Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, and second largest in the state. It is the principal city of the 'Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area' which encompasses all of Fairbanks North Star Borough.
According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 31,324. The population of Fairbanks and vicinity is 82,840. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the oldest college in Alaska.
Before Fairbanks was founded, Koyukon Athabaskans lived, fished, and hunted along the shores of the Tanana River for thousands of years. The Tanana and other rivers also served as trade routes with other Athabaskans and Inuit.
In the early 1900s, prospectors from the Klondike spread out into various parts of Alaska in search of gold. In August, 1901 a trader named E. T. Barnette chartered the riverboat Lavelle Young to transport a large load of merchandise to the gold fields near Tanacross. He was forced to disembark near the present site of First Avenue and Cushman Street on the Chena River because the Chena was too shallow to follow further upstream and the Tanana River was impassable. There Barnette established the trading post "Barnette's Cache." Two prospectors looking for gold in the hills north of Barnette's trading post saw the smoke from the steamboat and came down to investigate. They were out of supplies and thought they could get some from the steamboat. These prospectors were Felix Pedro (alias Felice Pedroni) an Italian immigrant, and Tom Gilmore. Less than a year later, in July, 1902, Felix Pedro discovered gold 16 miles (25 km) north of the post. This started a gold rush as outfitters and other merchants, in turn, sought to make money selling supplies to the many prospectors coming into the area. The town grew as prospectors made their way to the gold fields via the Chena steamboat landing. Barnette, initially unhappy to find himself far from the proven gold fields, nonetheless stayed put when Pedro and other prospectors came to camp to trade. Within a few years, Fairbanks became the largest city in Alaska (Anchorage is much larger now).
In 1903, territorial judge James Wickersham moved his offices of the Third Judicial District from Eagle to Fairbanks. That November, Fairbanks was incorporated as a city and named after popular Indiana senator Charles W. Fairbanks, soon to become Vice President under Teddy Roosevelt from 1905–1909. With the addition of the court, government offices, a jail, a post office, and the Northern Commercial Company, Barnette was elected mayor and set about to create a first-rate town replete with telephone service, fire protection, sanitation ordinances, electric lights and steam heat. Barnette also founded the Washington-Alaska Bank. By 1910, the official population had grown to 3,541, although more than 6,000 miners lived and worked their claims on creeks north of town.
The Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines opened its doors in College, near Fairbanks, in 1917. The school grew quickly, and in 1935 became the University of Alaska. The University of Alaska system has since expanded to include other campuses and the original campus is now called University of Alaska Fairbanks.
During World War II two United States military bases, Ladd Field and Eielson Air Force Base, were constructed in the Fairbanks area (1938) to aid in sending aircraft and supplies to the USSR and the Russian-controlled Far East for the Lend-Lease program. City hostess Eva McGown was famous locally for extending hospitality to the soldiers and spouses who spent time in Fairbanks during these decades. During the Cold War Ladd Field became a U.S. Army base, Fort Wainwright. These bases brought additional jobs to the Fairbanks area and brought military personnel, some of whom stayed and became residents of the area after finishing their military service. Construction of the Alaska Highway in the 1940s combined to fuel growth and development. Many of the workers stayed at the Fairbanks Hotel, one of which was Paul E. Baker. The Fairbanks Hotel existed until its demolition in 2005.
Since its beginning, Fairbanks has been the commercial center for Interior Alaska. Fairbanks is now at the intersection of the Richardson Highway, the Alaska Railroad, the Steese Highway, the Elliott Highway and the George Parks Highway, completed in 1975. These connect it to Anchorage, Canada and the lower 48 states. The Dalton Highway, opened in 1974, connects Fairbanks to the industrial supply center of Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean. Fairbanks area has an international airport, two military airports and many private airstrips. Goods are transported to and from Fairbanks by truck, air, and rail.
Fairbanks was the construction hub for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1975-1977, and the city became the scene of lively parties and a construction boom as people flocked to the "new gold rush".
Pioneer Park, originally built for the Alaska Purchase Centennial Celebration in 1967 contains museums, the riverboat Nenana, and many old buildings moved there from around the Fairbanks area. The Palace Theatre and Saloon in the park gives a musical presentation of the history of Fairbanks. Pioneer Park was formerly known as "Alaskaland" and many residents still refer to it by that name. After all, the park is about Alaska rather than pioneers, and the instances where pioneers come into play, those pioneers are undoubtedly involved chiefly with Alaska.
