Walk through a series of historical buildings, some now occupied by shops and restaurants
Walking Tour Points
Cabin #13 is a replica of a cabin which is believed to have been part of the original homestead owned by Dr. Young, one of the first dairy farmers in Fairbanks. At that time, it was a five-room cabin, but it burned down sometime before 1942. Today, Cabin #13 is sponsored by the Fairbanks Arts Association, and is a cooperative for 10 local artists.
Clara Rust’s book This Old House (written by Jo Anne Wold), recalls that Katherine “Kitty” Hensley and her daughter Hazel lived as recluses in a tarpaper shack off 8th Avenue in the early days of Fairbanks Avenue. In 1914, Kitty’s friend Captain Smythe, a retired riverboat captain with excellent carpentry skills, remodeled the cabin using lumber from his sternwheeler that had been damaged during spring break-up. Capt. “Cap” Smythe built the… ...more
Cabins #9 and #10 were built in 1948 by Jess Moriner, and were used as motel cabins near a tiny service station south of Fairbanks in the Big Bend area. Today, they are occupied by Bush Babies & Co., featuring Native American Folk Art and unique gifts for the Alaskan Bush.
Cabin #8 was built in 1908. It is believed that, in the early 1930’s, it was purchased by a pioneer miner named Nick Nagengast who had traveled to Alaska with Elam Arnish, the hero of Jack London’s book, Burning Daylight. Today, the cabin is home to Charms by C.J., a retail jewelry store selling unique designs of glass semi-precious stones and more.
Cabin #7 was owned by Fairbanks’ first veterinarian Doc Stearns. Doc was a bearded, aristocratic-looking gentleman whose constant companion was a small cocker spaniel. Doc had a pass to all movies in town and never missed one — with his cocker spaniel by his side. He later operated a small farm on Timberline Drive.
Presbyterians were the first to bring church life to Fairbanks, and the white church at Pioneer Park was the first church built in the Interior of Alaska. It was constructed in 1904, on the corner of 7th and Cushman Streets. A missionary to Rampart, Alaska, Dr. M.E. Krouse, gave sermons when he came to the new gold mining camp of Fairbanks back in 1902-03. The first services are said to have been held in Marston’s Saloon on 1st Avenue. The… ...more
The Wickersham House was the home of one of Alaska’s first and best known political figures Judge James Wickersham. Judge Wickersham was the first Federal Judge in the Interior of Alaska. His jurisdiction ranged over 300,000 square miles. It was James Wickersham who promised political help to the town’s founder E.T. Barnette if he would name the new community on the Chena River “Fairbanks” after his friend Senator Charles W. Fairbanks of… ...more
Cabin #6 was originally a Prostitutes Crib that was located on 4th Avenue. Prostitution was tolerated in Fairbanks as long as two conditions were met: a tax was paid, and the activity was “kept from the view of decent townspeople.” A high-board fence was constructed to keep the houses of ill-repute from view. The fence was referred to as “the Line” or “the Row.” The girls did their shopping at night or had their goods delivered to them, also… ...more
Cabin #4 was built in 1903 by the founder of Loomis Security, L.B. Loomis. It was originally located on Kellum Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Other owners included Louis Golden and Paul Palfy. Today, Cabin #4 is occupied by Wild Interior, a retail store selling uniquely hand-dyed and Alaska-themed apparel.
Cabin #3 was used to introduce Robert Service’s literary works to the Fairbanks community. It was originally located at the 1400 block of 2nd Avenue and Badger Road, and owned by Lawrence Olson who willed it to Carl Erikson. This cabin is currently occupied by 40 Below Fairbanks, a one-of-a-kind experience, with a ‑40 degree Fahrenheit chamber. It is a unique adventure giving you a real taste of Fairbanks’ cold winters. This venue is a… ...more
What is now known as the Palace Theatre was, at the turn of the century, Golden’s Grocery Store. In later years, it was home to Palfy’s Sheet Metal Shop. After the building was moved to Pioneer Park, the building became known as the Palace Saloon. As the years progressed, its name evolved into the Palace Theatre and Saloon. In 2005, the establishment discontinued serving liquor, and the name finally became the Palace Theatre. The Palace… ...more
Cabin #69 is another historical piece that seems to have misplaced its memory. We know very little about the past of this quaint Alaskan abode. Today, however, Cabin #20 is occupied by Grizzly’s Tent Camp Food. Stop in for burgers, fries, and other all-American food.
Cabin #2 was constructed in 1906 as the Palace Hotel and Bath House, and was originally located at 194 4th Avenue near Cushman Street. On the first floor, tub baths were available for fifty cents. Upstairs were the sleeping quarters. Hotels in the early days were often dormitory-style, with the entire upper story devoted to bunks, separated by cloth curtains for privacy. The building is an excellent example of the logs structures built for the… ...more
Cabin #31 was originally the home of Harry Karstan, a Park Ranger and Superintendent of Denali National Park. Karstan came to the Klondike in 1897 at age 17. He earned his trip by backpacking supplies for miners over the Chilkoot Pass. Karstan made the first successful, documented climb of Denali (Mt. McKinley). Today, this storied cabin is occupied by Just Originals, a retailer of unique Alaskan items and gifts.
Pioneer Hall was designed to represent a fine 1900’s era building. It houses two historical attractions: The Pioneer Museum which is filled with fascinating artifacts of early Fairbanks. The settlers of Fairbanks probably would have been surprised if they had known their everyday utensils would one day be on display in a museum. Few of the museum’s pieces are a hundred years old. Not very old by most museum standards, but their value is… ...more
The Lavelle Wheelhouse is the original, restored wheelhouse of the Lavelle Young, the boat that brought E.T. Barnette the founder of Fairbanks up the Chena River. It was abandoned in McGrath, Alaska in 1920, and brought to Fairbanks in pieces in 1972. The original steering wheel is now on display in the Pioneer Museum.
Cabin #14 is one of the earliest cabins built in Fairbanks, built before 1904 by two Finns at 159 2nd Avenue. The original mud chinking is visible between the worm-eaten logs. The adjacent cabin on stilts is a cache, used for storing food. Today, Cabin #14 is used by the Fairbanks Arts Association to store equipment and supplies for Gazebo Nights.
Cabin #19 was once known as the Georgia Lee House. In the 1920’s, during the construction of the Alaska Railroad, it was a “house of ill repute” in the town of Nenana, 60 miles south of Fairbanks. In 1928, the building was cut into sections, barged to Fairbanks, and placed at 829 4th Avenue. Today, Cabin #19 houses the Pioneer Park Office.
Very little information about cabin #66 has survived, but there are plenty of rumors that it is haunted. Despite its unknown past, Cabin #66 is making a name for itself as the new headquarters for the Fairbanks 2014 Arctic Winter Games Host Society. In March of 2014, 2000 youth from 9 international communities across the circumpolar North will arrive in Fairbanks to share their culture with our community and compete in one of 20 sports. ...more
Cabin #20 was the Saw Shop located at 2nd Avenue and State Street. It was owned by Bill Sherwin, who came to Alaska in 1898, at 21 years old, to try his luck at gold mining. Not finding his fortune in gold, he took up wood cutting in Fairbanks.