Chatanika served as the base camp for the Fairbanks Exploration Company's operations on the Chatanika and Cleary creeks, 28 miles north of Fairbanks. In 1928, mining was assisted by the completion of the 90-mile Davidson Ditch and by the two dredges built on Goldstream Creek, evidenced by the tailings piles on the north side of Steese Highway. In preparation for this effort, the FE Company constructed the Chatanika camp in 1925.
The remaining buildings from that time are all wood framed and clad with corrugated metal. The largest are the two bunkhouses at the top of the hill. The thirty-six-man bunkhouse-mess hall, a gable-roofed building, now serves as a restaurant and hotel. There is a screened meat cache off the back end of this building. The fifty-two-man bunkhouse has a hip roof and a one-story bathroom addition. The blacksmith shop, boiler house, and garage also survive from this period. Wood-sided buildings at the site date from a later period.