November 2023

Artifact of the Month

Cold Weather Gauntlets, World War II

These cold weather gloves were issued to Otto H. Gronke in 1944 while he served on the ALCAN Highway as part of the Northwest Service Command. The Northwest Service Command was activated on September 2, 1942, and one of its initial missions was the final construction on the Alaska-Canada (ALCAN) Highway. The highway was constructed to connect the contiguous United States to Alaska across Canada. It began at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ran to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. When completed in 1942 it was approximately 1,700 miles long.

The official start of construction was March 8, 1942, and was begun by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During its peak construction period, more than 10,000 men (about a third were black Soldiers) were assigned to the task. Construction was completed on October 28, 1942. Once construction was complete, all activities along the highway fell under the Northwest Service command.