Pioneer Dog Hotel

In the years before the railroad and air travel, transportation needs were met by boat, horses, or dog teams. When a musher arrived into town, he would stay at one of the many hotels that were available but what about his dog team? Where did one keep a prized team of dogs that were your transportation? You could not just park them on the narrow street. The following article describes how one hotel owner saw a need and capitalized on it for the booming new town of Fairbanks..

Tanana Weekly News—October 12, 1906


Dave Petree’s New Dog Stable Will Be the Best of Its Kind to Be Found in the Territory of Alaska.

An institution that is going to come in for a big lot of patronage this winter is Dave Petree’s new dog stable, that will probably rival anything in its line in Alaska.

Whether the need of such a stable, where dogs can be left well housed, with the certainty of their owner being able to find them when wanted exists, is best known to those who have come in off the trail late at night, cold and hungry, with the task ahead of them of hunting up some rough and ready accommodation for their dogs before they can attend to their own wants.

The stable, or dog hostelry, just being completed by Mr. Petree on the Pioneer dock on Front street, is probably the most unique in the country containing twelve separate kennels, each of which will accommodate from two to four dogs, according to their tempers, it has been built that a team can be driven right into the stable, the dogs unhitched and housed out of the cold and their owner can leave feeling assured that he will find them again when he returns for he will carry away with him a key to each kennel he uses.

The floors of the kennels are to be well lined with sawdust, and tar paper has been laid between the flooring to keep out all draughts from below. The roofs are boarded and covered with corrugated iron and the insides of the doors have sheet metal coverings to prevent any dog chewing his way out. In front of the kennels there is ample room for the unloading of sleds, and as the outside gates will be kept locked these can be left overnight with perfect safety.

Mr. Petree had at the back of his hotel last year six dog houses, and these he will still maintain, but it was impressed on him last winter that something better was needed for the comfort of his patrons and, with his usual enterprise, he has succeeded in providing for winter travelers a dog stable par excellence. The houses will be free to all patrons of the hotel, but a nominal sum will be charged for each key used, which will be refunded on the return of the key.

The improvements in the accommodations Mr. Petree is providing for the dogs, are only in keeping with those he is putting before his patrons in the Pioneer hotel. When he came here from Circle in 1903 and started in business at his present location his hostelry contained but twenty-four rooms and some bunks. Additions have been made from time to time to keep pace with the growth of the city and the call for improved conditions, now there are seventy-four rooms, all steam-heated, and all the bunks are done away with.

Note: For forty-eight years the old Pioneer Hotel was a well-known landmark in downtown Fairbanks. It all came to a sad end in July of 1952 when the hotel burned to the ground. There is one bit of this old business left in Fairbanks sitting on the South East corner of Cowles and 8th Avenue. That building has the faded words “Pioneer Dock” on it that is still readable today. Many years ago, that building was moved from the waterfront to its present location. Dave Petree, the original owner of the hotel, was a charter member of Men’s Igloo No. 4, as well as many of the other subsequent owners. This History Nugget was 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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