Chena was a small town in interior Alaska near the confluence of the Chena and Tanana rivers whose heyday was in the first two decades of the 20th century, with a peak population of about 400 in 1907. By 1910 the population had fallen to 138.
The area is now part of the outskirts of Fairbanks. The town was fairly prosperous for a time, and even had its own newspaper, the Tanana Miner, which later was purchased by the Fairbanks Daily News (now the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner), running concurrently with it for a time. Other businesses included two hotels, two general stores, a bakery, a laundry, and two restaurants. By 1910, Chena had a police department, a public school, churches, and a fire department. By 1915, however, the population had dropped to 50. With the death of the town's last business owner, grocer Harry Beldon, in 1920, the population had dropped to only 18. The town gradually faded away, resurging in modern times as a suburb of Fairbanks.
The Tanana Valley Railroad had its southern terminus in Chena, but moved its general manager's office to Fairbanks in 1915. There was a pump station to provide water for the hydraulic mining operations on the other side of Chena Ridge, near Ester. The Chena Pump House is now a restaurant and tourist attraction.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Chena first appeared on the 1910 U.S. Census as an incorporated city. It appeared once more in 1920, the last time it was returned separately. As of 2010, it now lays within the Chena Ridge CDP (census-designated place).
- Like a Tree to the Soil: A history of farming in Alaska's Tanana Valley, 1903 to 1940. In press. Josephine E. Papp and Josie A. Phillips. University of Alaska Fairbanks.
- Farm Journal Complete World Atlas, 1912 Edition, p. 195
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
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