Central is located on the Steese Highway
about 125 miles northeast of Fairbanks and 28 miles southwest of Circle.
It lies at approximately 65░ 34' N Latitude, 144░ 48' W Longitude (Sec.
27, T009N, R014E, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the
Fairbanks Recording District. The area encompasses 54 sq. miles of land
and 0 sq. miles of water.
discovery of gold in the Circle Mining District in the 1890s, a
centrally-located roadhouse was needed between Circle, a supply point on
the Yukon, and the mining operations at Mammoth, Mastodon, Preacher and
Birch Creeks. Central House, originally built around 1894, was located
at the supply trail's crossing of Crooked Creek. It became the center of
a small community of miners who settled there and provided food and
shelter to travelers and support services to nearby miners. In 1906, the
Alaska Road Commission began construction of a wagon road to replace the
primitive pack trail from Circle to Birch Creek mining operations. By
1908, construction had reached Central. The original roadhouse burned to
the ground and was rebuilt in the mid-1920s. A post office was
established in 1925. In 1927, the road link to Fairbanks was completed.
The road was named the Steese Highway in honor of General James Steese,
former president of the Road Commission. Mining continued until the
beginning of World War II. After the war, a few miners returned to
Central, but mining declined through the 1950s and 60s. Activity
increased again in the mid-1970s with the rise in gold prices. In 1978,
the Circle Mining District was the most active in Alaska, with 65 gold
mining operations employing over 200 people.