Yukon Quest dogsled race from Whitehorse to Fairbanks that starts in
February of 2013 will be the 30th running of the race. Scott Chesney and
Mark Gillet are trying to raise funds through Kickstarter to photograph
the race and turn those photos into a coffee-table sized book and DVD.
Both are experienced photographers, and have photographed previous Yukpn Quest races. Scott lives here in Fairbanks
and is a musher himself. This would be a great book, but they need to
raise $20,000.00 to make it possible.
Earlier this year someone
in Anchorage raised $30,000.00 through Kickstarter to photograph the
Iditarod. The Yukon Quest is better! The Yukon Quest is tougher!
Interior Alaska and the Yukon should be able to raise $20,000.00. Let’s
fund this book. Check out "The Toughest Race on Earth" at
The old Palace
Hotel, a two-story log structure now located at Pioneer Park, is a rare
survivor of Fairbanks’ early business district.
According to the City of Fairbanks and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Commission on HistoricPreservation, it “is the last remaining multi-story log commercial building
representing this early period of commercial development.”
The front of the
building is about 30 feet wide, and the sides are about 40 feet in length. The
sides are composed of two sections, with both sections similar in construction
and probably built at the same time. The authors of “Fairbanks, a City Historic
Building Survey” speculate this method was used because longer logs were in
structure has numerous windows — all tall, narrow, double-hung windows. There
are several different window types however, with some being single-pane, others
having two panes and others with more. Speculation is that the structure may
have been finished at the end of a building season with whatever windows were
left at the local hardware store.
The log walls are
tied together with vertical corner posts covered with trim boards. Two vertical
log posts on either side of the building help support the roof, but whether
these are original is unknown. The original roof was galvanized metal, which
has been replaced with modern metal roofing.
everything else about the building is original, however. The sides and rear of
the building retain their original appearance, and the front of the building
has changed little in 100 years. Early photos show that the double front door
(now in the right corner) used to be a single door in the center of the front
façade, and the center window used to be in the right front corner. (Aside from
early photo evidence, you can surmise the door installation was done at a
different date, since the cuts to the surrounding logs are at a steeper angle
than around the windows.)
Although determining when the hotel was actually
built is impossible, early records show it was located on Fourth Avenue,
between Cushman and Lacey Street, in 1910. The year it was built can be dated
earlier, though, based on building materials. The use of logs pushes its origin
back to the town’s early years, when logs were commonly used.
Fairbanks fire of 1906 leveled the four-block central section of the Fairbanks
business district — from Turner to Lacey Street, and Front Street (First
Avenue) to Third Avenue. Afterward, business buildings were constructed of sawn
lumber, so the Palace Hotel’s log construction probably dates it to at least
started off as the Palace Hotel but the name was later changed to the Palace
Hotel and Bathhouse. It was near the Fourth Avenue gate allowing entrance to
“The Line,” (as the red light district was called) so it was probably a popular
stopping place for miners coming in from the creeks.
In 1957 it became
the Chena Hotel, and in 1967 the building was moved to Alaskaland (now Pioneer
Park) as part of the A-67 Centennial Exposition celebrating the 100th
anniversary of Alaska’spurchase from Russia.
It began life at
Alaskaland as an example of a Northern Commercial Company store, and then
became the Pantages Theater. (Alexander Pantages was an impresario who owned
theaters across the Western Unites States and Canada. He got his theatrical
start in Dawson City and Nome but never owned a theater in Fairbanks.) The
building has been occupied by a variety of tenants over the years and is still
one of the focal points of the park’s Gold Rush Town.
- “Historic Preservation Plan,” 2006, City of Fairbanks and Fairbanks
North Star Borough joint Commission on Historic Preservation
- “Fairbanks, a City Historic Building Survey,” Janet
Matheson, 1985, City of Fairbanks
- “Steamboats on the Chena, the Founding and Development of
Fairbanks, Alaska,” by Basil Hendricks & Susan Savage, 1988
Thank you to all who have supported my Kickstarter campaign.
For the past month I have been raising funds to publish a book based on my historical
drawings and newspaper columns. Last Wednesday we reached our fundraising goal,
and today the total raised stands at about $4,750.00 (130% of our goal).