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Charles H. Palda papers

Guide to the Charles H. Palda papers
undated, 1942-1944
An Alaska Historical Society collection

Collection number: HMC-1040-AHS.
Creator: Palda, Charles H.
Title: Charles H. Palda papers.
Dates: undated, 1942-1944.
Volume of collection: 0.25 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Materials in this collection are in English.
Collection summary: Papers and photographs of a senior partner of Okes Construction Company, a managing contractor for work done on part of the Alaska Highway.

Biographical note:
Charles H. Palda was senior partner of the Okes Construction Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1942 and 1943, the company was the managing contractor for work on the Alaska Highway on Section E (Fort St. John to Fort Nelson), and a portion of Section D (Fort Nelson to Lower Post). The company trucked in men and supplies, erected construction camp buildings, built a temporary bridge over the Peace River, graded and surfaced roads, built several permanent bridges, and maintained a 256 mile stretch of the highway for a year. Palda and his company later worked on portions of the Panama Canal.

Collection description:
The collection consists of the Alaska Highway construction photograph album and home movies of construction company executive Charles H. Palda. The collection contains: the original leather album cover; a xerographic copy of the original 31 page album; 101 original black and white prints; 43 departmental preservation copy negatives of selected images; a page describing the company’s work on the Alaska Highway; two hand colored maps of the Alaska Highway: one noting the entire rough route of the highway, and the other detailing the route from Fort St. John to Lower Post where the company managed the construction; a hand colored plat map of the base camp for the Okes Construction Company at Fort St. John, British Columbia; an Alaska Highway certificate of merit; a portion of an illustrated magazine article on construction of the Alaska Highway from the May 30, 1942 issue of Collier’s; and two digital video discs (DVDs) with transfers of Palda’s color and black and white home movies. The DVDs mainly include the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Dawson Creek railhead, Peace River crossing, Fort St. John, the Sikanni Chief River and bridge, Okes Construction Company base camp, Muskwa River Bridge, the Peace River Bridge, and highway wrecks.

Arrangement: Collection materials are arranged by document type. Photographs were reordered by size.

Alternative formats: Some of the material in this collection is available on DVD. There are also copy negatives of selected photographs.

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Alaska Historical Society retains copyright to materials in this collection that were created by Charles H. Palda.

Preferred citation: Charles H. Palda papers, Alaska Historical Society collections, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Acquisition note: This collection was donated to the Alaska Historical Society in 2006 by Mary Palda Marxen. The Historical Society retains ownership of the collection and has placed it on deposit with Archives and Special Collections.

Processing information: This collection was described, photographs removed from the album, and the album disassembled by Jeffrey Sinnott in 2007. The collection was converted to current standard by Veronica Denison in 2014.

Container list:

