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1. Origin and Mission
The official origin of the Alaska Railroad was the creation of an Alaskan Engineering Commission in 1914.1 That legislation authorized the President to locate, construct, operate or lease a railroad or railroads, to connect the interior of Alaska with one or more of the open navigable ports on the coast; to purchase existing railroads, to construct, maintain, and operate telegraph and telephone lines, and to reserve public lands in Alaska necessary for the purposes in that connection.
The President appointed a commission of three engineers to make the necessary surveys.
The President placed the general administration of the work under the Secretary of the Interior, and the engineers were directed to report to the Secretary.
When the preliminary surveys were complete the President, by executive order, selected the route for the railway from the coast to the interior and construction was begun in 1915, still under the general direction of the Secretary of the Interior. The road was completed in July 1923 and on the fifteenth of that month the event was commemorated by the late President Harding who drove a golden spike at North Nenana, in the presence of members of the President's Cabinet.
On August 15, 1923, the Secretary of the Interior directed the designation of the Alaskan Engineering Commission be charged to Alaska Railroad to signalize the operating status of the road.
On October 1, 1923, a general manager was appointed to take charge of all activities of construction, maintenance and operation.
(a) Alaska Railroad Commission. Railway Routes in Alaska. Report of Alaska Railroad Commission, with maps and profiles. 1913, 2 parts, 172 pages, with separate case of maps and profiles. Obtainable from Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C., $1.25 per set.
(b) Hearings on bill to construct railroad and telegraph line in Alaska, and bill to aid in construction of railroad and telegraph and telephone line in Alaska. 69 pages. Obtainable from Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C., 5 cents.
1 Act March 12, 1914 (38 Stat. 305 (Comp. St. 88 3593a-3593d]).
(c) Railway routes from Pacific Seaboard to Fairbanks. Includes description of government publications and records relating to railway routes. Obtainable from Superintendent of Documents, 50 cents.
BOARD OF INDIAN COMMISSIONERS
1. Origin and Purpose
The Board of Indian Commissioners was created in 1869 by an act which directed that "there shall be a Board of Indian Commissioners, composed of not more than ten persons, appointed by the President solely from men eminent for intelligence and philanthropy, and who shall serve without pecuniary compensation.'
The board is therefore an independent establishment belonging to no department, but created for the purpose of exercising, under the direction of the President, joint control with the Secretary of the Interior, over the disbursement of an appropriation of two million dollars "to enable the President to maintain peace among the Indian tribes, to promote their civilization, to relieve their necessities, and to bring them upon the reservations.”? The board has been continued on later appropriations. 2. Organization
(a) The board at present consists of nine members of whom one is Chairman.
(b) The organic act authorized the members to select a Secretary from their own membership, who should receive such reasonable compensation as the board should determine.3 By a later provision the Secretary was to be selected outside of the board membership.* 3. Publications
(a) 54th Annual Report of Board of Indian Commissioners, year ended 1923. 51 pages, 5 cents.
1R. S. 8 2039 (Comp. St. § 3980).