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5 Fun Facts About July 17 In Alaska History

---Learn Every Day: AK Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ak To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1912, the first successful airplane flight in Alaska was made on July 17th by aviator James V. Martin. He flew from Fairbanks to a nearby mining camp and back.

2. On July 17, 1925, the infamous trial of the five men accused of killing a mail carrier and stealing mail from the train they were robbing took place in Valdez. The trial ended with four of the men being convicted and sentenced to death.

3. July 17, 1941 marked the beginning of construction on the Alaska Highway, a project that was completed in just eight months despite extreme weather conditions and difficult terrain. The highway was built as part of the U.S. effort to protect Alaska from a potential invasion by Japan during World War II.

4. On July 17, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state in the United States. The statehood proclamation was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Alaska officially became a state on January 3, 1959.

5. Finally, in 2005, the largest recorded wildfire in Alaska’s history, the Taylor Complex Fire, began on July 17th. It affected over 1.3 million acres of land in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge and cost over $17 million to fight.
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