Fairbanks, 1915. #88-51-12, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Wickersham House Museum
|Tanana-Yukon Historical Society
located in Pioneer Park
Open Memorial-Labor Day,
Daily, 12:00-8:00 pm
located in suite 102,
Co-op Plaza Bldg.
535 2nd Ave.
Open by appointment
P O Box 71336
Fairbanks AK 99707
Judge James Wickersham was appointed head of
the newly created Third Judicial District of the Alaska
Territorial Court in 1900. After officiating in Eagle City,
Unalaska, and Nome, Wickersham moved the
headquarters of his court to the newly formed town of
Fairbanks in 1904.
In 1908 he was elected as Alaska's delegate to
Congress. He secured passage of the Organic Act of
1912 granting Alaska territorial status, introduced the
legislation to establish McKinley Park, and was
responsible for the creation of the Alaska Agricultural
College and School of Mines (now the University of
Alaska). In 1916, he introduced the first Alaska
In 1906 work began on the addition of two new rooms to the
house. These added rooms are the present parlor and small
northwest bedroom; the original sitting room became the dining
room. It was all completed by October, for Wickersham writes in
his diary, "Mrs. Maddocks gave a card party for the club
yesterday at our house. Mrs. W. has it now newly papered etc.
and the hot air furnace makes it a delightful, warm, and cozy
Wickersham sold the house for $1,500 in 1922.
At the time the house was moved to Alaskaland (now Pioneer
Park) in 1968, the original kitchen, woodshed, closet, porch and a north addition
were deemed too deteriorated to be moved. The kitchen was recreated in 1986. The
original sitting room of 1904, now the dining room, and the parlor and northwest
bedroom or study of 1906 have been restored. The house has been furnished to
suggest how it might have looked when occupied by the Wickershams between 1906
Wickersham bought the lot at the northeast corner of First and Noble Streets for
$175 on April 15, 1904. There was, as yet, no wagon in the Tanana Valley, so he
carried the newly cut lumber on his back from the sawmill to his lot, a few blocks away.
The new house consisted of just two rooms, the "sitting room" and kitchen. To the
east of the kitchen was a covered porch and wood shed which extended back to the
northeast corner of the lot, leading to the "water closet." Until they left Fairbanks at the
end of August, the Judge and his wife Debbie slept in a tent pitched at the front door of
the house, an arrangement thought necessary for Debbie's health.
|#P277-7-107, Alaska State Library
|#1992-207-117, Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks