Valdez History - Fort Liscum

The history of Valdez can be traced back to the establishment of Fort Liscum, which operated from 1900-1923, was located three miles from the head of Valdez Bay on the south shore.

This fort, under the command of Lt. W.R. Abercrombie, was established to serve dual purposes: 1) to maintain law and order in the growing gold-rush establishment; and 2) to establish a military road and telegraph line to the Alaskan interior.

On September 6, 1900, the post was named Fort Liscum in honor of Colonel Emerson H. Liscum, who was killed while leading his regiment at the battle of Tien Tsing in China on July 13, 1900.

The original site was the area first chosen for the post; however, it was declared unsuitable after one year due to overflowing summer streams. The fort was relocated to Ludington's Landing several miles south, on the shores of Port Valdez. The new site offered a safe anchorage and an abundant supply of water and wood.

172 men were stationed at Fort Liscum. Their accommodations included two single sets and one double set of officers' quarters, a hospital, an adjutant's office, several storehouses, civilian quarters, a stable, and a bakery. The buildings were made of wood, and each of the quarters was two stories in height.

After the completion of the telegraph construction in 1899 and the Trans-Alaska Military road to the interior in 1909, the need for the post began to decline. Fort Liscum was closed in 1923, and the facilities were abandoned in 1929. Later that same year, the buildings were purchased and the land was homesteaded by Andrew and Oma Belle day, the founders of Dayville.

Today the Alyeska Marine Terminal (terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline) sits on the original site of Fort Liscum.

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Valdez AK 99686


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