by Peter Twitchell
In 1968 a dream was hatched to build a transAlaska oil pipeline. On November 16, 1973, President Nixon signed the Line Bill. This started our nation, the United States of America, to begin construction of the pipeline.
The oil companies were prepared too, since 1968. The oil tanker “Manhattan” was prepared to break ice through the Northwest Passage sixty feet thick. In 1969, the tanker left Philadelphia to go to Prudhoe Bay, but the second attempt failed and had to turn back and there was no more talk of oil tankers transporting Alaska oil to the lower 48.
By 1970, a dream of a pipeline from the north slope to the Port of Valdez, Alaska was drawn on the map and hundreds of engineers were working full time on the project. 800 hundred miles of 48 inch pipeline was stored in Valdez and Fairbanks.
“Black Gold Rush” as it was called started a migration of workers up the Alcan Highway with promise of a career that would make them rich!
A new adventure was spawned. Most came by airplanes and settled in Valdez, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Big Delta, and Copper Center. The adventure began, the work started and history was made.
Work crews and equipment were flown through in challenging weather. F-27s were landing in Cold Foot with crews and supplies, a new sight for the people of the North and wildlife alike.
Twenty-nine construction camps were constructed to house the workforce. A sourdough camp held 100 people and Valdez 3,500 workers. Info obtained from Glory Days dvd, narrated by G.A. Bystedt. The rest is history.