If you want to get a feel for Fairbanks history, a good place to start is by walking down Cowles Street from 1st Avenue at the Chena River to the Noel Wein Library. Cowles runs perpendicular to the Chena River, and is an old residential district on the edge of downtown. Within the first ten blocks there is a wonderful variety of historic structures. Here are a few:
This is the George C. Thomas Memorial Library at the corner of 1st Avenue and Cowles street, it was built in 1909. It is on the National Register of Historic Places
This is the 1st Avenue Bathhouse
on the opposite corner of 1st Avenue and Cowles Street from the old library. It was built in 1907 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places
This is 113 Cowles Street, built in 1910
This is 212 Cowles Street, built in 1915
This is is 302 Cowles Street, built in 1928
This is 402 Cowles, built in 1929.
This is the Falcon Joslin House
at 413 Cowles Street. It was built in 1904. Joslin was the prime mover in constructing the Tanana Valley Railroad. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places
This is the Mary Lee Davis House
at 410 Cowles Street. It was built in 1916 by miner Arthur Davis, whose new wife threatened to move to Seattle unless he built a home with all the modern conveniences. it was later bought by author Mary Lee Davis. The house has been restored and is on the National Register of Historic Places
The final building in my little tour is at the corner of 9th and Cowles. This building, the farthest from the Chena River, actually brings us back to the river. It is the White Seal dock
, built on the waterfront in the 1920s, and later moved to its present location.
There are many more historic properties in this section of town. If you are interested, find a copy of the book, Fairbanks, a City Historic Building Survey, produced by the City of Fairbanks in 1985.