A Guide to Modern Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks Photo Album
Fairbanks is located in the heart of Alaska's Interior, on the banks of the Chena River in the Tanana Valley. By air, Fairbanks is 45 minutes from Anchorage and 3 hours from Seattle. It lies 358 road miles north of Anchorage.
It lies at approximately 64° 50' N Latitude, 147° 43' W Longitude (Sec. 10, T001S, R001W, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the Fairbanks Recording District. The area encompasses 31 sq. miles of land and 1 sq. miles of water.
Koyukon Athabascans have lived in this area for thousands of years. In 1901,
Capt. E.T. Barnette established a trading post on the Chena River. A year later, gold was discovered 16 miles north of the post. The town grew as
the Chena steamboat landing brought many prospectors during the Pedro Dome gold rush.
Fairbanks was named after Indiana Senator Charles Fairbanks, who later became vice-president. In 1903, Judge Wikersham moved the seat of the
Third Judicial District from Eagle to Fairbanks. The population of the area continued to increase with the addition of the court, government offices, a jail, a post office, and the Northern Commercial Company. Barnette was elected
as the first Mayor of the City of Fairbanks in 1903, and established telephone service, fire protection, sanitation ordinances, electric lights and steam heat. He also opened and became President of the Washington-Alaska Bank.
By 1910, the official population had grown to 3,541, although more than 6,000 miners lived and worked their claims on creeks north of town. Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright) was constructed in 1938. Construction of the Alcan Highway in
the 1940s and the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s fueled growth and development.
To Community Histories Index
Alaska DCCED Community Database Online
Map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development
J. Vic Brown and Sons Jewelry Store - "Alaska's Finest Jewelry Stores" had branches in Fairbanks and Anchorage in the 1950s.