Who We Are

Above: Tanana Mill Company Yard. (Alaska Digital Archives, Alaska State Library, the University of Alaska Archives)

The Tanana Yukon Historical Society’s mission is to collect and share State and local historical knowledge through public lectures and events; historical preservation and cultural resource management projects; historical grant writing and administration; and operation of the Wickersham House Museum, Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Tanana-Yukon Historical Society has helped celebrate and preserve Alaska’s history since the 1960s. Join us and help keep Fairbanks and Alaska history alive for future generations! Our work includes:

  • Welcome to Wickersham House
  • Annual lecture series
  • Fostering researching and publishing
  • Rewarding students for research on local history (see our collaborations page)
  • Working with the U.S. Army to discover and maintain Alaska history on military lands, and to facilitate the Army’s government-to-government process with Alaska Native groups (see our collaborations page)
  • Assisting owners of historic properties and advocating for preservation

All are welcome to attend our summer monthly meetings. See a current list of board members and staff.

About Alaska’s Interior

Alaska’s Interior region is bordered by the Brooks Range and Ray Mountains to the north; and the Alaska Range and Wrangell Mountains to the south.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Fairbanks, located in the Tanana Valley, is the Interior’s largest city. Other communities include North Pole, Eagle, Tok, Glennallen, Delta Junction, Nenana, Anderson, Healy and Cantwell. Learn more

James Wickersham and the Interior’s early days


James Wickersham was a Federal judge who traveled extensively throughout Alaska to ensure fair application of the law. He later served as Alaska’s delegate to the US Congress, starting Alaska down the path toward statehood by establishing the Territorial Legislature. He was also instrumental in establishing the Alaska Railroad, Mount McKinley National Park, and what would eventually become the University of Alaska. He also:

  • Introduced the first Alaska Statehood Bill to Congress in 1916
  • Was responsible for the passage of the Second Organic Act, providing the Territory of Alaska with an elected legislature
  • Utilized the 1862 Land-Grant College Act that provided grants of land to states to finance the establishment of colleges specializing in “agriculture and the mechanic arts.” Through this act, Congress established the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, the precursor to the University of Alaska

Learn more about James Wickersham and his historic Fairbanks home.