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Chena Pump House

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1933. Chena Pump Rd.

Water was a critical element in advanced gold-mining operations. High-pressure water stripped the muck overburden, steam thawed the frozen gravel, and water dredged and sluiced it. The Chena Pump House took this badly needed water from the Chena River and pumped it over the Chena Ridge to the Cripple Creek operations near Ester, 6 miles east of Fairbanks.

Constructed by the Fairbanks Exploration Company in 1933, the pump house is a simple wood-framed building, measuring 20 feet by 108 feet, with a corrugated-metal covering and a gable roof. Inside, the machinery included ten 14-inch double-suction centrifugal pumps, which delivered water through three 26-inch pipelines. Once over the ridge, the water flowed through a 3-mile ditch to the mining operations, where it was used for stripping and dredge ponds.

In about 1958 the pump house went out of service. Twenty years later, the building was rehabilitated for use as a restaurant. All of the machinery has been removed.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Chena Pump House", [Fairbanks, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 226-227.

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