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.