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5 Fun Facts About May 1 In Alaska History

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1. May 1 was historically celebrated as "May Day" in Alaska, especially in the early 1900s when the state was still a territory. The holiday was a celebration of spring and the new growth season, and involved picnics, dancing, and other festivities.

2. On May 1, 1915, Mount Katmai in Alaska erupted in what was one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century. The resulting ash cloud reached heights of up to 30,000 feet and was visible from as far away as Seattle, Washington.

3. May 1, 1929 marked the first official celebration of Alaska's territorial flag. The blue background and eight gold stars represent the Big Dipper constellation and Alaska's place as the northernmost state.

4. In 1949, May 1 marked the official transfer of sovereignty from the US government to the newly-formed Alaska territorial government. This transition paved the way for Alaska's eventual statehood in 1959.

5. May 1, 1960 saw the dramatic rescue of five stranded hikers on Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The hikers, including famed mountaineer Robert Bates, were rescued by a daring helicopter mission led by the US Army. The incident highlighted the growing popularity of Mount McKinley as a challenging mountaineering destination.
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