|Population: Fairbanks city, 32,506
Located in the heart of Alaska’s Interior, Fairbanks is at the junction of the Parks, Steese and Richardson highways.
Fairbanks Visitor Information Center is in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center located at 101 Dunkel Street; phone (907) 456-5774. Alaska Public Lands Information Center, also at 101 Dunkel St., offers free films, interpretive programs, exhibits and trip-planning assistance; phone (907) 459-3730 or toll-free 1-866-869-6887.
Maps: Click on maps below for detailed PDFs.
Fairbanks started as a trading post that went awry. The ship that was supposed to take Captain E.T. Barnette to the Tanana Crossing could not navigate the shallow river so he was dropped at the present-day site of Fairbanks in 1901. A year later gold was discovered only 16 miles away and Barnette never left. The town is named after Charles W. Fairbanks, Indiana senator and vice president of the United States under Thedore Roosevelt. Judge Wickersham moved the Third Judicial District Court here from Eagle in 1903, helping the town grow.
Fairbanks is a major service and supply point for Interior and Arctic industrial activities and is also the location of Fort Wainwright (formerly Ladd Field, the first Army airfield in Alaska) and Eielson Air Force
Alaska’s second largest city and the administrative center of the Interior, Fairbanks is a blend of old and new: Modern full-service hotels, shopping centers and malls stand beside log cabins and historic wooden buildings. Located on the banks of the Chena River, it is bounded on the north, east and west by low rolling hills topped with birch and white spruce. To the south are the Alaska Range and Denali National Park, about a 2 1⁄2-hour drive via the Parks Highway. The Steese and Elliott highways lead north to the White Mountains.
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