Fairbanks; The Golden Heart of Alaska

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®

The city of Fairbanks is located in Interior Alaska near the confluence of the Chena and Tanana Rivers in the Tanana Valley. We are 360 miles north of Anchorage, 125 south of the Arctic Circle, 3,500 miles from Los Angeles and 4,200 miles from Washington, DC. Nicknamed "The Golden Heart City", Fairbanks is the largest city in the interior region and the second largest in Alaska.

Founded in 1901 by Captain E.T. Barnette as a trading post on the Chena River, the community grew and was eventually named after Senator Charles Fairbanks. The discovery of Gold in the hills just north of Fairbanks caused a mass influx of residents, bringing the population to almost 11,000 in 1910. Ladd Field, now Fort Wainwright, was built in 1938 followed by the Alcan Highway in 1940's and Eielson Air Force Base, formerly Satellite Field, in 1943, bringing the military population to almost isto be just shy of 19,921.

 

Population by City/Municipality

 
Municipality of Anchorage 2003: 273024 2004: 277,627 2005: 277,980 2006: 282,813
Fairbanks North Star 2003: 82,160 2004: 85,398 2005: 87,608 2006: 87,849
Matanuska-Susitna Borough 2003: 67,532 2004: 70,401 2005: 74,011 2006: 77,174
Kenai Peninsula Borough 2003: 51,446 2004: 51,193 2005: 51,191 2006: 51,350
Juneau Borough 2003: 31,286 2004: 31,094 2005: 31,182 2006: 30,650
Bethel 2003: 16,478 2004: 16,868 2005: 17,073 2006: 17,031
Kodiak 2003: 13,796 2004: 13,517 2005: 13,623 2006: 13,506
Ketchikan 2003: 13,525 2004: 13,073 2005: 13,115 2006: 13,174
Valdez/Cordova 2003: 10,201 2004: 9,970 2005: 10,009 2006: 9,755
 
An Act of the Alaska Legislature created the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 1964; the year of the fateful Good Friday Earthquake that shook anchorage and three years before Fairbanks suffered a devastating flood at the hands of the Chena River. According to records the population of Fairbanks in 1880 was approximately 2,600 and has since swelled to almost 90,000 in the North Star Borough with projections for nearly 105,000 by the year 2018.

The Fairbanks economy is based on tourism, the state's oil revenue and federal government expenditures for the military, administration of federal agencies and research grants. As Alaska's second largest city, Fairbanks is an important trading, transportation and military center. Residents of nearby North Pole, Fort Wainwright Army Post, Eielson Air Force Base and surrounding areas come to Fairbanks for shopping, entertainment and employment.
                                                        Fairbanks 50 Largest Employers

Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks 3,416
Military-related (Civilian) 2,264 
FNSB School District 2,130
State Government 1,798
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital 1,268
Federal Government 1,116
ASRC Energy Services 751
Fred Meyer 633
Wal Mart/Sam's Club 501
North Star Borough 445
Fairbanks Gold Mining Co. 378
Safeway 318
Tanana Chiefs Conference 301
Mc Donald's Restaurants of Alaska 271
Tanana Valley Surgical Clinic 267
Fairbanks Native Association 240
Fountainhead Development 228

Golden Valley Electric  212
Fairbanks Resource Agency 202
City of Fairbanks 185
Laidlaw Education Services 173
Nana Management Services 169
Fairbanks Princess Hotel)160
Tatonduk Outfitters Inc 155
ACS Communications 154
Flint Hills Resources 152
Home Depot 150
Fbks. Comm. Mental Health 143
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. 142
Lear Siegler Services 141
Pike's Waterfront Lodge 140
Petro Star 139
Alaska Athletic Club 133
Cornell 132

Frontier Flying Service 131
Lowe's 128
Holland America  (Westours) 124
Chili's Grill & Bar 121
Fairbanks Daily News Miner 117
Catholic Bishop of Alaska 116
Westmark Hotels 114
Seekins Ford Lincoln Mercury 113
Airport Equipment Rentals 113
Sears Roebuck and Company 111
Osborne Construction 106
Alaska Airlines 106
Pizza Hut 101
Carlile Transportation 101
Haskell Corporation 94
Family Services of Alaska 93

The Interior and Fairbanks in particular are known to have some of the most extreme weather conditions in the country due to significant changes in solar heat throughout the year. The winters are long, usually lasting from late September to mid-April. From November to March, daylight ranges from ten to less than four hours daily and temperatures can drop to 50 degrees below zero. The summers are very warm, often reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit and sometimes reaching the 90's. The sun is above the horizon eighteen to twenty-one hours per day. August and September tend to be the rainier months and snow tends to fall the last week of September leading back into the winter season.

Fairbanks is also home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks; the flagship campus of the University of Alaska system.  Originally founded as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines in 1917 it became the University of Alaska in 1935.  UAF remains the only campus in the University of Alaska system that awards doctoral degrees and holds the distinction of being one of only thirteen Land, Sea and Space Grant Universities in the country.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks encompasses eight campuses, plus the Center for Distance Education, offering 163 degrees and 25 certificates in 115 disciplines.  9,681 students are currently enrolled at the various campuses in the UAF system with 88% pursuing an undergraduate degree. 833 certificate, associate or baccalaureate degrees and 204 master's and doctoral degrees were conferred in the spring of 2007.

Located on the main campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, The Rasmuson Library is the largest library in the State of Alaska with 1.1 million volumes and electronic access to more than 20 million titles worldwide.   The UAF campus is also home to the Museum of the North which boasts a rare and unique collection of more than 1 million objects. 

University athletics are also a vital part of the community.  Dubbed the Nanooks; UAF athletics are composed of Division I hockey team, a Division II basketball team, mens and women's cross country skiing, rifle, women's swimming and volleyball.

Whether you're relocating with the military, your private sector employer or just looking for a wonderful place to call home, we're glad you're here. Fairbanks has grown into a thriving city while still maintaining that independent small town charm. Join us as we take you on a tour of what The Golden Heart City has to offer.

Next Stop: Surviving Alaskan Winters

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