Fairbanks History

Trip Start Jun 12, 2014
Trip End Aug 15, 2014

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Friday, July 18, 2014

Woke to a beautiful sunny morning, even though rain is predicted for tonight and the weekend. Our first stop is a tour of Old Gold Dredge #8. Once an active gold mine dredge, it is a part of the national historic register. After parking, the Alaska pipeline crosses the front of the property. The first part of the tour consisted of a talk about the pipeline. The pipeline was run above ground in places due to perma frost ground. The support pillars contain gases to keep the ground frozen and not disturb the perma frost ground. The pipeline is zigzag shaped to work with the earthquakes. It is designed to withstand a 8.5 earthquake. In 2002, there was a 7.9 earthquake with no damage to the pipeline. 90% of all Alaska revenues are from oil.

July 2, 1902, Felix Pedro found gold and started stampede. Rookie gold panners coming into Alaska were referred to as Sourdough. Fairbanks Exploration Co began making test drilling samples and realized there was a lot of gold. Using their core drilling logs, they built the Gold Dredge #8, active 1928-1960. Gold mine shut down due to fixed cost of gold to government, costs increased, but no revenue increases. They built Davidson Ditch for water, gravity fed at 4%. Dredges powered by electricity from power plant in town, via a huge electric cord. Wench man, toilers, deck hands, panner. We panned for gold - Miss Pat got $17 and panned $27! We had our gold put in locketts to keep.

Our next tour was aboard the Discovery III Paddle boat by Binkley & Barrington. Binkleys have been running freight on Tanina and Chena Rivers for over 106 years. This tour goes up the Chena River, and depicts current river life, and then to Chena Village to show the history of the Athabaskans.

Bush planes only need 200 ft of runway, tires hold 7-10 pounds of air, and can be adapted for winter with skis. Technology from the 30s -50s. 1 out of 60 Alaskans have a pilots license.

We stopped at Susan Butchers Trail Breaker kennel, winner of the Iditerod 4 years, before succumbing to leukemia in 2006. She lived off the land for many years, training on the Chena River in the winter. Her husband, David, and two daughters still run the kennels, training and breeding Alaskan huskies.

The Chena runs into the Tanana River, the worlds largest glacial fed River. Even through it looks muddy, it carries silt from the glacier. Rivers rise every summer, covering the many sand bars, making the river tricky to navigate.

King, silver and sockeye salmon for people eating. Chum salmon for dogs. Indian-Eskimo families still set up fish camps. Families would set up tents to live in, fish wheels to catch salmon. Once filleted, the salmon is dried for four hours, then smoked for two weeks.

The Athabaskan Indians have lived in Alaska for 10,000 years. Known as a nomadic tribe, they moved following the routes of caribou, as they traveled in herds, while moose were loners. Every part of the animal was used, from fur, meat, rawhide strips for sewing and lashing, bones for implements. When the Athabaskans moved, they took everything with them. Their festive dress was always decorated to reflect the region they were from. Aside from caribou, small animals were also hunted for their pelts- wolf, fox, ermine and mink.

After the Discovery boat tour, we drove to North Pole, and actually got to visit with Santa Claus, who was taking a break from his workroom.
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: