Alaska: “Seward’s Folly”The U.S. purchased Alaska on March 30, 1867. Secretary of State William H. Seward brokered the deal with Russia for $7 million, which equaled two cents an acre. The deal almost didn’t pass the Senate and was mocked in Congress. They called the new territory “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox.” People started looking at Alaska differently in the late 1890’s when gold was discovered during the Klondike Rush. But nearly a century would go by before it would officially become the 49th state on January 3, 1959.