Skip navigation

Historical Manuscripts Collection List »

Guide to the Olavi V. Kukkola Papers
1941-1964

Collection number: HMC-1084.
Creator: Kukkola, Olavi V.
Title: Olavi V. Kukkola papers.
Dates: 1941-1964.
Volume of collection: 0.6 cubic feet. 
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers and photographs of a Finnish-American engineer who worked on the Whittier tunnel.

Biographical note:
Olavi V. Kukkola (variously spelled as Kickkola or Kokkala) was born on June 17, 1916, in Chichagof, Alaska. He graduated from the University of Alaska in 1938 with a degree in engineering. Kukkola worked for the Army Corp of Engineers in Alaska during World War II. He served as the assistant engineer to chief engineer Anton Anderson during the construction of the Whittier tunnel and also led the survey team on the Whittier side of the tunnel. The holing through of the Whittier tunnel was completed on November 20, 1942 and finished completely in 1943. It was the largest railroad tunnel in the United States and the fourth largest in the world at the time of its completion. Kukkola died on January 1982 in Windham, Connecticut.

Collection description:
This collection consists of Olavi V. Kukkola’s professional papers from his time working on the Whittier tunnel. The documents range from 1941 to 1946 and include 13 original photos, 3 newspaper editorials from the Anchorage Daily Times, engineering schematics, and the development proposal for Shotgun Cove, Alaska. The collection also contains a technical diary, which includes the daily progress report on the construction of the Whittier tunnel, as well as several large maps and blueprints of the Whittier area. The subjects of the photographs include Olavi V. Kukkola’s younger brother Theodore, Portage Glacier, Portage Lake, camp photos, as well as photos of Kukkola and his survey team. The collection a contains correspondence from Anton Anderson and several high ranking military officials to Kukkola regarding the status of the tunneling project.

Arrangement: This collection is arranged chronologically.

Digitized copies: Digital copies of collection material not available online. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: Archives owns copyright to this collection.

Preferred citation: Olavi V. Kukkola papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:
Mighetto, Lisa and Carla Homstad. Engineering in the Far North: A History of the U.S. Army Engineer District in Alaska. Historical Research Associates, Inc., 2007.
Taylor, Alan. The Strangest Town in Alaska: The History of Whittier, Alaska and the Portage Valley. Seattle: Kokogiak Media, 2000.
United States Army. The U.S. Army in Alaska. Public Information Headquarters, 1972.

Related materials:
David K. Brown photographs and papers; 1942-2002. HMC-0658.
Benjamin B. Talley papers; 1925-2002. HMC-0241.

Acquisition note: This collection was donated to Archives by Chad Gage in 2011.

Processing information: This collection was arranged and described by Al-Amin L. Smith in 2011.