In the early days of our town was the Tanana Club, a fancy home away from home for the professional men of Fairbanks. The club was started around 1906 and lasted for many years. It was lavishly furnished and many legendary events occurred there, including prize fighting. The club was located in the upstairs of a building on the corner of First and Cushman streets where the Marriott Hotel sits today. In February of 1919, a fire burned the building to the ground. Today’s newspaper article describes what was saved from the fire:
Fairbanks Daily News Miner- February 14, 1919
TANANA CLUB SAVED A LOT
More Saved From The Fire Than People Thought.
Fine Lot of Classy and Most Ancient Junk Comes Out of Hiding and Goes to Embellish the Clubrooms.
It now transpires that the Tanana Club DID save something from the fire, although it was believed not a thing was saved.
They saved the picture of Charles Ethelbert Claypoole, first, or one of the first presidents of the club. They saved the costly punch bowl and cut-glass set, that carried a punch together with two immense and antiquated steins, which only serve to remind the club members of the Good Olde Days, when punch and beer were served, and legitimate. Sort of warning to the ungodly of these days.
They saved the old Morris chair, which was never any good at it best and whose cushions are filled with dust of ages, including all the germs which smolder in that dust.
They saved the bust of Lady Drinkeasy, with the clusters of grapes adorning her buzzum; the girl in a straw hat and little else, who used to look good to the boys about fourth-drink in. And, a few odds and ends of worthless stuff in place of the easy chairs they used to have. (They also saved the Manson bed, from Room No. 1.)
The Hoyt & Kelly cigar store has cut a door into the hallway leading up to the new clubrooms and the club may now be said to be ready for business.
Note: After the move into the upstairs room of the cigar store, the Tanana Club never really regained its popularity. Times had changed with the passing of Alaska’s Bone-Dry Law which was our version of Prohibition— so parties were not fun anymore. Does anyone know if any of those salvaged items are still here in Fairbanks? Or have they, too, slipped away into the oblivion of history along with the rest of what was old Fairbanks? 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 who are still here and active after more than one hundred years!