In 1942, while building the Alaska Hwy, it was common practice for the US Army of Engineers to put up a directional post at their camps. It gave directions and mileage to surrounding communities and various parts of the world. You will notice that the directional sign for Watson Lake points North with a distance of eight miles. In 1942 there was no town site here as there is today, but a Military Air Base and airport on Watson Lake.
While working on the Alcan Highway near Lower Post, BC, Private Carl K. Lindley from Company D, 341st Army of Engineers was injured and taken to the Army Aid Station in Watson Lake to recuperate. During that time Carl’s commanding officer got him to repair and repaint the directional post. While Carl was carrying out this task he decided to add his home town sign of DANVILLE, ILLINOIS. Carl was known as the homesick, lonesome soldier and he was aware of the tradition that he started and what is now known as the World Famous Signpost Forest.
Unfortunately we no longer have the original sign or the post. In September 4 to 14, 1992 while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the building of the Alaska Highway, Carl and his wife Elinor returned to the Yukon and Watson Lake after a 50 year absence as guests of the Town of Watson Lake. While they were here, a replica of the directional post was erected and Carl replaced his missing sign of Danville, Illinois. On February 20, 2002 Carl Lindley passed away in Danville, Illinois were he had lived all his life.
Today the replica Danville, Illinois sign is posted in the Visitor Center along with pictures of Carl taken in 1942 and 1992. This is the only directional post and signpost that survived over the years and people today carry on this tradition of posting their hometown signs.