Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44DELTA JUNCTION GUIDE 17 The history of the Delta Junction area is tied closely to the development of different modes of transportation through this portion of the Tanana River Valley.In- creased travel on the trail from Valdez to the gold fields near Fairbanks initiated commerce in this area. At some unknown time prior to 1904 Athabascan Indians inhabited portions of Alaskas vast Interior region. Moose cari- bou and sheep were abundant close to the rivers and in the Granite Mountains. Fur- bearing animals were easily trapped and salmon came up the Delta and Tanana rivers to spawn. Wild berries grew in the surrounding countryside. Numerous ar- chaeological sites point to habitation by the Athabascans dating back 10000 years. Roadhouses were built along the trail north and one Bates Landing was situated at the confluence of the Delta and Tanana rivers. It was at this point that travelers had to cross the Tanana by a ferry. The federal government collected a toll on the southern side of the river from all passengers head- ing north. In 1906 John Hajdukovich bought the roadhouse and enlarged it. He operated the lodge had a steamship plying the Tanana traded with the Athabascans for furs and took hunting parties into the Granites. Rika Wallen who had come from Swe- den as an 18-year-old girl was at Tonsina and walked to Big Delta to go to work for John. He was away a great part of the time and finally owed Rika so much in back wages that he deeded the property over to her. She also had an adjoining homestead. Rikas Roadhouse on the National Register of Historic Places is now the focal point of Big Delta State Historical Park. In 1939 Mary Hansen and her late hus- band Bert came by bus from Fairbanks to take over a homestead on the north bank of the Tanana and to operate a roadhouse and guide service. Mrs. Hansen now lives in Wasilla her daughter Irene Mead the first white baby born here still resides in the Delta area. Some old maps refer to Delta as Buffalo Center. This name was used because of the bison herd which was introduced in 1928 and still ranges free in the area. The building of the Alaska Highway in 1942 brought more development. A trail was cut into the Clearwater Creek country for access to fishing and as a firebreak. Peo- ple began homesteading in the area along the creek and the highway. Allen Army Airbase now Fort Greely was among the series of airfields construct- ed along the Alaska Highway during World War II. The field did not see much use after 1948 the Army started its Arctic Train- ing Center now known as the Northern Warfare Training Center and civil service workers began to settle in the area as the Army post grew and offered more employ- ment. The population center which had grown around commerce at the two rivers began to move to the junction of the two high- ways and nearer the present Army post on which construction started in the early 50s. By 1953 Delta had 13 bars and three service stations catering to the needs of construc- tion workers and men stationed at the post. Tourism began in mid-century and contin- ues to increase. Gradual growth has continued in the ensuing years. Construction of the trans- Alaska pipeline created a temporary boom economy but with completion of that mam- moth project community life returned to normalcy. Content courtesy of www.alaska-highway.org history top Rikas Roadhouse 1928. above Sign for Sullivan Roadhouse. Roads and roadhouses P44-06-238 Alaska State Library Skinner Foundation Photo Collection