Gold was discovered in the Fairbanks Mining District by Felix Pedro (born Felice Pedroni, an Italian prospector) on July 22, 1902, on what came to be known as Pedro Dome. The discovery sparked a stampede of pioneering men and women who came for the gold and gave birth to a robust mining industry and vibrant town.
These hardy and brave prospectors dipped their pans in our creeks and stayed for many reasons; some for the gold, some for love of the life or land, some for the businesses or homes they forged or loves they found, and some for the adventures they sought. To commemorate their contributions to the development of the Fairbanks Mining District into a major producer of gold, the Pioneers of Alaska Fairbanks Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 dedicated a monument in the Mining Valley section of Pioneer Park on July 22, 2017. The event fittingly occurred on the 115th anniversary of the Felix Pedro discovery during the town’s annual week-long “Golden Days” which celebrates the founding and history of Fairbanks.
Located in the Mining Valley section of Pioneer Park, the monument honors the gold prospectors who first arrived and settled in the Fairbanks area. Photo courtesy of Jim Plaquet.
Close-up of the bronze plaque affixed to the granite slab quarried and donated by Kinross Ft. Knox Gold Mine. It was cast by Alaska Bronze & Granite. Photo courtesy of Jim Plaquet.
The monument is made from a granite boulder discovered and donated by the Kinross Ft. Knox Gold Mine and fitted with a bronze plaque cast by Alaska Bronze & Granite. The plaque reads:
Dedicated to the Pioneering Prospectors who developed the Fairbanks Mining District into the thriving community that we all enjoy today. The sacrifices of these hardworking men and women made it possible for past, present and future generations to experience the “Alaskan Dream” here in the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Dedicated this 22nd day of July, 2017 by Fairbanks Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska whose mission it is:
“To preserve the names of all Alaska’s pioneers on its rolls; to collect and preserve the literature and incidents of Alaska’s history; and to promote the best interests of Alaska.”
The idea for the monument was conceived by Jim Plaquet, 2017 President of Men’s Igloo No. 4, who also spearheaded the project. Many others contributed to the project in various ways, including members of Men’s Igloo No. 4, Women’s Igloo No. 8, Kinross Ft. Knox Gold Mine, The Fairbanks North Star Borough and Pioneer Park Staff.
In addition to Pioneer members throughout the state, current and past Pioneer King and Queen Regents and Grand Igloo Officers, the dedication ceremony was attended by dignitaries who recognized the contributions of our early mining pioneers:
On June 30, 2018, members of Men's Igloo No. 4 installed two historical plaques next to the monument. L-R: George Lounsbury, Rodger Hopp, Jim Plaquet and Michael Gibson.
The Prospector Monument is located inside Pioneer Memorial Park in the Mining Valley Section.
Pioneer Memorial Park, 2300 Airport Way, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701, United States