The Interior, home of Fairbanks and Denali National Park, has some of the most extreme weather in the world with rapid temperature swings, thunderstorms with hail and lightning and snow in the summer. Winters are very long, lasting from late September to mid-April. They are very cold and dry, with temperatures sometimes dipping down to -65 °F (-53.9 °C). Often the temperature is below zero Fahrenheit (-17.8 °C) for entire months. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Fairbanks was -66 °F (-54.4 °C) on January 14, 1934. The average January low is -19 °F (-28.3 °C) and the average January high is -2 °F (-18.8 °C). Winter snowfall averages around 67.40 inches per year. During the winter months, if the temperature drops below -20 °F (-28.9 °C), ice fog can occur. The summers are usually very warm, with temperatures often reaching into the 80s °F and sometimes reaching into the 90s °F. The average July low is 53 °F (11.6 °C) and the average July high is 72 °F (22.2 °C). The highest temperature ever recorded in Fairbanks was 99 °F (37.2 °C) on July 28, 1919. Thunderstorms with hail and lightning can occur in summer. August and September can be rainy, and snow often starts falling in September. The average rainfall is 10.34 inches per year. Fairbanks is known for its lingering summer days. The sun is up for 21 hours and 49 minutes on the 21st of June with 24 hours of usable daylight. In summer the local golf clubs have all night golfing. Conversely, the sun is up for 3 hours and 42 minutes on the 21st of December with 6 hours and 33 minutes of usable daylight.
According to the New York Times, spectacular displays of the aurora borealis ("northern lights") are visible on an average of 200 days a year in the vicinity of Fairbanks. (Jerry Garrett, "The Cold Show in Fairbanks Alaska," New York Times, March 2, 2007).
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 30,224 people, 11,075 households, and 7,187 families residing in the city. The population density was 366.3/km² (948.7/mi²). There were 12,357 housing units at an average density of 149.8/km² (387.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.67% White, 11.15% Black or African American, 9.91% Native American, 2.72% Asian, 0.54% Pacific Islander, 2.45% from other races, and 6.57% from two or more races. 6.13% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 11,075 households out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.4% under the age of 18, 14.7% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 16.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 105.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,577, and the median income for a family was $46,785. Males had a median income of $30,539 versus $26,577 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,814. About 7.4% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.
Fifteen circulating pump stations distribute treated water throughout the greater Fairbanks area. City water, sewer and electric systems are operated by a private company. The Chena power site has four steam turbines fueled by coal, and one oil-fueled electrical generator.
Garbage collection services are provided in some areas of the city, although many Fairbanks residents must haul their own garbage to "transfer stations" where trash and garbage are picked up and taken to the dump. Collected refuse is hauled to the Class 1 Borough landfill on South Cushman Street. Garbage services are funded by a tax that is paid by resident property owners regardless of whether or not they are eligible for garbage collection services in their area. Fort Wainwright operates its own landfill.
Electricity is provided by Golden Valley Electric Association. Fairbanks, currently holds the world record for the largest Rechargeable battery, this weighs approx 1,300 tonnes, and was installed to to help bridge the gaps that occur during frequent power outages. the batteries will provide power for 7 minutes, to about 12,000 homes. 
There are 20 schools, attended by 10,119 students. There are both public and private schools. Most private schools are run by religious organizations. (i.e., private Catholic schools.)
Local hospitals or health clinics include Fairbanks Memorial Hospital; Interior Community Health Center; Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center; Bassett Army Community Hospital/Fort Wainwright. The hospitals are qualified acute care facilities and State-certified Medevac services. Specialized Care: FNA Regional Center for Alcohol & Other Addictions. Long Term Care: Fairbanks Pioneers' Home; Denali Center. Fairbanks is classified as a small city. It is found in EMS Region 1C in the Interior Region. Emergency Services have highway, airport and floatplane access. Emergency service is provided by 911 telephone service, paid EMS service, volunteers, a health aide and the military. Auxiliary health care is provided by Fairbanks Fire Department; Airport Fire Department; University Fire Department; Chena Goldstream Fire & Rescue; Steese Area Volunteer Fire; Guardian Flight Critical-Care Air Ambulance; Warbelow's Air Ambulance; Fort Wainwright Fire/Emergency.
For more information visit the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce website at http://fairbankschamber.org. They provide an up-to-date listing of business and utilities companies.