Folder Item Description
1 Xerographic copy of the original album
2 1 Okes Construction base camp scene with the following sign in center: “‘The Highway,’ You Helped to Build It, Don’t Let Up, Let’s Finish the Job!”
2 2 Sikanni Chief River Bridge with temporary bridge and construction camp below
2 3 “Peace River Ice Break-up 1943” Charles Palda with camera on bridge
2 4 “Bridge Collapsed in 1960 Then Rebuilt”: View of permanent suspension bridge over Peace River
2 5 Muskwa River Bridge from near end of bridge
2 6 Muskwa River Bridge under construction in high water as seen from riverbank
2 7a “Entrance to Base Camp”: Okes Construction sign
2 7b “Okes Gas Station”
2 8a “B. A. Oil Storage”: Oil tanks, building and vehicles
2 8b “Hauling 66′ Girder”: Bridge girder loaded on truck
2 8c Three men in front of vehicles
2 8d “Welch’s Crusher”: R. J. Cooney Construction Co. crusher loaded on truck
2 9a “Dawson Creek, B.C.” : Aftermath of fire
2 9b “Dawson Creek, B.C.” : Street scene
2 9c “Dawson Creek, B.C.”: View of smoldering fire
2 9d “Remains of stolen pick-up” Cab of truck
2 9e “Tom Welch hauling equipment” Truck convoy
2 9f “Mile 1 at Fort St. John”: Mile marker
2 9g “Hockey Rink, Base Camp”
2 10a “Ladies’ Living Room”
2 10b “19,000 Bd. Ft. Lumber”: Boards loaded on truck
2 10c “Miss Easto”: Woman at desk in office
2 10d “Studer & Regan”: Men at doorway
2 11a “Slide at Mile 117-J”: Hole in road surface
2 11b “Slide at Mile 220-J”: Slid embankment
2 11c “Forest Fire” View of smoke from road
2 12a “Temporary & Permanent Bridges, Peace River”: Winter scene of temporary bridge
2 12b “Temporary & Permanent Bridges, Peace River”: Permanent bridge towers under construction
2 12c “Temporary & Permanent Bridges, Peace River”: Paddlewheel boat pushing barge loaded with vehicles on river below permanent bridge
2 12d “Temporary & Permanent Bridges, Peace River”: View of permanent bridge from hillside
2 12e “Temporary & Permanent Bridges, Peace River”: Winter view of river from road
2 13a River view
2 13b “Beatton River”: Tractors at work on road near river
2 13c “Revision around hill, Mile 108-J” View of road from hillside
2 13d “Aerial view of river valley
2 14a-b “Sorenson & Volden Grading”
2 14c “Chlorinator”
2 15a “Grading at Mile 220-J”
2 15b “Installing Wood Box Culvert”
2 16a “Jack Fish Creek—Bridge built by Pedersen Bros.”
2 16b “Little Beaver Bridge – wrecked by flood 7-10-43”
2 17a “Sweetwater Saw Mill Camp”: Pine trees
2 17b “Sweetwater Saw Mill Camp”: Camp scene through tree
2 17c “Sweetwater Saw Mill Camp”: Office building in camp
2 17d “Kiskatinaw work bridge”: View from below
2 17e “Peace River Valley” View from road
2 18a “George Shepard”
2 18b “Russ Sutmar”: Man standing next to sign for Sutmar Creek
2 18c “W. C. Donaldson”
2 19a “Finished road – about Mile 15-J”
2 19b “Volck crushing at Mile 114-J” Gravel plant
2 19c “Bears at Mile 70-J”
2 20a “Geo. R. McLean”
2 20b “Tom Leopard”
2 20c “Warehouse 5”
2 20d “Peace River from Chuilli Pit”
2 21a “Thornton Trucks” Distant view of large truck lot
2 21b “Hauling 80′ Girder” Bridge girder loaded on truck
2 21c “Scotty Saunders” Cook standing in doorway
2 21d “P. R. A. Camp”
2 21e “Sno-Go” Snow plow truck
2 22a “Sikanni Bridge celebration, 4-25-43”
2 22b Men at celebration
2 22c Construction camp
2 22d Man outside doorway of Pederson Bros. building at Camp No. 6
2 22e “Pete Pedersen”
2 23a “Pedersen Bros. building Beaver Creek Bridge, Mile 162-J.”
2 23b “Reconstructing Bear Creek Bridge”
2 24a “Blasting at Quarry, Mile 20-J.”
2 24b “Southern Minnesota grading revision Mile 34-J.”
2 25a “Roverud Camp, Mile 225-J.”
2 25b “Reese-Olson, Camp 11”
2 25c “Jack Pedersen – John Ose”
2 25d-e “Reese-Olson – Muskwa Bridge approach”: Machinery working on road
2 26a Permanent Sikanni Bridge—built by Pedersen Bros.”: Distant view of bridge from above on hillside
2 26b Permanent Sikanni Bridge—built by Pedersen Bros.”: View of bridge from side near approach
2 26c “Temporary Bridge”: Temporary Sikanni River bridge and construction camp
2 27a “Volck crushing at Mile 131-J.” : Crushing plant
2 27b “Volck washing material, Mile 190-J”
2 27c “Volck Camp”
2 27d “Coglan, Jameson, Kranenbuhl, Shepard, Studer”: Group photo
2 27e “Pedersen Bros. casting concrete pile”
2 28a “Mile 148-J: Minniker Valley & Kingzut Mountains”
2 28b “Finished Road”
2 28c Sign for Art Bolier Contractor, Camp 8, Mile 165
2 29a “Muskwa Bridge—Concrete Work by Pedersen Bros.”
2 29b Muskwa Bridge under construction
2 29c Muskwa Bridge under construction
2 29d “Bill Regan”
2 30a-b “Steamboat Mountain”: Views of mountain from roadway
2 30c “Thomas Bros. at Mile 64-J”: Bulldozer at work
2 30d “Winter Scene near Steamboat Mountain”
2 31a “Fort Nelson”: Hudson Bay Company store
2 31b “Fort Nelson”: Float plane on river
2 31c “Maurice Thomas and Ed. Studer, Mi. 148-J”
2 31d “Kledo Bridge, Mile 35-N.” Construction scene with crane
2 31e “Ed Dunnigan”: Man standing next to Kledo River sign
3 DVDs: Disc 1—Alaska Highway Construction; Disc 2—Alaska Highway construction, duck and geese hunting in Canada, World War II (Castle Films newsreels), Panama Canal construction, family, and vacations
4 Alaska Highway Project description, plan, and highway maps
5 Certificate of Merit for Alaska Highway construction and magazine article
6 Original album cover
7 Copy negatives

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