MRAK Almanac: 90th year of historic flight from Seattle to Juneau

  • April 14, 12:21 am: The tripod fell on the Tanana River on Sunday morning, ending this year’s Nenana Ice Classic in record time. Prior to today, the record was set at 3:27 p.m. on April 20, 1940.
  • April 14, 1865: Actor John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., and fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln. His accomplices also tried to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward.
  • April 15, 1929: Anscel Eckmann, who was born in 1895, made the first nonstop flight between Seattle and Juneau in a Lockheed Vega on floats, owned by flight school and charter owner Joseph L. Carman. The flight took 9 hours, 35 minutes. Jack Halloran was the mechanic onboard and  “Bob” Ellis (Ellis Airlines, which eventually became Alaska Air) was navigator. Upon their arrival on April 15, Alaska-Washington Airways was founded. The company quickly increased its fleet six Vegas but was beset by financial setbacks and accidents, and ceased operations in March, 1932. Eckmann was also a pilot in World War II. Today is the 90th anniversary of his historic first flight nonstop flight to Juneau. The photo is from the Alaska State Library, George A. Parks collection, with more details here.
  • April 15: Your tax filing is due today. From its inception, the United States raised revenue, but generally from whiskey and tobacco. It was not enough to pay for wars like the Civil War or the Spanish-American War. Along came the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1913, and Congress was empowered to “collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census of enumeration.” Homer S. Cummings, chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the Woodrow Wilson administration, called the income tax among the most notable achievements of the Democratic Party.
  • April 15: The Supreme Court is back in session today. The monthly calendar is here.
  • April 16, 1959: The first Alaska State Legislature adjourned after being in session since Jan. 26.
  • April 16, 2019: Tuesday is the 92nd day of the first session of the 31st Legislature.
  • April 16: Tuesday isTax Freedom Day, the day that represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden. Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2019 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
  • April 17-18: Alaska Trucking Association’s annual meeting, O’Malley’s on the Green.
  • April 19:Skagway International Folk Festival and Art Show.
  • April 19: Regular meeting of Alaska Public Offices Commission. Agenda here.
  • April 22: Celebration of Congressman Don Young, longest serving Republican in the History of Congress, 5:30 pm, Chugach Alaska Atrium, 3800 Centerpoint Drive, $250 suggested campaign contribution.
  • April 30: Alaska Aviation Film Festival, Beartooth Theater Pub.


  1. Susan, tax returns for residents, businesses, and non-profits in the Kenai, Anchorage, and Mat-Su are not due until April 30th this year, due to the earthquake. See IRS.Gov.

  2. Following the link provided for the photo, it shows that it was taken on May 15, not April 15. Also, Ellis Air did not directly become a part of Alaska Airlines. Ellis first merged with Alaska Coastal Airlines in 1962. Bob Ellis joined Alaska’s board at that time but had retired from active flying or management, having purchased a yacht as his residence. Alaska Coastal merged with Alaska in 1968. This might have been competition-related as Wien was already flying big jets to Juneau by that point. I’m guessing that Hunt Gruening was running Alaska Coastal in its later years, as he became the vice-president in charge of Southeast Alaska operations for Alaska.

      • Didn’t have time to make it to a place where I could dig further. The FDNM archive site shows that they reported on the flight on April 26, so that more or less answers that. So there’s the matter of the Alaska State Library and their commitment to accuracy. I haven’t had many dealings with ASL and librarians elsewhere often tell me they’re short-staffed. I have had many conversations with employees of other contributors to Alaska’s Digital Archives. They’ve told me that they’re obligated to repeat information found in verso captions of media but not necessarily obligated to represent it as fact if it can be established that it is factually inaccurate. I don’t recall any of them offering details of what protocols they follow to distinguish between the two.

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