Nenana, Alaska
Overview
 
Nenana is a Home Rule City in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area is a census area located in the state of Alaska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,588. It is part of the unorganized borough and therefore has no borough seat...

 of the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. Nenana lies at the juncture of the Nenana River
Nenana River
The Nenana River is a tributary of the Tanana River, approximately 150 mi long, in central Alaska in the United States. It drains an area on the north slope of the Alaska Range on the south edge of the Tanana Valley southwest of Fairbanks....

 and the Tanana River
Tanana River
The Tanana River is a tributary of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to linguist and anthropologist William Bright, the name is from the Koyukon tene no, tenene, literally "trail river"....

. The population was 402 at the 2000 census. "Nenana" means 'a good place to camp between two rivers.'
Nenana is in the western-most portion of Tanana Athabascan Indian territory. It was first known as Tortella, an interpretation of the Indian word "Toghotthele" (TOG-uh-TEE-lee), which means "mountain that parallels the river." Early explorers such as Allen, Harper and Bates first entered the Tanana Valley
Tanana Valley
The Tanana Valley is a lowland region in central Alaska in the United States, on the north side of the Alaska Range where the Tanana River emerges from the mountains.-Climate:...

 in 1875 and 1885.
Encyclopedia
Nenana is a Home Rule City in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area is a census area located in the state of Alaska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,588. It is part of the unorganized borough and therefore has no borough seat...

 of the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. Nenana lies at the juncture of the Nenana River
Nenana River
The Nenana River is a tributary of the Tanana River, approximately 150 mi long, in central Alaska in the United States. It drains an area on the north slope of the Alaska Range on the south edge of the Tanana Valley southwest of Fairbanks....

 and the Tanana River
Tanana River
The Tanana River is a tributary of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to linguist and anthropologist William Bright, the name is from the Koyukon tene no, tenene, literally "trail river"....

. The population was 402 at the 2000 census. "Nenana" means 'a good place to camp between two rivers.'

History and culture

Nenana is in the western-most portion of Tanana Athabascan Indian territory. It was first known as Tortella, an interpretation of the Indian word "Toghotthele" (TOG-uh-TEE-lee), which means "mountain that parallels the river." Early explorers such as Allen, Harper and Bates first entered the Tanana Valley
Tanana Valley
The Tanana Valley is a lowland region in central Alaska in the United States, on the north side of the Alaska Range where the Tanana River emerges from the mountains.-Climate:...

 in 1875 and 1885. However, the Tanana people were accustomed to contact with Europeans, due to trading journeys to the Village of Tanana, where Russians bartered Western goods for furs.

The discovery of gold in Fairbanks
Fairbanks
Fairbanks may refer to:Places in the United States*Fairbanks, Alaska, city*Fairbanks, California, unincorporated community in El Dorado County*Fairbanks, Mendocino County, California, former settlement*Fairbanks, Indiana, unincorporated community...

 in 1902 brought intense activity to the region. A trading post/roadhouse was constructed by Jim Duke in 1903 to supply river travelers and trade with Indians. St. Mark's Episcopal mission and school was built a short distance upriver in 1905. Native children from other communities, such as Minto
Minto, Alaska
Minto is a census-designated place in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the CDP is 258. The name is an anglicized version of the Lower Tanana Athabaskan name Menh Ti, meaning 'among the lakes'. After repeated flooding the village was...

, attended school in Nenana. A post office opened in 1908. In 1915, construction of the Alaska Railroad doubled Nenana's population. The community incorporated as a city in 1921.

The Railroad Depot was completed in 1923, when President Warren Harding drove the golden spike at the north end of the 700 feet (213.4 m) Mears Memorial Bridge
Mears Memorial Bridge
The Mears Memorial Bridge is a truss bridge on the Alaska Railroad, completed in 1923. The bridge spans the Tanana River at Nenana and is among the largest simple truss-type bridges in the world....

 over the Tanana River. Nenana now had a transportation link to Fairbanks and Seward. According to local records, 5,000 residents lived in Nenana during this time. However, completion of the railroad was followed by an economic slump. The population in 1930 was recorded at 291.

In 1961, Clear Air Force Station
Clear Air Force Station
Clear Air Force Station is a United States Air Force Station located 5 miles south of Anderson, Alaska, USA, northeast of Mount McKinley, and southwest of Fairbanks. Its primary mission is to detect incoming ICBMs and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.-Overview:Clear AFS is operated by the...

 was constructed 21 miles southwest, and many civilian contractors commuted from Nenana. A road was constructed south to Clear, but northbound vehicles were ferried across the Tanana River. In 1967 the community was devastated by one of the largest floods ever recorded in the valley. In 1968 a $6 million bridge was completed across the Tanana River, which gave the town a road link to Fairbanks and replaced the river ferry. The George Parks Highway
George Parks Highway
The George Parks Highway , usually called simply the Parks Highway, runs 323 miles from the Glenn Highway 35 miles north of Anchorage to Fairbanks in the Alaska Interior...

 was completed in 1971, and provided a shorter, direct route to Anchorage
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

.

