|Fort Richardson National
|Building #997, Davis Highway
P. O. Box 5-498
Fort Richardson, AK 99505
|Fort Richardson National Cemetery is
located on the Fort Richardson Military Reservation in Anchorage,
Alaska. During World War II, 39 acres of Fort Richardson were set
aside for use as a temporary burial site where deceased
soldiers—regardless of nationality—could be laid to rest. In
December 1946, the temporary cemetery at Fort Richardson was made a
permanent site. Initially there were two sections in the cemetery.
The remains of Allied soldiers were buried within a fenced area
referred to as the “Allied Plot.” Japanese soldiers who died in
battles for the Aleutian Islands were buried outside the fence in an
area designated as the “Enemy Plot.” In July 1953, the 235 Japanese
war dead buried at Fort Richardson were disinterred for proper
cremation with appropriate Shinto and Buddhist ceremonies, under the
supervision of the Japanese Embassy. In May 1981, a group of
Japanese citizens in Anchorage had a new marker made to remember the
soldiers who, in death, remain far from home. On May 28, 1984,
Fort Richardson Post Cemetery became Fort Richardson National
Cemetery under the administration of the National Cemetery System.
At the time of the transfer, all but 700 of the 2,000 gravesites had
been used or reserved.
Gold Rush Cemetery
||2˝-miles northeast of
the town center on State St. Follow State until it curves into 23rd
||Look for the sign to
Soapy's grave across the railroad tracks. A wooden bridge along the
tracks leads to the main part of the cemetery, the site of many
stampeders' graves and the plots of Reid and Smith.
Known as "Skagway's Boot Hill," the Gold Rush cemetery is Skagway's
most famous graveyard. Records indicate that the first burial
occurred here early in 1898. With the exception of two famili
es, the cemetery was no longer used after 1908. One
hundred and thirty-three gravesites have been located here but
burial records are available for only sixty of them.
Buried in the Gold Rush cemetery is con-artist and outlaw by the
name of Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. His gang cheated
prospectors, terrorized the town folk, and basically made life in
Skagway unpleasant. "Soapy" Smith's life ended when he became a
victim of a true wild west-style shoot-out with Frank H. Reid (also
buried in this cemetery) on Skagway's Juneau Company wharf in July
Holtz Bay Cemetery
||Located near Holtz Bay.
were removed and buried at Ft. Richardson near Anchorage, AK, or in
other locations as designated by their relatives.
Jones Point Cemetery
||Located off Haines
Highway on turn southwest onto Sawmill Road.
Little Falls Cemetery
Located near the foot of Gilbert Ridge, to the
north and west of the old Navy Base on Attu Island. The ground on Attu
known as "Little Falls Cemetery" has been recaptured by the
tundra...with no visible signs of it today. Remains were removed and
buried at Ft. Richardson near Anchorage, AK, or in other locations
as designated by their relatives.
||Turn right on the gravel
road before going onto the bridge across the Skagway River - right
at the north end of town, and right past the railway yard. The
cemetery is about half a mile, at the end of the road.
Sitka National Cemetery
Sitka, AK 99835
Jefferson C. Davis laid out the cemetery at Sitka in the late 19th
century. Most of the interments were soldiers and sailors from the
Marine base and Naval hospital. Subsequently, the land was loaned to
the U.S. Department of the Interior as a home for indigent
prospectors. From 1912 until 1921, the cemetery was practically
abandoned and a dense growth of trees and underbrush grew up almost
obscuring the site. In 1920, representatives of the Sitka American
Legion post wrote to the Secretary of War calling attention to the
neglected cemetery and asking for remedial action; they were told no
funds were available. In 1921, they appealed to the Secretary of the
Navy, who allocated $1,200 toward reconditioning the site. In
June 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed an executive order
designating the site Sitka National Cemetery. Sitka National
Cemetery currently encompasses 4.3 acres.
There is a romantic legend attached to one headstone in the
cemetery. During the days of military occupation, a captain and a
lieutenant who were close friends both courted a Russian girl named
Nadia. When Nadia indicated that she preferred the lieutenant, the
captain appeared to accept his loss. Some time later both men left
on a hunting trip together. After several hours, the captain
staggered back to the village carrying the body of his companion. He
said the lieutenant had accidentally shot himself. Subsequently,
after trying again to win the heart of Nadia, the captain was found
dead with a note under his body. The note explained that he had
challenged the lieutenant to a duel and they used the hunting trip
as an excuse. He had lost both Nadia and his best friend and no
longer had the courage to live. The young lieutenant who died by the
hand of his closest friend was one of the first burials at Sitka
||Located on a short spur road at Mile 7.4 near Dyea.
Slide Cemetery is where those killed
in the April 3, 2898 avalanche are buried. A series of small slides,
followed by a massive avalanche in the morning of 3 April, killed
seventy-two gold seekers. Another forty-nine people are known to
have been caught or buried. Tons of equipment and supplies were
lost. Thirteen mules and ten dogs died. Another twelve mules, one
dog, Jack, and one ox, Marc Hanna, survived. Two days after the Chilkoot avalanches, Marc
Hanna was found under the snow, calmly chewing the bale of hay that
had inadvertently saved his life by creating an airspace. Without
ceremony, he was put to work hauling the bodies of the less
fortunate to this cemetery. Shorty Fisher's sled dog, Jack, survived
for eight days under the snow slide and lived to mush again.
No human survivors were found after the first day.
Although digging continued, the rescue mission had become a recovery
mission. The dead, some frozen in the act of running, were piled on
sleds. One string of sleds held seventeen bodies. A Sheep Camp cabin
became a storage place for the bodies, while friends and strangers
tried to decide what to do with them. Some of the bodies were never
identified, and even the number of victims was unclear, ranging from
forty-nine to over seventy. So many bodies were buried in the Dyea
cemetery that it became know as the Slide Cemetery.
Over the last several decades,
maintenance work at the Slide Cemetery was done sporadically to keep
the site up. Beginning in 1940 and continuing until the 1960s,
groups such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Alaska Youth
Adult Authority performed major cleanups, erected fences, replaced
headboards, and constructed a path to the cemetery.
The graves located along the path outside of the Slide Cemetery were
placed at this location in 1979. These graves include members of the
Mathews family and other previous long-time residents of Dyea. Prior
to 1979 these graves resided in the historic Town Cemetery in Dyea.
During the 1970s, the Taiya Dyea. During the 1970s, the Taiya River
began washing the cemetery out as it is still doing today. To
protect these graves, they were moved to the spot adjacent to the