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Denali Borough

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Towns and Villages of Denali

If you have any information on towns, schools, post offices, historical churches, founding fathers, location, history, etc., please submit the information to me for inclusion on this site.

Anderson

Village reported in 1962 by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); named "for Arthur Anderson, who subdivided his homestead into quarter-acre lots and was elected one of the first councilmen" (Alaska Sportsman, Sept. 1962, p. 12). Description: 5 mi. NW of Clear, 12 mi. SW of Nenana, Tanana Low

Bearpaw

This was a mining camp, established in 1905 and called "Bear Paw City" by prospectors; reported in 1905 by L. M. Prindle, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Description: on right bank of Bearpaw River, 48 mi. SE of Bitzshtini Mts., Tanana Low.

Cantwell

Cantwell began as a flag stop on The Alaska RR. as reported on its 1922 timetable. It was named for the "Cantwell River," the former name of the Nenana River. Description: population 1 85 mile 319.5 on The Alaska RR., 8 mi. SW of Panorama Mtn. and 33 mi. S of Healy, Alaska Range.
At Mile 203.6 of the George Parks Highway is Broad Pass, a dividing line where rivers to the south drain into Cook Inlet, while those to the north flow to the Yukon River. The pass is one of the most beautiful spots along the Parks Highway and the Alaska Railroad as both uses the low gap to cross the Alaska Range. At an elevation of 2,300 feet, the area is a stunning mountain valley at tree line and surrounded by tall white peaks. Sitting to the north end of Broad Pass where the Nenana River curves north and cuts through the Alaska Range is Cantwell, population 192.
Thanks to the many people who visit Denali National Park and Preserve, 28 miles north, Cantwell is a full-service community that provides lodging, camping, food and fuel right along the George Parks Highway, which connects Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Named after the Cantwell River, the original name for the Nenana River, Cantwell was established in the mid-1920s as a railroad construction camp and later became a flag stop for trains traveling between Anchorage and Fairbanks. After the Parks Highway was constructed in 1971, the town’s commercial district shifted to the intersection of the Parks and Denali Highways as Cantwell's economy became more dependent on highway tourism and transportation.

Denali National Park and Preserve, 237 miles from Anchorage and about half that distance from Fairbanks, is an immense subarctic wilderness centered on Mount McKinley – North America’s highest peak at 20,320 feet. From the gateway of the national park stretching along the George Parks Highway is Denali Park, a collection of mostly seasonal businesses providing visitor services. The nearest year-round community to the park is Healy, population 1,025, at Mile 248.7.

Diamond (historical)

This camp was established about 1905 at the head of small-boat navigation on the Bearpaw River. It had a post office in 1906 and again from 1929 to 1951 (Ricks, 1965, p. 16). Description: site of mining camp, at junction of Moose Creek and Bearpaw River, 18 mi. E of Chilchukabena Lake, Tanan Low.

Ferry

History: name published as railroad station on a timetable in 1922. Earlier, the place was listed as Nenana River on a Seattle Chamber of Commerce promotion folder. Description: population 31, mile 371.2 on The Alaska RR., at Nenana River, 39 mi. S of Nenana; Alaska Range. Located on USGS Fairbanks A-5 map.

Garner

History: Name of a flag stop reported by the Alaska RR. on its 1922 timetable. Description: mile 355.7 on The Alaska Rr., W of Nenana River, 2 mi. S of Healy, Alaska Range.

Healy

Village established as a mining camp about 1905; named after the Healy Creek. Because of its nearness to the Alaska RR. right-of-way, it became a RR. station and supply point. The "Healy Fork" post office was established in 1921 (Ricks, 1965, p. 25). Its population was 36 in 1930. It is a major coal mining supply center.

Description: On the Nenana River, NW of the mouth of Healy Creek and 78 mi SSW of Fairbanks.

Denali National Park and Preserve, 237 miles from Anchorage and about half that distance from Fairbanks, is an immense subarctic wilderness centered on Mount McKinley – North America’s highest peak at 20,320 feet. From the gateway of the national park stretching along the George Parks Highway is Denali Park, a collection of mostly seasonal businesses providing visitor services. The nearest year-round community to the park is Healy, population 1,025, at Mile 248.7.

Healy has many businesses that serve highway travelers and park visitors including a gas station, hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, gift shops, auto repair shop, grocery store and RV parks. Many are open year-round.

