2017 Mining History Association Tour

 

FAIRBANKS SURPRISES
Things That Were Not On The Program

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The Alaska First Family Monument in downtown Fairbanks celebrates the

cultures of the Native Alaskans. Downtown was also

the site of the Midnight Sun Festival on June 18, 2017.


Pioneer Park


Pioneer Park preserves many of the oldest buildings in Fairbanks.  Many are log structures dating back to the Gold Rush period.  Most have been repurposed as retail establishments, restaurants, and museums.

The honorable James Wickersham lived in this house (ca1904-6).  He was the first Federal Judge in the interior of Alaska and Alaska’s Territorial Delegate to Congress.  He championed Statehood for Alaska and the construction of the Alaska Railroad.


The sternwheeler STR Nenana sits high and dry in Pioneer Park.  It is representative of the nearly steamboats of all sizes that plied the rivers of Alaska bringing supplies to the miners and other early pioneers.


Wood burning boilers powered the steam engines that powered the massive stern wheel.  Its shallow draft was perfect for negotiating Alaska’s shallow rivers.

What a surprise it was to find the machinery still in-place in the interior of the sternwheeler.


These large cylinders powered the rods that turned the stern wheel.
 

Another surprise awaited us in the cargo area.  A large display highly detailed models showed what many of the early towns up and down the Yukon and Tanana Rivers actually looked like. Circle City, shown above, had many warehouses of mining supplies.

 

The Klondike Gold Rush preceded the Alaska Gold Rush.  Fort Yukon, shown above, was a jumping off point for prospectors eager to try their luck in Alaska.

Beaver was located on the Yukon upstream from Tanana. 
It supplied wood for fuel to the sternwheelers. 


Ruby was a mining camp located on the Yukon River downstream from Tanana.
 

Tanana, located at the junction of the Yukon and Tanana Rivers, had some quite substantial buildings. 

Nenana on the river of the same name was the original northern terminus of the Alaska Railroad.  Note the depot in the model above.  The railroad was later extended to Fairbanks.
 

Photos courtesy of Mike and Pat Kaas

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