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1944 Article “…By Jeep To Alaska Article” (Early One)

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Old News Articles

Herbert Lanks wrote an article titled “… By Jeep To Alaska” that was published in the February 13, 1944, issue of the Evening Star (published on page 4 and page 5). He’d later write a second, and different, article titled with the same name published in the September issue of Popular Photography.

The article below appears between sets of photos.  The first photo below shows the humble beginnings of the Watson Lake Sign Forest.







9 Comments on “1944 Article “…By Jeep To Alaska Article” (Early One)

  1. JW

    Amazing. I drove the ALCAN down from Fairbanks and on to Georgia during a permanent change of station move in 2011. It was an adventure, but nothing like this. I’m sure driving the ALCAN in ‘44 was true adventure, the likes of which I’ll likely never know.

  2. Maury

    Lanks’ book “Highway to Alaska” is very interesting, and a good read on early jeeping. It has long been out of print, but it is not difficult to find copies on sites like Alibris, AbeBooks, etc.

  3. Gliii

    I think the date may be incorrect. Feb of ‘44?. That’s 4 months before D Day. It doesn’t mention any military ranks in the article. If it wasn’t a military move, I don’t think they would be surplusing Jeeps at that stage in the War. Interesting to read, but it must have taken place post war.

  4. Maury

    I just opened at my copy of Highway To Alaska, and the copyright date is indeed 1944. In the article above, the author mentions something to the effect that they were permitted to travel the highway because they were civilian war correspondents. If I’m not mistaken (it’s been 10 years or so since I read the book) Lanks and his traveling companion / trip photographer were issued a US Army jeep for the trip.

  5. David Eilers Post author


    I confirmed the date. Here’s the entire newspaper:

    The first jeep sale to civilians (that I’ve documented) was the January 1944 sale of a Ford GP to the Heines family of Kansas (

    Perhaps in the book Lang explains how he obtained a jeep (and I see that’s exactly what Maury just noted).

  6. Gliii

    That makes more sense, being war correspondents. After I posted, I was thinking about rationing, how would they get enough fuel,etc. Being military none of that would be a problem. Thanks

  7. David Eilers Post author

    You bet … I make my share of mistakes, so always glad folks are paying attention to them!

  8. Maury

    I read through the first part of the book again, and the author describes their vehicle as “an Army Willys jeep and trailer”, and later talks about picking up the specially-accessorized jeep at the Willys plant in Toledo.

    There’s a photo taken outside the Toledo factory showing Lanks and his companion with Barney Roos around the jeep, captioned “Barney Roose (sic), vice-president of Willys-Overland, who designed the standard jeep in cooperation with Army Engineers, gives the author and his companion a few tips.”

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