The Alaska Highway, initially called the Alaskan-Canadian (Alcan) Military Highway, provided an essential transportation link to the Yukon and Alaska during World War II. It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. After the shock of Pearl Harbor, the Alaska Highway was a first step in America's defense strategy -- a vital military supply line during the war. Over ten thousand Army Engineers were rushed to the far Northwest.
This floating dredge is one of the last mammoth gold dredges in the Fairbanks Mining District that traveled an ancient stream bed, thawing the ground ahead of it and scooping up the gravel. During 32 years of operation, a fortune in gold washed through its sluices. Ladder dredges came to Alaska in the early 1920s, after the U.S. Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company (USSR&M) brought water to the area via the 90-mile Davidson Ditch. Using the water to warm the ground, the ground was thawed at an average 9 inches a day.