On January 3, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower officially signed the papers to make Alaska the 49th State. This was the first state created since 1912 when Arizona was admitted to the Union. "Steward's Folly" was nicknamed for Secretary of State William Seward who purchase new 560,000 square mile state in 1867. He paid a grand total of 2 cents per acre.
Alaska started making attempts to become a state in 1916 but there was little enthusiasm for the idea. World War II suddenly reminder the mainland that the state could be of strategic importance to our national security. In 1946, Alaskan's overwhelmingly voted for Statehood. but it wasn't until 1958 that Congress finally approved Statehood.
Even in Alaska today there is strong feelings for an independent nation. On the other hand, with its nature resources that is fueling America, 2 cents an acre seems like a pretty good deal!