A Woody Graveyard

In the early 1900s, the Upper Chena River drainage was located along what today is known as Chena Hot Springs Road. Back then it was just a trail used mainly in the winter to supply Fairbanks with much needed firewood and lumber. In this article, you can see that good timber was not the only thing they found there.

Fairbanks Daily Times- June 23, 1908


Schofield is holding his logs at the upper bluffs. The upper bluffs are sixty miles from Fairbanks on the Big Chena river. Schofield believes that he has his winter’s work housed in a safe place for the time being.

The logs are for the mill at Chena. The boom at that place is filled up with wood logs at the present time. These wood logs will be removed before there can be room for saw logs.

Apart from the fact that the upper bluffs are a good place to have the logs for safe keeping, the upper bluffs have another significance. They were a prehistoric grave yard, and fossil remains that are found in the sandstone and the petrified clay is an indicator of such a state.

The discoverer of the prehistoric graveyard was Sam Means and a man named Wright who spent several weeks on the bald hills, taking out the horns and bones of the mastodon, the buffalo and the musk-ox of the early days in this country.

Since that time many excavations have been made in the section and now a great many of the museums in the United States have a part of the mountain up the river from Fairbanks.

Note: This article mentioned that some of these items had been sent out of Fairbanks to museums in the Lower 48. A large shipment of these bones was sent for display at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. Since that time, there have been a great many prehistoric finds of bones and fossils in the Interior region of our State. This History Nugget has been proudly brought to you by Men’s Igloo No. 4 and Women’s Igloo No. 8 of the Pioneers of Alaska.

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