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Executive Order 3489—Alaskan Railroad Townsite Regulations

June 10, 1921

Under and pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress approved March 12, 1914 (38 Stat., 305), entitled "An act to authorize the President of the United States to locate, construct, and operate railroads in the Territory of Alaska, and for other purposes," it is hereby ordered that the administration of that portion of said act relating to the withdrawal, location and disposition of townsites shall be in accordance with the following regulations and provisions, to wit:

RESERVATIONS.—The Alaskan Engineering Commission will file with the Secretary of the Interior, when deemed necessary, its recommendations for the reservation of such areas as in its opinion may be needed for townsite purposes. The Secretary of the Interior will thereupon transmit such recommendations to the President with his objections thereto or concurrence therewith. If approved by the President, the reservation will be made by Executive Order,

SURVEY.—When, in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior the public interests require a survey of any such reservation, he shall cause to be set aside such portions thereof for railroad purposes as may be selected by the Alaskan Engineering Commission, and cause the remainder, or any part thereof, to be surveyed into urban or suburban blocks and lots of suitable size, and into reservations for parks, schools, and other public purposes and for Government use. Highways should be laid out, where practicable, along all shore lines, and sufficient land for docks and wharf purposes along such shore lines should be reserved in such places as there is any apparent necessity therefor. The survey will be made under the supervision of the Commissioner of the General Land Office and the plats will be approved by him and by the chairman of the Alaskan Engineering Commission.

PREFERENCE RIGHT.—Any person residing in a reserved townsite at the time of the subdivisional survey thereof in the field and owning and having valuable and permanent improvements thereon, may, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, be granted a preference right of entry, of not exceeding two lots on which he may have such improvements by paying the appraised price fixed by the Superintendent of sale, under such regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe. Preference right proof and entry, when granted, must be made prior to the date of the public sale.

PUBLIC SALE.—The unreserved and unsold lots will be offered at public outcry to the highest bidder at such time and place, and after such publication of notice, if any, as the Secretary of the Interior may direct, and he may appoint or detail some suitable person as superintendent of sale to supervise the same and may fix his compensation and require him to give sufficient bond.

SUPERINTENDENT'S AUTHORITY.—Under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, the superintendent of the sale will be, and he is hereby, authorized to make all appraisements of lots and at any time to reappraise any lot which in his judgment is not appraised at the proper amount, or to fix a minimum price for any lot below which it may not be sold, and he may adjourn, or postpone the sale of any lots to such time and place as he may deem proper.

MANNER AND TERMS OF PUBLIC SALE.—The Secretary of the Interior shall by regulations prescribe the manner of conducting the public sale, the terms thereof and forms therefor and he may prescribe what failures in payment will subject the bidder or purchaser to a forfeiture of his bid or right to the lot claimed and money paid thereon. The Superintendent of Sale will at the completion of the public sale deposit with the receiver of the proper local land office the money received and file with its officers the papers deposited with him by said bidder, together with his certificate as to successful bidder.

If it be deemed advisable, the Commissioner, of the General Land Office may direct the receiver of public moneys of the proper district to attend sales herein provided for in, which event the cash payment required shall be paid to the said receiver.

ANCHORAGE, MATANUSKA, AND NENANA TOWNSITES.—Unsold and forfeited lands in the townsites of Anchorage, Matanuska, and Nenana, upon which assessments for the improvements of streets, sidewalks, alleys, and for promotion of sanitation and fire protection have been levied by the Alaskan Engineering Commission and the assessments or any portion thereof remain unpaid shall be subject to such unpaid assessments and the purchaser shall pay the same in the manner the Secretary of the Interior may by regulations provide, and the proceeds of such assessments will be deposited with the Alaskan Engineering Commission, as a reimbursement to the operating expense fund as provided in section 3 of the Act of March 12, 1914 (38 Stat., 305). See 22 Comp. Dec. 604. Hereafter no such assessments by said Commission will be levied.

In cases where one of a number of joint purchasers of a lot has made or may hereafter make all payments of his pro rata share of the purchase price and assessments on the lot, such lot may, in the event of forfeiture being declared, and in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, be re-subdivided and a preference right of purchase given to the person who has made all payments on his portion thereof, such preference right to be confined to the portion of the original lot held and claimed by such person. This privilege may be extended to a transferee of an original purchase.

Final certificate may issue in these townsites in all cases, when the purchase price and assessments are paid in full without regard to date of purchase.

COMMISSION BUILDINGS ON LOTS.—Buildings belonging to the Alaskan Engineering Commission situated on a lot in any townsite may be appraised and sold separate and apart from the lot on which located, under regulations provided by the Secretary of the Interior for the same and for the removal of the buildings. The proceeds for the sale of such buildings shall be paid to the Alaskan Engineering Commission as a reimbursement to its operating account.

PRIVATE ENTRY.—Lots offered at public sale and not sold and lots offered and declared forfeited in a townsite may, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, be sold at private entry for the appraised price.

ORDERS REVOKED.—All Executive Orders heretofore issued for the disposition of townsites along the Government railroads in Alaska are hereby revoked so far as they conflict with the foregoing provisions. This order is intended to take the place of all other orders making provisions for the sale and disposal of lots in said townsites along Government railroads in Alaska under the provisions of said act.


THE WHITE HOUSE, June 10, 1921.

Warren G. Harding, Executive Order 3489—Alaskan Railroad Townsite Regulations Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/329254

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