M.P. 411.7

Nenana, AK Time & Temp
.Click for Nenana, Alaska Forecast

Current Population: 378 (2010 census)
Incorporation Type: Home Rule City
Borough Located In: Unorganized
Taxes: Sales: 3%; Property: 11.5 mills; None
City: City of Nenana, P.O. Box 70, Nenana, AK 99760, Phone 907-832-5441 , Fax 907-832-5503

Originally an Indian village, Nenana is located on the south bank of the Tanana River at the confluence of the Nenana River.  Nenana is an Athabascan Indian word meaning "a good place to camp between the rivers".  In 1914, President Wilson signed a bill authorizing the construction of a government railroad to connect Alaska's coast with the interior. Nenana was chosen as the northern construction base, and as thousands of workers poured in, the town was second only to Fairbanks among Yukon basin towns.

boats Depot Old Nenana depot
ARR boats, just before spring breakup Depot circa 2002 Depot during the days of steam

Today it serves as a hub for barge operations, serving communities up and down the Yukon River and connecting waterways for hundreds of miles. It is also here where the Nenana Ice Classic takes place. Bets are made on the exact day and time the river ice will break up. The winnings exceed $200,000 and is usually split between multiple contestants.  This event began in 1917 by some employees of the Alaska Railroad in an effort to help break up the boredom of a long winter.

The Nenana railroad depot has been restored an is open during the summer months.  Nearby is a historic location for the Alaska Railroad.  The Mears Memorial truss bridge, a 700-foot steel structure, one of the world's largest single-span bridges, marks the completion of the Alaska Railroad.  The Golden Spike was driven by President Warren Harding on July 15, 1923 at milepost 413.7 at the northern end of the bridge.  Over the years, the golden spike dropped from sight and was never seen again.  On July 15, 1998, Nenana hosted the Alaska Railroad's 75th anniversary and recreated the magic moment of driving the golden spike.

Click here to view a railroad yard map of Nenana.

It also has a 3,198 foot (63 car) siding while North Nenana has a 4,156 foot (83 car) siding.

End view of Nenana Bridge Memorial plaque aerial view of the bridge

Mears Memorial truss bridge

Steam Shovel
Alaska Engineering Commission (A. E. C.) Steam Shovel in Nenana Canyon Cleaning out Slides.

     Written on the back is of this photograph, "This is the Engine I was working with before she was pulled off--
of course this was taken last summer" (Photo date 1918-1930)


Page created 12/1/99 and last updated 12/2/11