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These 24 Historic Photographs Show Alaska As You’ve Never Seen It Before

We often see picturesque images of Alaska, but we rarely see old photos that show what it was like when it was being settled. We’ve selected some incredible images from the late 1800s onwards. In these photographs of everyday people we see the story of immigrants and workers, but told in a wonderful wild landscape, at times frozen, but always awe-inspiring. Have a look at Alaskan settlers and natives forging a life in the wilderness in these historic photographs.

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Note the caption: a sourdough is a settler who has wintered over in Alaska. The nickname comes from the practice of keeping their dough starter from freezing in the extreme cold. Via/ Library of Congress

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Via/ Flickr

The Settling of Alaska in Iconic Photographs

Shooting off guns to celebrate the end of World War I. Via/ Flickr

From the schoolhouses and churches to the fisheries, we get a sense of what life was like in this unique landscape: much like their continental counterparts, but more remote, in harsher climate, and with less chance to farm. It’s interesting to see how familiar that schoolroom looks in a photo, but just imagine how much more fuel they would have needed in winter to keep the room above freezing.

Click the NEXT PAGE to see more of how Alaska was settled!