Beacons Of Civilization: Roadhouses Of The Richardson Highway
This work examines the roadhouses of the Richardson Highway, a collection of 30 to 40 establishments placed along the 400-mile stretch of road connecting Valdez, Alaska in the south with Fairbanks, Alaska in the Interior. These roadhouses were byproduct of the gold rush era in Alaska, with the Richardson Highway being surveyed and routed over a course of several years beginning in 1898. The roadhouses of Alaska grew along transportation routes, and served as rest stations for travelers, freight, and mail lines. The roadhouses also served as community centers for prospectors and adventurers living in remote reaches of Alaska. Roadhouses ranged from simple tents and one-room cabins to large, multi-storied timber framed and/or stone structures. The Richardson Highway was chosen as the transportation route for investigation, as the roadhouses along this route are easily accessible and threatened by on-going road construction and settlement projects. Research for the roadhouses involved investigation of previous studies, news articles, and information obtained from area residents. Fieldwork was undertaken in the summer of 2012 to locate as many roadhouses as possible. A total of fourteen roadhouses and roadhouse sites were located, with several not accessible during the given time constraints for fieldwork. Histories were written for each of the located roadhouses and roadhouse sites, and as much information gathered on the remaining roadhouses as possible. A preservation plan was created which takes into account the variety of ownership and the distances separating the roadhouses. As the roadhouses of the Richardson Highway are held in both government and private ownership, the preservation of the remaining structures will involve the combined efforts of governmental, private, and nonprofit stewardship.
Roadhouse; Richardson Highway; Alaska
Historic Preservation Planning
M.A., Historic Preservation Planning
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis