Saturday, July 24, 2010

Alaska 67 Exposition

Today's photos were an interesting find! What the heck was the "Alaska '67 Exposition"? A mini-World's Fair? I'd never heard of it. Time to ask the internets.

In 1967, Alaska celebrated the 100th anniversary of its purchase by the United States ($7.2 million dollars, or about 2 cents an acre!). As part of the festivities, the '67 Expo was built in Fairbanks. According to Wikipedia, it features pioneer cabins, historic exhibits, and the steamer SS Nenana, one of the steamboats that traveled Interior Alaska rivers during the gold rush era. The summer exposition that opened the park in July 1967 was attended by U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey but was plagued by rain, financial problems, and low attendance. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful sky in this photo from the opening month!

Look at that neat old locomotive! Riding high on a berm too, where have we seen that before? I have no idea what those interesting, rusty metal objects are to the left. They must be of alien origin!

Looking back towards the entrance from inside the expo, we can see an old luxury Pullman car on display. Could this be one of the presidential cars used for various "whistle stop" tours? The rides were strictly of the "off the shelf" variety, the kind you might find at any carnival or county fair. Hey, I'd still ride 'em! I'd be full of corn dogs, funnel cakes, popcorn, cotton candy, dill pickles and lemonade. URP.

From the looks of things, there are not many takers for these spinning attractions.

Unfortunately, just weeks after these photos were taken, Fairbanks suffered a massive flood, the worst disaster in Fairbanks history. By mid-August, rising waters had inundated the Expo. Damage to the city was in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

However, you can still visit the site today; the park became "Alaskaland", and now is known as "Pioneer Park". There's lots of fun stuff to do there, including the northernmost 36-hole miniature golf course in America. Let's go!


Connie Moreno said...

You find the darndest things!

TokyoMagic! said...

I'm on board, Major. Will you be driving the bus up there?

Perhaps this expo was the inspiration for DCA...minus the berm and the train, of course. It actually looks better than DCA. I see an "Octopus" (behind the carousel)and a "Hammerhead" ride!

The Viewliner Limited said...

These pics are great Major. Just another place to have a fun time. I actually have a few postcards from this Expo. I will post them first chance I get.

Are you still catching the 30 pound rainbows and hunting 100 pound rabbits in them thar' hills?

Anonymous said...

My guess is that those "interesting rusting metal objects" are some kind ore buckets used to dredge for gold. They are similar to those pictured here:

Nancy said...

very cool pictures.....i would visit!