Residents of Nenana sponsor the Nenana Ice Classic
Nenana Ice Classic
The Nenana Ice Classic is an annual ice pool contest held in Nenana, Alaska. It is a fundraising event in which individuals attempt to guess the exact time the Tanana River ice will break up at Nenana. Tickets are on sale from February 1 thru April 5 of each year throughout Alaska, with a $2.50...

, where entrants buy a ticket and pick the date and time to the closest minute in April or May when the winter ice on the Tanana River
Tanana River
The Tanana River is a tributary of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to linguist and anthropologist William Bright, the name is from the Koyukon tene no, tenene, literally "trail river"....

 breaks. This lottery began in 1917 when a group of surveyors working for the Alaska Railroad
Alaska Railroad
The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks , and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state...

 whiled the time they spent waiting for the river to open and boats with supplies to reach them by forming a betting pool. Each year a large striped tripod is placed on the frozen river. The winner is whoever comes closest to guessing when the ice beneath it will weaken to the point where it falls through to the water beneath. Interest in the pool continued and spread through Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. This lottery has paid out nearly $10 million in prize money, with the winning pool in recent years being near $300,000.

The federally-recognized tribe in the community is the Nenana Native Association.

Nenana was the starting point for the 1925 serum run to Nome
1925 serum run to Nome
During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the "Great Race of Mercy," 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from...

, where diphtheria antitoxin was transported by rail from Anchorage, and continued by dog sled to Nome.

In the summer of 2008, Nenana suffered heavy damage due to flooding
2008 Tanana Valley flood
The 2008 Tanana Valley flood or the 2008 Fairbanks flood was a flood in late July and early August 2008 that affected several rivers in the central portion of the American state of Alaska. The city of Fairbanks, Alaska saw high water levels, while the towns of Nenana, Salcha, and Old Minto received...

. The Tanana reached its second highest level since record keeping began.

Geography and climate

Nenana is located at 64°33′50"N 149°5′35"W, (Sec. 14, T004S, R008W, Fairbanks Meridian) in the Nenana Recording District.

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.8 km²), of which, 6 square miles (15.5 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square mile (0.258998811 km²) of it (0.99%) is water.

Nenana is located 55 road miles southwest of Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks is a home rule city in and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, and second largest in the state behind Anchorage...

 on the George Parks Highway
George Parks Highway
The George Parks Highway , usually called simply the Parks Highway, runs 323 miles from the Glenn Highway 35 miles north of Anchorage to Fairbanks in the Alaska Interior...

 and 304 road miles northeast of Anchorage
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

. It is at mile 412 of the Alaska Railroad
Alaska Railroad
The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks , and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state...

, on the south bank of the Tanana River
Tanana River
The Tanana River is a tributary of the Yukon River in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to linguist and anthropologist William Bright, the name is from the Koyukon tene no, tenene, literally "trail river"....

 where it meets the Nenana River
Nenana River
The Nenana River is a tributary of the Tanana River, approximately 150 mi long, in central Alaska in the United States. It drains an area on the north slope of the Alaska Range on the south edge of the Tanana Valley southwest of Fairbanks....

. Nenana has a continental climate with an extreme temperature range. The average daily maximum during summer months is 65 to 70; the daily minimum during winter is well below zero. The highest temperature ever recorded is 98; the lowest is -69. Average precipitation is 11.4 inches, with 48.9 inches of snowfall annually. The river is ice-free from early May to late October.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 402 people, 171 households, and 87 families residing in the city. The population density was 66.6 people per square mile (25.7/km²). There were 210 housing units at an average density of 34.8 per square mile (13.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 50.75% White
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, 0.25% Black
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

 or African American
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, 41.04% Native American
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, 0.50% Asian
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 7.46% from two or more races. 2.49% of the population were Hispanic
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

 or Latino
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

 of any race.

There were 171 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.1% were non-families. 42.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 27.6% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 112.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,333, and the median income for a family was $40,938. Males had a median income of $46,125 versus $26,094 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $17,334. About 13.4% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 19.4% of those age 65 or over.

Public services

Water is drawn from wells, then treated and distributed via circulating loops. A piped gravity system collects sewage, which is treated at a secondary treatment plant. Most of the City is connected to the piped water and sewer system: 215 homes and the school are served. The remaining homes have individual wells and septic systems.

