Answer: In March of 1959, two months after Alaska became a state, a group of about three dozen people, primarily from the Detroit area, left the lower-48 to homestead in Alaska. They settled along the Susitna River. In the articles that follow they are called the “Detroit 59ers” or simply just the “Fifty-Niners.”
- Smith, William E. In Alaska: Homesteading. Time, 12 November 1984. Available at ttp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,926918,00.html (Accessed on February 26, 2010).
- Alaska: Call of the Wild. Time, 11 May 1959. Available at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,865796,00.html (Accessed on February 26, 2010).
- Zacharias, Pat. Detroit 59ers – Alaska or Bust! The Detroit News, 5 March 1998. Available at http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=69 (Accessed on February 26, 2010).
- The 59’ers Find Promised Land. Life, 20 April 1959, p. 141. Available at http://books.google.com/books?id=W0gEAAAAMBAJ&source=gbs_all_issues_r&cad=3 (Accessed on February 26, 2010). You will need to browse to page 141 to view this article, which also includes photographs.
- Coen, Ross. Alaska or Bust! The Ester Republic, March 2009, p. 25. This article is not available freely on the internet.
- Coen, Ross. The Detroit 59ers, the original 'Alaska or Bust' caravan. Anchorage Daily News, 8 March 2012. Available at http://www.adn.com/article/detroit-59ers-original-alaska-or-bust-caravan.