Alaska Living History celebrated Anthony J. Dimond Day on Friday at the Dimond courthouse in Juneau, which is named after his son.
Dimond, who went by both “A.J.” and “Tony”, came to Alaska at 23 years old to be a miner during the Gold Rush Days, but instead became a lawyer, legislator and judge.
He was a self-taught attorney and practiced law for about 40 years beginning in 1913. He was the U.S. Commissioner at Chisana in 1913, and the special assistant to the U.S. Attorney in Valdez in 1917.
He served as a member of the Alaska Territorial Senate in the 1920s and early 1930s. He was the mayor of Valdez for nine years, and then a delegate from Alaska to the U.S. Congress from 1933 to 1945.
At the time of his death on May 29, 1953, he was a judge for the District Court of Alaska. Dimond was born Nov. 30, 1881.
The Legislature passed a bill in 1955 commemorating Nov. 30 as “Anthony J. Dimond Day.” Juneau’s Dimond Courthouse is named after Dimond’s son, John Dimond, who served on the Alaska Supreme Court from 1959 to 1971.
Local historian John Venables, who runs the educational program Alaska Living History, said Anthony Dimond was known as an early advocate for statehood and he helped pioneer the Alaska-Canadian Highway.
“He had a distinguished career, he fought hard for Alaska statehood and he sacrificed his health to campaign for Alaskan issues and statehood, so he is well worthy of having a day of honor,” Venables said.
Alaska Living History recognizes the two state holidays and about eight days of honor for important Alaska figures.
On Friday, members of the Dimond family posed for photographs at the courthouse.
Nona Dimond, 35, married into the Dimond family in May of this year. Her husband is Christopher Dimond, who is Anthony Dimond’s great-grandson and John Dimond’s grandson.
Their kids were also at the courthouse for photographs, McKenzie and Rebecca Dimond, ages 12 and 10.
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