Archival Videos; Alaska Digital Film Archives

"slim" williams and john logan
"Slim" Williams, the dog, and John Logan.
Image courtesy of John Logan, appearing in
"Alaska or Bust: Promise of the Road North."

  • Slim Williams and John Logan depart Fairbanks, May 14, 1939. Logan Collection AAF-5216. Click here.
  • Slim Williams and John Logan travel with motorcycles lashed together, 1939, Logan Collection AAF-5216.
    Click here.

Slim Williams and John Logan were promoters of the Alaska Highway in the 1930s. To get the attention of the United States government, they drove the highway on a 300lb. motorcycle in 1939. These two videos were taken while on that trip.

The story of the trip made by Clyde (Slim) Williams & John Logan on motorcycles in 1939 over the proposed route of the Alaska Highway. Includes a current interview with John Logan as well as footage of film made on the actual trip.

  • "Telling the Untold Story of the ALCAN Highway" Click here.

This is a slideshow of photos taken during the construction of the highway by William E. Griggs. Professor Robert Wells and Shanon Schrecongost of Pacific Lutheran University discuss the experiences of the African American soldiers during the construction of the Alaska Highway.

image of lend-lease planes
This Russian Lend-Lease airplane arrived in Alaska in 1942.
Image courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Archives,

  • Lend-Lease from the Universal Newsreel "Air Route to Russia" 1941-1945. National Archives Collection, AAF-379. Click here.

Lend-Lease was the program of supplying vast amounts of war material between the United States and other Allied nations during WWII. The Northwest Staging Route, a series of airstrips from Montana, through Canada, to Alaska were used for the ferrying of planes and materials, and connecting them with a highway became a priority after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Other Films about the Alaska Highway:

"Building Connections: Reclaiming Lost Narratives of the Alaska-Canada Highway" by Robert Marshall Wells. The film focuses on the experiences of black soldiers who built the Alaska Highway. (For more information contact Dr. Wells at, or visit

"American Experience: Building the Alaska Highway." The program interweaves interviews with historians and engineers who built the highway, and presents archival footage and beautiful cinematography of the sub-Arctic route the road took. The film also features never-before-seen home movies of the Alaska Highway (PBS synopsis).

"The Alaska Highway: Bulldozers vs. Bullets." A romanticized fictional film created in 1943 about the construction of the Alaska Highway. The film is essentially a love story about the highway, with humorous twists and a happy ending.

"The Trail of '42." This movie by Stan Cohen was created in 1989, and traces the history of the highway using contemporary footage, the original US Army Signal Corps movie, rare original footage, interviews and still photos

.totem poles outside the Tlingit Heritage Center in Yukon territory
Totem poles outside the Tlingit Heritage
Centre in Teslin, Yukon Territory.

"The Gravel Magnet" uses archival footage and interviews, documents the construction of the Alaska Highway which was started as a result of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Produced by Barbara Barde, 1989.

"Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer." Carol Geddes presents the story of George Johnston, who trekked hundreds of miles overland from Teslin, Yukon to coastal Alaska in search of the history of his people, the Tlingit Indians. Johnston took many photographs throughout his life, and learned as much as he could about Tlingit culture, religion and the songs and dance of his people. This video is available at the UAF Rasmuson Library, as well as the George Johnston Museum in Teslin, Yukon Territory. It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 1997.