Refuse is collected by a private firm and hauled to the new Denali Borough regional landfill, located south of Anderson. Electricity is provided by Golden Valley Electric Association. A school provides education for grades kindergarten through 12 (200 students). The Nenana Student Living Center
Nenana Student Living Center
The Nenana Student Living Center is a boarding home for students from all over Alaska located in Nenana, Alaska. It is one of three in the state of Alaska. The students attend the regular Nenana City Public School and are not segregated in a separate education program. The home can have up to 88...

, one of three statewide boarding school for high school students, has students from around the state attending the local school. The school attracts students and families due to its extensive arts (music, artistic and performing programs), academic quality and vocational studies.

The City has a library with a full time librarian, internet access and full library services including interlibrary loan services. Health clinic services are provided by the Nenana Native Clinic. A regional hospital is located in nearby Fairbanks
Fairbanks
Fairbanks may refer to:Places in the United States*Fairbanks, Alaska, city*Fairbanks, California, unincorporated community in El Dorado County*Fairbanks, Mendocino County, California, former settlement*Fairbanks, Indiana, unincorporated community...

. Specialized services include the Railbelt Mental Health & Addiction Services. Emergency Services have highway, river and airport access. 911 emergency service is available in Nenana; auxiliary health care is provided by Nenana Volunteer Fire/EMS or Fairbanks hospitals. Police service is provide by the Alaska State Troopers.

Economy and transportation

Over 40% of the year-round jobs are government-funded, including the City, Tribe, Nenana School District, Yukon-Koyukuk School District, and highway maintenance by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Golden Valley Electric Association has its regional office in Nenana. Nenana is a strong choice for locating regional and statewide offices due to a rural lifestyle yet near to Fairbanks on the major north-south George Parks Highway.

Nenana has affordable housing and low rents. Nenana has a strong private sector economy as the center of rail-to-river barge transportation for the Interior. Crowley Marine is a major private employer, supplying villages along the Tanana and Yukon Rivers each summer with cargo and fuel. The City attracts independent travelers with fuel and supplies, the Alaska Railroad Museum, the Golden Railroad Spike Historic Park and Interpretive Center, the historical Episcopal Church, Iditarod dog kennels, and a replica of the sternwheeler Nenana. A heritage center has local cultural and history displays, open during the summer tourist season from May to September.

Nenana is a center of dog mushing; a number of world-class teams train in the area. Nenana is home to a number of artists who produce works that reflect the local frontier lifestyle. A number of large farms produce quality and specialized crops in some of the best growing conditions in Alaska. The Nenana Ice Classic administration provides employment for nearly 100 locals during the counting and tabulation of the tickets providing chances on when the Tanana River breakup in the spring. Twenty-seven residents hold commercial fishing permits. A large number of Native and non-Native households rely on subsistence foods, such as salmon, moose, caribou, bear, waterfowl and berries.

Taxes: Sales: 4%, Property: 12.0 mills, Special: None

Nenana has air, river, road and railroad access. The George Parks Highway provides road access to Fairbanks and Anchorage. A boat landing at the end of 10th street turning west off the George Parks Highway provides free boat landing on the Nenana River. A short distance north of the landing, the Nenana River meets the Tanana River, providing easy access to the river system of the Tanana River and Minto Flats. The boat landing provides access for hundreds of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts each year.

The railroad provides daily freight service. The Nenana Municipal Airport offers two landing areas: a lighted, asphalt runway 5,000 feet long by 100 feet wide, and an airstrip, turf, 2,520 feet long by 80 feet wide. The airport also has landing areas for float planes and ski planes. The Nenana Port Authority operates the dry cargo loading and unloading facilities, dock, bulkhead, and warehouse. The Tanana River is shallow, with a maximum draft for loaded river barges of 4.5 feet; by comparison, the Yukon River has very few shallow areas.

Popular culture

Nenana and the Ice Classic were featured in the 1938 movie "Call of the Yukon." Richard Arlen
Richard Arlen
-Biography:Born Sylvanus Richard Van Mattimore in St. Paul, Minnesota, he attended the University of Pennsylvania. He served as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. His first job after the war was with St. Paul's Athletic Club...

 and Beverly Roberts
Beverly Roberts
Beverly Roberts was an American film and stage actress of the 1930s, and entertainment business executive through the 1970s.-Career:...

 played a mis-matched pair on a trek to Nenana to escape a village famine.

Nenana was also featured in the 1995 movie "Balto
Balto
Balto was a Siberian Husky sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. The run is commemorated by the...

". Nenana was where the antitoxin was unloaded from the Alaska Railroad
Alaska Railroad
The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks , and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state...

  and run to Nome
Nome, Alaska
Nome is a city in the Nome Census Area in the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska, located on the southern Seward Peninsula coast on Norton Sound of the Bering Sea. According to the 2010 Census, the city population was 3,598. Nome was incorporated on April 9, 1901, and was once the...

by dogsled.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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