To the north of Healy, on the highway's western side, is the historic Stampede Trail, originally built in the 1930s as a route to the Stampede Mine, once Alaska's prime producer of antimony. The mine ceased operations in 1970, and since 1980 its abandoned mill and other buildings have been located within Denali National Park and Preserve’s expanded borders. Much of the trail is now within Denali, but its first 25 to 30 miles are outside of the park. Today the trail is a rugged track used primarily by snowmobilers, mushers and skiers in late winter, when travel is easier. The wilderness trail does draw a number of summer visitors who want to view the Fairbanks City bus where Chris McCandless, the subject of Jon Krakauer’s 1997 bestseller Into The Wild, lived and died.

Kantishna

History: This mining camp was established in 1905, one of several such camps that appeared suddenly when gold was discovered in the Kantishna Hills. Most of the camps were abandoned a short time later, but this one was nearest the producing creeks. It was also referred to in the early days as "Eureka," named for the stream. A post office named "Kantishna" was established in 1905 near the mouth of the Kantishna River. Description: in Kantishna Hills, at junction of Eureka and Moose Creeks, 3 mi. NW of Wonder Lake, Alaska Range.
Touristy Description: For many, Kantishna provides the ultimate lodging location in Denali National Park and Preserve. Although not part of the national park, visitors here are surrounded by parkland and feel as close to nature as anywhere in Alaska. The wilderness resorts at the end of the road are luxurious and most include meals and round-trip transportation from the park entrance. The bonus of staying in Kantishna is a clear day when Mount McKinley looms just overhead.

The settlement of Kantishna was founded in 1905 as a mining camp near the juncture of Eureka and Moose Creeks. Gold in the region brought a flurry of prospectors in the early days, but as the gold began to run out so did interest in mining the Kantishna Hills. Kantishna and much of the surrounding area is now private property supporting a summer population of 135 and nobody in the winter.

Lagoon

History: Name of a railroad station reported by The Alaska RR. on its 1922 timetable. Description: mile 343.7 on The Alaska RR., 12 mi. S of Healy, Alaska Range.

Lignite

History: Name of a railroad station reported by The Alaskan RR. on its 1922 timetable; derived from the lignite coal found in the area. This station was originally named "Dry Creek." Description: mile 363.3 on the Alaska RR., 4 mi. N of Healy, Alaska Range.

McKinley Park

History: Settlement reported in 1920 as Riley Creek, perhaps in a slightly different location than the present place. The Riley post office was established in 1922 and its name changed to Mckinley Park the same year nRicks, 1965, p. 40). Its population was listed as 49 in the 1930 census. Description: population 28, and RR. station, mi. 347.9 on The Alaska RR., 9 mi. S of healy, Alaska Range.

Summit

History: This place began as a railroad camp; first called "Summit Lake" on a 1919 manuscript location map of the railroad. Description: population 39, mi. 312.5 on The Alaska RR., SW of Mirror Lake, 37 mi. S of Healy, Alaska Range.

Suntrana

History: Village and mining camp listed with a population of 61 in the 1930 Census, 78 in 1939, and 130 in 1950. Description: population 81, on right bank of Healy River at mouth of Suntrana Creek, 3.5 mi. E of Healy, Alaska Range. Per Wikipedia: Suntrana is an unincorporated community in eastern Denali Borough, Alaska, United States. It lies along the George Parks Highway south of the city of Anderson, the county seat of Denali Borough, and on the northeastern edge of Denali National Park and Preserve.[2] Its elevation is 1,463 feet (446 m). Located along the right bank of the Healy River, Suntrana lies 3½ miles (5½ km) east of Healy. The population was 61 at the 1930 census.[1] The town and mine at Suntrana no longer exist, the site of company housing is now reforested, no remains of the mine, power house or old tipple complex remains.

Usibelli

History: Local name derived from the Usibelli coal mine reported by Rand McNally (p. 62). Description: population 30, possibly located at the Usibelli coal mine, 5 mi. E of Healy; Alaska Range.

The Usibelli Coal Mine is the town’s primary industry, is connected to the Parks Highway by Healy Spur Road, and the mine conducts daily one-hour tours throughout the summer. Guests visit its quality-control office, main shop, warehouse, coal hopper and crusher.

 

 


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Borough Coordinator: Marsha Bryant

State Coordinator: Norma Hass

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