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The Valdez-Yukon Railroad

Rails to Riches - the Historic Railroads of Alaska and the Yukon

    Wednesday, June 1, 1904, Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Virginia):

    "The Valdez Yukon railroad company, with ten million capital, was chartered in Richmond yesterday. J. Wetmore Willcox, of Norfolk, will be State agent for the company. Ambler J. Stewart, of New York, is ident, and John B. Summerfield, Brooklyn, N. Y., secretary and treasurer."

Tuesday, December 5, 1905, The Wilkes-Barre News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania):

Valdez-Yukon Railroad - December 5, 1905

    The work of financing the Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company, which is owned almost exclusively by Wilkes-Barreans and which has been financed wholly through the efforts of Herman Barring, of this city, has been completed and the work of construction is now well under way.

    A large stretch of territory has been cleared and it is expected that the first of April will see about thirty miles of the railroad completed. It is the only railroad located in Alaska and it is owned by an incorporated company which is receiving no aid from the government in the construction of the line.

Sunday, April 8, 1906, Chicago Tribune: (from the prospectus shown below)
    "The Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company now building a Standard Gauge Railroad from the port and town of Valdez, Alaska, into the famous Copper Belt, one hundred (100) miles from the coast, and thence to Fairbanks and Eagle City on the Yukon River, Alaska.
    The Railroad Company owns an undivided one-half interest in 900 acres of townsite terminal and wharf lands. It has under contemplation additional lands. It has a U. S. Government franchise. Surveys have been made by Col. A. W. Swanitz, Chief Engineer formerly employed by prominent men of Chicago.
    When thirty miles of this road is completed it will pay handsomely - this distance carries over the Coast Range of mountains and makes the balance of travel to interior easy. At the end of one hundred miles the road will be ready to connect up with the famous High Grade Copper Mines of the Hubbard-Elliott Mines Development Company (with offices at 1115 Chicago Stock Exchange Building, Chicago), as well as the copper properties of the Alaska Consolidated Copper Co. which have large holdings, and one or two others. From this one hundred mile Copper Belt will come, at first, 1,000 tons per day of Copper Ore that will stand from $10.00 to $20.00 per ton freight; after a year's development 2,000 tons of copper ore per day would not be excessive, it is believed.
    The Hubbard-Elliott Company have blocked out 400,000 tons of Copper Ore going 28% average. 10,000 tons, it is reported, of freight have gone to the interior over this Valdez Route the past FOUR months."
Click on the image below to greatly enlarge it in a new window.

Prospectus for the Valdez-Yukon Railroad - April 8, 1906

Thursday, October 15, 1908, Valdez Weekly Prospector:

Valdez-Yukon Railroad - October 15, 1908

    Confirmation of previously published statements anent the future for Valdez, and condemnation of certain interests that have caused delay in this connection are made by A. J. Stewart, treasurer of the Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company, in a signed letter to the Prospector. Writing from New York under date of September 26 Mr. Stewart says:

    "Like some other corporations, we have for years refrained from publicity, believing rather, that it was best to work quietly and be judged rather by our deeds than by our words. But the time has come when it seems in justice necessary to make an explanation.

    "For years the Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company in Alaska has been known as the "Swanitz Road;" the Alaska Consolidated Copper Company has been known as the "McCarthy Property." To these gentlemen, all honor to which they are entitled, but the final completion of benefits to Valdez and Alaska which cannot be measured, is due to the Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company and the Alaska Consolidated Copper Company, whose shareholders are among the very best of citizens in the eastern states, who are absolutely honest and who have themselves refrained from speaking.

    "There is no question but what in your city these corporations have been very much misrepresented when they should have been represented. That fault may lay with the corporation, but if a fault indeed, it was one of judgement rather than one of intention. These corporations have done their very best, opposed by many interests not always for the best interests of Alaska, and but for the co-operation of these shareholders and the co-operation of members of congress, where you find the squarest, truest men in our nation, and among these, Senator Penrose, Knox, Beveridge, Nelson, Burnham, Patterson, Dillingham, and Representative Hamilton, Lenahan, Lloyd, Cole, Higgins, Capron, McKinney, Reynolds, Draper, Chandler, Huston, Kimball, Davenport, Southwick and Powers, as well as Representative Cale and Andrews, who have stood up for Alaska through thick and thin for a square deal, and no Octopus has been able to puncture their sworn honor - to these men Alaska and we owe our thanks, and the territory of Alaska its everlasting gratitude and respect.

    "The contract entered into by Leopold Hirsch & Company, who need no introduction here and who have made South Africa through the Hon. Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Beit, Esq., and who will be to Alaska what they have been to South Africa through their co-operation in this enterprise, was brought about by the Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company and Alaska Consolidated Copper Company through their agent, Mr. A. J. Stewart, of 60 Wall Street, who went personally to London and laid before these great men (negotiations covering a period of two months) the immense possibilities of Alaska in transportation, copper, coal and other minerals as well as smelters, and through the co-operation of F. W. Baker, Esq., a wise Counselor and President of the Venture Corporation, and through Mr. Chester Wells Purdington, a former U. S. Geologist who had reported to the U. S. Government on the Matanuska coal fields, this contract was completed with Hirsch & Co., as stated. And but for the interference of representatives of the Octopus, Valdez would have barges of rails, locomotives and railroad equipment landed at Valdez this fall and winter for immense undertakings in the spring.

    "The Hubbard-Elliott Copper Company delayed signing owing to negotiations which were not intended for the best interests of Valdez or, we believe, of Alaska; and the magnificent work to bring about the signing of this contract was done by O. P. Hubbard and Hon. C. H. Aldrich and W. F. James, Esq., of Chicago, and the Hubbard-Elliott Copper Company were induced, on August 15th, to sign the contract which they agreed to sign July 5th.

    "With the approval of Hirsch & Co, representatives and experts, Valdez, may lay claim to a future city not to be surpassed on the Pacific coast. Ships carrying merchandise to and from will be numerous, and during next year the greatest excitement in Alaska possibly since the discovery of gold in the Yukon district, may well be contemplated, and Valdez, as in a statement by Alfred H. Brooks, Esq., will 'come into its own.' as its strategic locatign well entitles it to.

                    "Very respectfully,

            "Valdez-Yukon Railroad Company,

            "By A. J. Stewart,