The Alaska Highway and Our Journey

In 1942 the United States Army Corps of Engineers built 1500 miles of pioneer road from Dawson Creek, British, Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska.  They built it through the most difficult geography and climate in North America, and they did it in just 8 months.  Christine’s father served in the 93rd General Service Engineering Regiment, one of seven regiments that accomplished that monumental task.

We are fascinated by the experiences and stories of the thousands of ordinary men who built the extraordinary road. The 93rd was one of three segregated, black regiments on the project.

Christine’s dad was a very young, middle class white officer.  We are fascinated by the black men who surrounded him.  They endured this as a team.  There must have been a relationship, friendship even.  More broadly, we’re fascinated by the role of thousands of black men in that titanic effort.

Segregated, miserably mistreated by an institution with racism at its very core, they forged ahead through bone cracking cold, foot sucking mud, swarming mosquitoes and every kind of hardship to make the road happen. And for decades their role in that epic story was all but completely scrubbed from the public history.

When the Corps descended on British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska, no one in that isolated part of the world had any idea what was coming.  Life there would never be the same.  The Corps brought good things, but it also brought terrible things.  We are fascinated by the impact on those people and their world.

Finally, 1942 was a long time ago.  We connect to that world through Lt. Timberlake who is no longer with us–through his letters and his photo albums.  And we’ve managed to find just a few people whose fathers or husbands were also there.  We’ve even found three men, still living, who actually served in the 93rd.

But the faces in those old black and white photos haunt us–especially the black faces.  We want to find them or their daughters or their sons–or their granddaughters or their grandsons.  We want to share with them what we know.  And we want to learn what they know.  We have that vanished world in common.

So I offer this website.  It is intended as a loosely organized, sprawling framework, dedicated to the black ghost regiments but leaving room for whatever and whoever’s memories and information it might attract.

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Welcome!

Christine and Dennis McClure

 

Ordinary Men Build A Legendary Road