Downtown Fairbanks History Tour

41 Places To See Fairbanks' Past

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Walking Tour Points

The orig­i­nal pub­lic school build­ing that was built at this loca­tion in 1906 burned down in 1932

List­ed on Nat’l Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places

In 1933, the city built a new city hall on the cor­ner of Cush­man Street and 4th Avenue. The two-sto­ry con­crete build­ing is a good exam­ple of a mod­ern­ized Clas­si­cal Revival design. The build­ing was used as the Fair­banks City Hall until 1995 and for many years also housed the fire and police depart­ments and town jail. The build­ing now hous­es the Fair­banks Com­mu­ni­ty Muse­um, admin­is­tered by a local non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion and fea­tur­ing Alaskana…  ...more

The build­ing now known as Co-op Plaza was once the Empress The­atre. Its con­struc­tion in 1927 caused a furor because it was the town’s first struc­ture to be built of rein­forced con­crete, and peo­ple believed that con­crete would crum­ble in the cold Fair­banks winter.

The Lacey Street The­atre, one of a series of Art Deco build­ings in Fair­banks, anchors the area between Cush­man and Lacey streets. Its con­struc­tion cou­pled with two pub­lic build­ings, the old Fed­er­al Build­ing and Main School, changed the down­town streetscape of the old gold rush town in the 1930s. It was built in 1939 by Austin E. Lath­rop, own­er of a string of movie the­aters. In a 1966 fire, the inte­ri­or of the build­ing was exten­sive­ly damaged…  ...more

All 50 states are rep­re­sent­ed by their state flag on this con­crete and steel bridge built in 1917. Fes­ti­val Fair­banks, Inc. and the Down­town Asso­ci­a­tion of Fair­banks, both local com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions, raised the flags to com­mem­o­rate Alaska’s 25th year of state­hood in 1984. The first bridges in that loca­tion were tem­po­rary wood­en con­struc­tions that were destroyed every year by the pow­ers of spring breakup. Open to the public. 

The idea of this down­town plaza stemmed from a cel­e­bra­tion of the sil­ver anniver­sary of Alaska’s state­hood in 1984. Through the work of Fes­ti­val Fair­banks, Inc. 84 Direc­tor, William R. Wood, the Fair­banks City Coun­cil sup­port­ed the cre­ation of the Gold­en Heart Plaza. Con­struc­tion was com­plet­ed in 1987 and fund­ed by dona­tions from Fair­banks cit­i­zens, fam­i­lies, busi­ness­es, and associations. 

This pedes­tri­an-bicy­cle bridge con­nects the north bank near Doy­on, Lim­it­ed to the south bank of the Chena Riv­er adja­cent to the Alas­ka State Court House as part of the Chena Riv­er Path­way system.

The Mor­ris Thomp­son Cul­tur­al and Vis­i­tors Cen­ter in down­town Fair­banks has brochures, maps, free WiFi and tele­phone, dai­ly lodg­ing avail­abil­i­ty, and local walk­ing and dri­ving tours. Serv­ing as the region­al vis­i­tor facil­i­ty, the friend­ly and knowl­edge­able staff have answers to all your questions.