My Mother Drove
the Alcan Highway

by Sharon Boling

My mother first drove the ALCAN Highway from Dayton, Ohio to Anchorage in 1951.

My parents met and married in Alaska when my father came to Anchorage. They had to move to Ohio after they married. At that time if you had anytime left in your military service you had to go back to where you enlisted.

My dad joined the Merchant Marines in WWII then the Air Force. My dad flew back on a military transport but Mom and me, (age 1 1/2) and my brother of only 6 weeks could not fly with him.

A preacher and his wife were moving to Anchorage. The ALCAN highway for the most part was still in shape from military construction. Roads were dirt, and plenty of bridges were still only planks.

They camped every night, she washed diapers and clothes in creeks and lakes. It took 6 weeks. In the early 60s my dad sent my Mom and 4 kids down the AlCAN Highway to Ohio to see his mother, plus we went to DC and back to Ohio across country to California and back to Anchorage.

The roads were still bad in some places but better than her first trip. Strong woman!

I admired my mother and father very much and wish they were still here.

A Note from Anchorage Memories

Back in the day, the AlCAN was not for the faint of heart.

It's hard to imagine how rough the highway must have been when it was just completed and opened to the public.

It took folks like your mom, who was obviously made of the right “stuff”, to make the trip.

Thank you for sharing your story -


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