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5 Fun Facts About June 17 In Alaska History

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

1. In 1938, the first road connecting Fairbanks to the rest of Alaska opened to the public on June 17. The Richardson Highway had previously connected Valdez to Fairbanks, but the new route allowed for more direct travel between Alaska's largest city and the state's interior.

2. In 1943, a U.S. Army Air Forces plane en route to Siberia crashed near Mount Gannett in the Chugach Mountains on June 17, killing all ten crew members on board. The cause of the crash was attributed to poor weather conditions.

3. On June 17, 1964, the Alaska Statehood Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This paved the way for Alaska to become the 49th U.S. state on January 3, 1959.

4. In 1989, the most devastating oil spill in U.S. history occurred in Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef on June 17. The spill resulted in the release of an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, causing extensive damage to the local ecology and economy.

5. On June 17, 1996, Loni Parker became the first Alaskan to compete in the Miss America pageant. She represented Alaska in the national competition held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and was awarded a preliminary talent award for her performance of the fiddle.
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