE ROAD: BUILDING THE SEWARD HIGHWAY

(PART ONE)

(PART TWO)

Turnagain Times: Sept 2010
Relevance: ***

News article recounts the vision, the trials, and the challenges of building the Seward Highway.