Oil Began Flowing Through The Pipeline 43 Years Ago On June 20th

It was a big day, that summer solstice of 1977. On June 20th, crude oil began to rumble through the pipe that paralleled the Richardson ...

It was a big day, that summer solstice of 1977. On June 20th, crude oil began to rumble through the pipe that paralleled the Richardson Highway, and that had affected everyone's life for years...

There were celebrations and news stories all over the world as oil came through the Copper Valley in the pipe, headed from the North Slope to Valdez. This was the culmination of years of work and effort. 

It didn't happen without strains on the Copper River Valley. With the added work and money came higher costs, lack of housing, and serious problems with schools and medical response. The accidental death rate in the Copper Valley was extremely high during the years of construction.

But finally – and symbolically – that June day the summer solstice hit its peak. The sun rose at 3:49 am in Glennallen on that first day as the oil went through. It set at 11:37 pm, for a total of 19 hours and 48 minutes of daylight. This was the longest day of the year in a world of very long days. 

It was also the dawn of a new era. "The Pipeline" became an everyday part of Copper Valley life from that day forward. Dog teams ran along the pipe, everybody drove by it every single time they went into Glennallen – and life continued. 

This summer, on June 20th, 2020, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company once again commemorated the first day the oil came through – on their Facebook site (see picture above). 
 
Pipeline Crossing in Glennallen, Alaska. (Photo, Country Journal)


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