Before WAMCATS, Alaskans depended primarily on mail delivered by dog sled in order to communicate with the outside world. Oftentimes, awaiting a reply from Washington D.C. could take up to one year. Finally in the early 1900’s, spurred by Klondike Gold Rush, Congress sent members of the U.S. Army to build the Washington Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System or “WAMCATS,” which proved to be no easy feat.
Many WAMCATS sites still exist in Alaska today and historical archaeologist, Dr. Morgan Blanchard (pictured left) has uncovered their history. Recorded at the Campbell Creek Science Center, listen to Morgan Blanchard’s talk on the history of Alaska’s WAMCATS Communication System this week on Addressing Alaskans.
- Wires, wireless and wilderness: a sociotechnical interpretation of three military communication stations on the Washington Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS) by Morgan Blanchard
- LitSite Alaska: WAMCATS
- Engines of Change by Morgan Blanchard (PDF)
- U.S. Army Center of Military History: Getting the Message Through, Chapter 3, From Tropics to the Arctic
BROADCAST ON KSKA: Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 2:00 p.m., repeats Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
RECORDED: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at the Campbell Creek Science Center
SPEAKER: Dr. Morgan Blanchard, historical archaeologist
HOST: Campbell Creek Science Center
EVENT: Fireside Chat Lecture Series
Addressing Alaskans features local lectures and forums recorded at public events taking place in Southcentral, Alaska. A variety of local organizations host speakers addressing topics that matter to Alaskans. To let us know about an upcoming community event that you would like to hear on Addressing Alaskans, please Contact Us with details.