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Tanacross

 

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.

Residents 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.

 

 



 


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