On To Alaska with Buchanan!

George Buchanan was a successful businessman, a coal merchant in Detroit. During the Depression he decided to help boys to get out of town and see Alaska. Every summer from 1923 through the Depression, Mr. Buchanan and 50 or 60 boys journeyed across Canada to Vancouver, sailed up the coast to Skagway, spent several weeks touring Alaska, climbing glaciers, panning for gold.

Part of the deal was that their parents would donate 1/3 of the money ($81), George would donate 1/3 of the money and the boy would work selling items such as kitchen implements door to door to raise the remaining 1/3.

In the White Pass depot building there is a glass display which has one such kitchen gadget that was sold as part of the fund-raising.

On the rocks below the U.S. Customs Station at Clifton are the words “On to Alaska with Buchanan” which was their motto. In 1935, he agreed to take girls, the sisters of the boys who had gone, but he made them earn money by baking pies and darning socks also.

George was born in Thamesville, Ontario on January 29, 1869 and died on this day, March 23, 1939 in Stuart, Florida at the age of 70. He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

Kiwanis Newspaper Online; Time.com article of May 13, 1935 online