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The Alaska, Copper River & Yukon railway company, 1902

Rails to Riches: Historic Railways of Alaska & the Yukon

The Missoulian (Missoula, Montana)     January 31, 1902

The Alaska, Copper River & Yukon railway company, 1902

    Colonel E. D. Bannister, for years a resident of Helena, and one of the well known men of Montana, has organized a company which proposes, he says, to build a railroad from Prince William Sound to the Yukon. Colonel Bannister has been on the coast a number of years. He spent part of last year in Alaska.

    Last Friday's Settle Post-Intelligencer, referring to the plans of Col. Bannister, said:

    "The Alaska, Copper River & Yukon Railway company has been incorporated to construct a railway line from a point on Prince William Sound to the Yukon river in the vicinity of Eagle City. In addition to this the company proposes to operate a steamship line between Seattle and Prince William Sound; to build and operate smelters and refineries and do a general mining business in Alaska. The railroad system alone, it is estimated, will cost in the neighborhood of $10,000,000.

    "The capitalization of the corporation is placed at $25,000,000. The entire amount, it is claimed, has been subscribed. The backers of the proposition are said to ba eastern and foreign capitalists. Articles of incorporation were drawn up in Seattle and forwarded to Olympia to be placed on record with the secretary of state Tuesday. They are subscribed to by E. D. Bannister, Alfred B. Iles and C. L. Parker. In the articles it is stated that the first annual meeting of the company will be held July, 1902. At that time the board of directors will probably be enlarged to eleven members.

    "The headquarters of the company will be located in the city. It is proposed to locate the general office here and have Seattle one of the terminais of the steamship line.

    "The proposed route of the railway leads through a section of the richest of the undeveloped portions of that country. Besides the immense copper deposits, the country claims such other valuable resources as coal, timber, fine agricultural lands and gold mines. From the coast terminal on Prince William Sound, the line will take a course along the Lowe river eastward to the divide between Lowe and Tasnuna to Copper river, the line will be built along the latter stream to the head of Wood's canyon. Crossing Copper river at this point, the road will extend up the Chettyna for about five miles. The direction from this point is across the Ketsena and then up along the Copper again. From here the line will be pushed through Mantesta pass on the Yukon, touching that stream at some point mear Eagle. The main line of the railway is to extend over approximately 450 miles of territory. Branch lines aggregating about 250 miles, it is stated, will be extended into the richer mining districts along the streams of Chettyna, Tanana, Ketsena and White.

    "Colonel E. D. Bannister, one of the incorporators, is now in Seattle. He has been in Alaska and this city during the greater part of the last year in connection with the incorporation. When questioned yesterday he said:

    "The proposition of supplying transportation facilities to this part of Alaska has been under consideration by myself and parties interested with me for more than a year's time. A preliminary survey of the proposed main line was completed several months ago. The railway will be built from Prince William Sound up through the Copper and Tanana countries to a point on the Yukon river near Eagle. Besides the railway it is the intention of our company to enter extensively into general mining operations. As shown by the articles of incorporation we intend building smelters and refineries to operate in that connection. A steamship line will be operated to connect the coast terminal of the Alaskan railroad with Seattle."