B. Frank Heintzleman

B. Frank Heintzleman
8th Governor of Alaska Territory
In office
April 10, 1953  January 4, 1957
Nominated by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded by Ernest Gruening
Succeeded by Waino Edward Hendrickson Territorial Acting Governor of Alaska
Personal details
Born Benjamin Franklin Heintzleman
(1888-12-03)December 3, 1888
Fayetteville, Pennsylvania
Died June 24, 1965(1965-06-24) (aged 76)
Juneau, Alaska
Political party Republican

Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Heintzleman (December 3, 1888 – June 24, 1965) was an American forester who spent much of his career supporting the development of Alaska Territory. Following a career with the United States Forest Service he was appointed Governor of Alaska Territory, a position he held from 1953 till 1957. During his term as governor he continued to support economic development but was largely opposed to efforts granting statehood to Alaska.


Heintzleman was born to Andrew J. and Rebecca Jane Heintzleman in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, on December 3, 1888. He was educated in public schools before being graduated from the Pennsylvania State College with a Bachelor of Forestry in 1907 and from Yale University with a Master of Forestry in 1910.[1]

Shortly after graduation, Heintzleman joined the United States Forest Service and worked in Oregon and Washington. With the United States entry into World War I, he was transferred to Alaska to oversee lumber production. There, from 1918 till 1934, he served as Assistant Regional Forester in Ketchikan, Alaska.[1][2] In this role he assisted the development of the region's pulp and lumber industries and was key to the construction of two pulp mills in southeast Alaska.[1] During this time he wrote the 1921 Forest Service bulletin "The Forests of Alaska".[1]

Heintzleman was made head of the National Recovery Administration forest conservation efforts in 1934. In 1937, he was appointed Alaskan Representative of the Federal Power Commission. The same year he was promoted to Regional Forester for Alaska, a post he held till 1953. As Regional Forester he also held the position of Alaskan Commissioner of the United States Department of Agriculture. In this role he encouraged the development of lumber and pulp mills along with other industrial development.[1] From 1939 to 1940 he served as chairman of the Alaska Territorial Planning Board.[2]


Heintzleman was appointed to become Governor of Alaska Territory by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on March 11, 1953.[3] Following confirmation, his term of office began on April 10 of the same year.[1]

The primary focus of the new governor's administration was economic development. Toward this end he called for revised homesteading and land laws along with updated mineral leases, power licenses, and timber contracts.[1] The Alaskan governor also joined with Hawaiian Territorial Governor Samuel Wilder King in a call for a 25-year tax holiday to promote industrial development in the two territories.[4] Finally, Heintzleman opposed the native claim of "possessory rights" to millions of acres of land, wishing to open the land to development. This opposition led to a prolonged battle in the United States Court of Claims.[1]

The leading political issue within Alaska at the time was the territory's gaining statehood. At the beginning of his term of office he felt Alaska's efforts to become a state were "a little premature".[5] After a year, he revised his opinion and instead called for dividing the territory and only granting statehood to the settled southern and southeastern portion while leaving the unsettled northern and western sections a territory.[6] The proposal to divide the territory at the 156th meridian west was so unpopular among Alaskans[7] that a petition drive was organized asking President Eisenhower to remove Heintzleman as governor.[8] By 1956, the Alaskan governor no longer opposed statehood and supported the creation of a state constitution.[1] Heintzleman signed the bill establishing the Alaska Constitutional Convention.[9]

Heintzleman submitted his resignation on December 18, 1956. His letter of resignation explain his departure by pointing out that he "had forty-six years of public service" and desired "to retire to less strenuous work". The timing, three months before the end of his term, was occasioned by the outgoing governor's desire to allow for his replacement to be in place before the next territorial legislature convened on January 28, 1957.[10] Heintzleman's resignation became effective on January 4, 1957, when Territorial Secretary became Acting Governor.[11] A permanent replacement was not named until May 9, 1957, when President Eisenhower nominated Michael Anthony Stepovich.[12]

After office

From 1957 till 1959, Heintzleman was a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents. He then served, in 1960, as an advisor to the Alaska Rail and Highway Commission.[1] Heintzleman died of a heart attack on June 24, 1965 in Juneau, Alaska.[2] He was buried in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 McMullin, Thomas A.; Walker, David (1984). Biographical Directory of American Territorial Governors. Westport, CT: Meckler Publishing. pp. 23–5. ISBN 0-930466-11-X.
  2. 1 2 3 "B. Frank Heintzleman Is Dead; Former Governor of Alaska, 77". New York Times. June 25, 1965. p. 33.
  3. "Senate Confirms Envoy to Mexico". New York Times. March 12, 1953. p. 17.
  4. "Alaska Asks U.S. for Tax 'Holiday'". New York Times. September 9, 1955. p. 16.
  5. "Statehood is Opposed". New York Times. March 14, 1953. p. 10.
  6. Knowles, Clayton (April 6, 1954). "Statehood Fight Up To Eisenhower". New York Times. p. 14.
  7. Naske, Claus-M. (2013-01-25). "Alaska's estate: Despite complaints, Alaska received a generous land grant". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  8. "Alaskans Urge Ouster". New York Times. April 17, 1954. p. 3.
  9. "Alaskans fi Statehood: B. Frank Heintzleman". University of Alaska. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
  10. "Alaska Governor Quits". New York Times. December 19, 1956. p. 24.
  11. "Alaska Governor Quits". New York Times. January 5, 1957. p. 7.
  12. "Native Alaskan Named To Govern Territory". New York Times. May 10, 1957. p. 8.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernest Gruening
Territorial Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Waino Edward Hendrickson
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