Livengood– September 23, 2018: The rainy weather did not deter about eighty hardy Alaskans from making a soggy mush up to mile one of the Dalton Highway to be a part of an historic event hosted by the the Tanana-Yukon Historical Society—the dedication of an interpretive sign explaining the highway’s origins and why it was named for James W. Dalton.
Among those attending the ceremony were the Fairbanks Pioneers who made a strong showing along with several local politicians, DOT employees, Tanana-Yukon Historical Society members and the family of James W. Dalton. All were excited to be a part of this long overdue happy event.
The impetus for placement of the sign came when James’ widow, Kathleen “Mike”, and daughter, Libby, made a trip up the Dalton Highway several years ago. They began tacking bright neon green paper signs all along the highway to inform travelers about James, a member of Men’s Igloo No. 4 and son of Jack Dalton for whom the Dalton Trail was named during the Klondike Gold Rush era.
During that trip, Clarke and Karen Milne decided to help on a more longterm basis and the permanent sign project was begun. Clarke worked with Patty Peirsol, the Dalton Family, the Tanana-Yukon Historical Society and the State of Alaska Dept. of Transportation to get the sign designed, made and erected at the one-mile pullout.
The Tanana-Yukon Historical Society took on the responsibility of securing funding for the cost of the sign and ten years’ worth of maintenance of this historical landmark before having all the funds for those tasks raised. It was important to get the sign in place while Mike is still able to participate in this longstanding family dream so the sign was built and placed without all the associated costs being paid in advance.
The Daltons are a multi-generational Alaskan family of which several are longtime members of the Pioneers of Alaska. Mike has contributed much to the Fairbanks Igloos as well as the Grand Igloo. She was president of Women’s Igloo No. 8, in 1997, and also served for a quarter century as a board member of the Pioneer Museum.
Mike’s son, George, currently serves as Inner Guard for Men’s Igloo No. 4. During the summer months, he volunteers with the Pioneer Museum conducting the Stampede Show while his sister, Libby, who is a member of Women’s Igloo No. 8, can often be seen volunteering as a docent at the Kitty Hensley House Museum.
The Tanana-Yukon Historical Society is now looking for funding support to help pay for this project. If you would like to help support this worthy historical marker, you can send a donation dedicated to the sign by