Heart of the INTERIOR and Gateway to the ARCTIC
Here is a local map of the Fairbanks area
Note the location of North Pole,Alaska 14mi.SE of Fairbanks. This is where the children write to get posted letters from Santa Claus.
Photo is a BIG Santa at North Pole
Fairbanks is called "THE GOLDEN HEART OF ALASKA"
This is a referance to the character of her people as much as the location in Alaska's interior,or to the discovery of GOLD in 1902.
Fairbanks is 358 miles north of Anchorage(by way of the Parks Hwy). It is the focal point of many small villages scattered around the interior wilderness.
Fairbanks is the "Gateway to the Arctic and the North Slope oil fields of Prudho Bay.
It is just 188 miles south of the Arctic Circle (above which the sun never sets during summer solstice nor rises during winter solstice.)
In the spring of 1902,an Italian immigrant,Felix Pedro, was searching for gold in the hills of the Tanana Valley. He spotted the smoke of a steam boat unloading on the banks of the Chena river. The Captain of the steamboat met him and decided to establish a trading post on the river. He figured if there were prospectors in that area,he might as well. Three months later,Felix Pedro found gold and the city of Fairbanks was incorporated on Nov.10,1903.
Alaska was still a territory in 1915 when the US Congress set aside federal lands near Fairbanks for a land grant college. In 1917 the Agricultural College and School of Mines first opened. In 1935 it was renamed the UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA.. Alaska's first university. It is a thriving university today with much scientific research. It has one of the world's first SUPER COMPUTERS. There are studies of the Arctic and the Aurora. There is a Musk Ox farm and a wonderful MUSEUM of ancient life in Alaska.
This is a photo of the campus
My daughter graduated from UAF in 2000~
One of the museum artifacts is a carcass of "Babe the Blue Ox". It was found buried on a dry river bank in the interior. It is huge and looks just like the description of Babe-Paul Bunyan's blue ox in the old tales of Michigan area. I have seen this.
There are huge skeletons of Mastodons with 14 foot tusks and all arctic wildlife and native history. Be sure to visit this University museum if you come this way!
Fairbanks is known for it's centenial park,Alaskaland, and yearly GOLDEN DAYS. A whole village is set up on the Chena river bank in the form of the old Gold Rush days of Alaska. It's great fun and very interesting.
You can get rides on the old Chena river sternwheeler.
Old photo of early Fairbanks during the gold rush days
Fairbanks is also famous for it's yearly ICE CARVING FESTIVAL. It is a beautiful sight. At night all the sculptures of clear ice are lit up and make a true wonderland.
Fairbanks is famous for it's ICE FOG and 50deg.below F. temps in winter. It is a real experience when your tires go flat in the cold and you can't shut off your car motor while driving. We used to take our car batteries out and leave them inside the house each night. Ice fog lays thick and right on the ground in those temperatures. You do not see,or breathe well! The fur ruff parkas are worn to filter the fog and cold air from the face.
Let's move on to more of this great land!
The Alaska Highway goes SE from Fairbanks,through Delta Junction and on to Tok Junction, the gateway to Canada.
Click on the flag for more of our northern journey!