The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Bill Johnson for Alaska House

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Pioneers to host program highlighting the genealogy of Territorial Reps

Valdez was once home to the shapers of modern Alaska before it was a state

 

November 16, 2017

Framed photos of legislators from Alaska's territorial days who were from Valdez - including the first post-statehood governor, Bill Egan - will be on display at the Valdez Court.

Valdez has always been a player in Alaska politics - and that legacy stretches all the way back to it's days as a territory.

Some of the men and women who make up the modern Pioneers of Alaska in Valdez are hosting a program this Friday to shine a light on some of the men who shaped modern Alaska as it headed towards statehood.

Territorial legislators to be highlighted include l B.F. Millard, James Patterson, Anthony Dimond, O.P. Hubbard, and Charles Wilcox, Sr.

The program, hosted by Pioneers of Alaska Igoos #2 and # 7, will feature locals Tom Gilson, Dorothy Moore and Steve Searles and is billed as an evening highlighting the history and genealogy of the first Territorial Representatives - "ten men who lived in Valdez from 1913-1959."

And thanks to Gloria McAlister, framed photographs and/or sketches of the ten Territorial Legislators from Valdez will be on display before they will be hung in the walls of the court inside the state building on Meals Ave.

"We're going to hang them in the courthouse," McAlister said of the framed images. "We're excited about hanging pictures in the courthouse."

Long before Gov. Bill Walker, former Valdez mayor and later its city attorney, was elected to office, Valdez boasted that it was the home of the state's first governor after statehood, Bill Egan.

Egan was born in Valdez in on October 8, 1914.

Before he was elected governor after statehood in 1959, Egan was elected to the Alaska Territorial House in 1941 and served for ten years, including a stint as speaker in 1951. He was also mayor of Valdez in 1946, a member of the Alaska Territorial Senate form 1953 to 1955, and a delegate and presiding officer to the Alaska Statehood Constitutional Convention from 1955 to 1956.

Anthony Dimond, who will be showcased at Friday's event, was not born in Valdez, but came to live here in 1905 and served as mayor in the early 1920s.

He also served as a Territorial Legislator, a Delegate to Congress and was a US District Judge.

Like Egan, he was a strident advocate for statehood.

University of Alaska Creating Alaska

Tony Dimond during his tenure as Valdez mayor in the 1920s.

"In Alaska we have often complained of the long-range government from Washington, which in many respects is the only kind of government possible under our territorial status," Tony Dimond is quoted as saying by the University of Alaska on its webpage Building Alaska. "We have talked disparagingly about "bureaus" and "bureaucrats" and have denounced the ineptitude of both. Therefore, I suggest that the people of Alaska should, and do, ardently desire statehood unless economic or other considerations still prevent the accomplishment of that ambition. We all know that we can do a better job in taking care of our own affairs than can be done by some secretary of a department, or chief of an agency, or head of a bureau, whose office is in Washington, D.C., and who necessarily is lacking intimate, first-hand knowledge of a country so far away from Washington as Alaska."

Learn more about these stalwarts of Valdez - and Alaska - this Friday at the Valdez Museum from 6-8 p.m.

 

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