Tanacross is located on the south bank of
the Tanana River, 12 miles northwest of Tok, off of the Alaska Highway.
It lies at approximately 63░ 23' N Latitude, 143░ 21' W Longitude (Sec.
32, T019N, R011E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in
the Fairbanks Recording District. The area encompasses 78 sq. miles of
land and 1 sq. miles of water.
are Tanah, or Tinneh, Athabascan Indians. Most villagers relocated from
Mansfield Village, Kechumstuk and Last Tetlin in 1912 when Bishop Rowe
established St. Timothy's Episcopal Mission. The village was originally
located on the north side of the Tanana River, and was called "Tanana
Crossing." A trading post opened near the mission in 1912, and the St.
Timothy's post office opened in 1920. More Natives moved from Mansfield
when a formal school opened in 1932, although classes had been held at
the mission. The name was eventually shortened to Tanacross. In the
mid-1930s, an airfield was built across the river from the village.
In 1941, the village gave the military
permission to use its airfield as an emergency deployment post during
World War II. The airfield was paved in 1942, and temporary camps were
established. Thousands of troops were deployed through Tanacross
airfield during the War. People of the village served as volunteer
scouts and backup support for the army. After the war, the airfield was
closed. In 1972, the village relocated from the north bank of the Tanana
River to the south bank, due to water contamination. In 1979, the old
village site burned when a grass fire spread out of control.