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5 Fun Facts About October 15 In Alaska History

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

1. In 1927, the historic Iditarod Trail in Alaska was officially designated as a US mail route to be used for dog sled transportation. The trail had been used for centuries as a trade and transportation route by Alaska Natives and early pioneers, and it became famous for the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that takes place every March.

2. In 1948, the first documented polar bear attack on a human in Alaska occurred on October 15. A man named William Cheney was on a hunting trip near Point Barrow when he was attacked and severely injured by a polar bear. He managed to survive the attack and become the first person to receive emergency medical treatment in the newly established Arctic Health Research Center.

3. In 1959, Alaska officially became the 49th state of the United States on October 15. The territory had been under Russian ownership until 1867 when the US purchased it for $7.2 million. It became a territorial possession of the US in 1912 and was granted statehood after a long campaign by its residents.

4. In 1988, the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America struck Alaska on October 15. Known as the "Good Friday Earthquake," the 9.2 magnitude quake caused widespread damage and tsunami waves that devastated coastal communities. It remains one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history.

5. In 2018, the first commercial flight to land at the remote airport in the village of Cold Bay took place on October 15. The airport had been a crucial military base during World War II and the Cold War, but it had fallen into disrepair in the decades since. The new flight service is a major link for the isolated community, which had previously relied on infrequent and unreliable air transport.
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