The Sign Post Forest

Watson Lake YT

Carl K. Lindley in 1942 near the Liard River

History of the Alaska Highway

The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was the incident that started one of the greatest engineering feats of the century! With the threat of the Japanese invasion during World War II, the Alaska Highway was built. It provided a supply route from Alaska to the lower forty-eight states. The highway starts at mile "0", located at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ends at Delta Junction, Alaska. At that point the highway connects with the existing Richardson Highway, to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Watson Lake, YT

The town of Watson Lake, the Yukon's Gateway, is located at the famous 635 mile marker along the Alaska Highway. It is 7.4 miles from the southeastern tip of the Yukon , and 274 miles east of the capital city, Whitehorse. In this town of about 1,700 people, is the visitor information centre, located in the Alaska Highway Interpretive Centre. Another amazing site in Watson Lake is the Northern Lights Centre. By using the latest technology, inside a special tilted dome, provides an opportunity to understand the myth, folklore, and science of the northern lights. Also located in the city is the world famous Sign Post Forest. This tradition started in 1942 by Carl K. Lindley, a U. S. Army Engineer, of 341st Company D. When building many signs in the area, he added a sign to a sign post which stated, "Danville, Illinois, 2835 miles". This tradition has continued over the years by travelers passing through Watson Lake. Currently at the end of the 2017 tourist season, from all over the globe, there are 80,000 signs.

The 341st Army Engineers also saw action in Europe, including Germany, France, and England. They were involved in several campaigns including The Battle of the Bulge and the Normandy Invasion.



Carl and Elinor Lindley at the Sign Post Forest

during Rendezvous "92"

Link to the Sign Post Forest Home Page:


Link to other Watson Lake pages:

For general information on lodging, restaurants, and attractions, link to:




This is an unofficial story of the history that took place while constructing the Alaska Highway. If there are any comments please email to