Johnson, Victor

1882-1972 | Foreman, Alaskan Engineering Commission (AEC)

Victor Johnson was born in Dalsland, Sweden on September 22, 1882.[1] He immigrated to the United States in 1902.

Johnson arrived in Alaska in 1906, landing in Cordova to work on the construction of the Copper River & Northwestern Railway. He later went to Fairbanks, Alaska to accept employment with the Fairbanks Exploration Company (FE Company). When construction began on the Alaska Railroad in 1915, he moved to Anchorage to work for the Alaskan Engineering Commission (AEC).

On a trip to Seattle, Washington Johnson met Elin Elizabeth Martinson, who had also been born in Dalsland, Sweden. She immigrated to the United States in 1909. In 1916, Elin Martinson arrived in Anchorage to marry Victor Johnson, and the newlyweds immediately built a log cabin home, located in the area of 5th Avenue and Denali Street. He was steadily employed by the AEC as section foreman at various locations, including Cantwell, Curry, and Moose Creek, during the construction of the Alaska Railroad between 1915 and 1923.

The Johnsons purchased a government house from the former U.S. Navy Alaska Coal Commission site at Chickaloon in 1930 and moved it to Anchorage, rebuilding it at the corner of 4th Avenue and Barrow Street. When on leave from his job at the Anchorage Railroad, he spent his time in Anchorage casting headstones and monuments for the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, creating many memorial markers which remain standing. In 1961, he was chosen as King Regent for the Fur Rendezvous, representing the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo No. 15.[2]

Elin Martinson Johnson passed away in 1952, and her husband, Victor Johnson, died in 1972. Both are buried at the Green Ridge Cemetery in Snoqualmie, Washington. They were survived by their three children: Donald V. Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson Gahnberg, and John M. Johnson.


[1] Draft registration card, Victor Johnson, Local Board No. 10, Anchorage, AK, October 30, 1918, National Archives Microfilm Publication M1509, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Roll AK1, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line], (accessed April 10, 2016).

[2] John P. Bagoy, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage: Publications Consultants, 2001), 95-96.


This biographical sketch of Victor Johnson is based on an essay which originally appeared in John Bagoy’s Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 85. See also the Victor Johnson file, Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11), Box 4, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage, AK. Photographs courtesy of the Johnson family.  Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012.  Note:  edited slightly by Bruce Parham, August 3, 2016.

Preferred citation: Mina Jacobs, “Johnson, Victor,” Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940,

Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501 or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website,