Posts Tagged With: Alaska
Your Tax dollars (Stimulus money) at work….Alaskan town home to airport with no planes and harbor with no road.
Remember Alaska’s infamous bridge to nowhere? Well, another town in “Seward’s Icebox” has upped the ante after building an unused $75.5 million airport and a $29 million harbor with no roads connecting to the town.
The Aleutians community of Akutan is home to just over 1,000 seasonal workers and 75 full-time residents, though only about five boats, as KUCB reports.
“I personally own half a vessel,” Akutan mayor Joseph Bereskin told the publication. Though, for the record, Bereskin says he supported construction of the harbor and hopes it will grow in popularity once a connecting road is eventually built.
The Army Corps of Engineers, using $29 million in federal stimulus money, built the harbor.
“Yes. It’s not normal,” Steve Boardman, head of the Army Corps of Engineers civil projects division, told KUCB. “And it has prevented the construction of harbors in the past, when that supporting infrastructure is not there.”
There have been tentative plans to build a connecting road for years, but Jacob Stepetin of the Akutan Traditional Council says the project still lacks financial commitments from the state and federal governments and local businesses.
And along with the missing road, the harbor is also currently lacking electricity, running water, and, well, boats. The hope is that along with possessing “strategic importance,” the harbor will be used by Trident Seafoods, the largest seafood processor in the Aleutians.
The inactive harbor now shares Akutan territory with the nearby airport. Residents are required to stake a six-mile hovercraft ride to reach the airstrip, which is located on a nearby island. However, there are no airlines currently serving the airport.
The $5 bill displayed for decades on Charles Fairbanks IV’s wall was long a treasured family heirloom from Alaska. Now, to the surprise of the grandson of a turn-of-a-century vice-president, it’s also become a likely treasure trove.
The rare find is expected to fetch as much as $300,000 at auction this month when a Texas auctioneer plans to put it up for bids in Dallas and online as part of the American Numismatic Association National Money Show.
The bill was presented in 1905 to Vice-President Charles W. Fairbanks — Theodore Roosevelt’s No. 2 — and was from the First National Bank of Fairbanks, Alaska. The family has had it in their possession ever since and recently decided to auction it off through Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful find,” said Dustin Johnston, director of Heritage’s currency auctions.
Auction officials say the Fairbanks bill that features an image of President Benjamin Harrison is a highlight that’s expected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000. The minimum starting bid is $120,000.
Fairbanks always knew the bill was special, at least to his family, given that it was presented to the former vice-president as a memento from the frontier city named after him.
Fairbanks learned last year that the uncirculated note’s estimated value had skyrocketed far beyond the estimate of $50,000 to $60,000 set in the mid-1990s, which prompted him to start locking it up whenever he travelled.
With the new estimate, the 66-year-old great-grandson no longer felt comfortable displaying it on a wall in his Santa Barbara, Calif., home.
It was no longer just a framed family keepsake, so off it went to a safety deposit box.
“Why stress out and worry about something?” Fairbanks said. “It’d be like having a Monet in the house.”
But keeping it hidden didn’t do anyone any good. So Fairbanks decided to consign it to Heritage. He said his family has plenty of other historical memorabilia, or he wouldn’t have done it.
Charles W. Fairbanks was a U.S. senator from Indiana in the late 1890s when he was credited with playing a key role to resolve a border dispute with Canada triggered by the Klondike Gold Rush. As a result of his efforts, most of the disputed territory went to the United States.
But the real reason the city of Fairbanks was named after him was because he played a key role in the appointment of a federal judge, James Wickersham, a man Fairbanks met during the border dispute, according to University of Alaska Fairbanks historian Terrence Cole. To return the favour, Wickersham urged city founders to call the settlement Fairbanks.
“He said, ‘I owe everything that I am to him,'” Cole said.
Auction officials also note the bill’s rarity. Only three banks in Alaska — out of more than 12,000 banks nationwide — issued the bills.
The Fairbanks bill was just one of four notes of its kind in the $5 denomination that were issued in 1905 by the now-defunct Alaska bank, according to Johnston. One of those bills sold 15 years ago for close to $100,000 and the market has “really picked up for the rarest pieces,” he said.
A third bill is in storage at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, collections manager of ethnology and history Angela Linn said Wednesday. The bill is in pristine condition and looks as if it just came off the printing press, she said, adding that its distinctive quirk is a curve in part of the edge.
The bill being auctioned is unfolded and there is no wear, either, Johnston said. Its colour is a little muted because the family displayed it for so long. There also have been some minor restorations to the back corners, but Johnston doesn’t expect that to affect the selling price, given the bill’s rarity, pedigree and history.
It’s probably one of the better national bank notes that will come to auction over this decade, he said.
“It’s easily in the top five of what I’ve handled,” Johnston said.