“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Nenana in Yukon Koyukuk Borough, Alaska — The American West (Northwest)

Golden Spike

Golden Spike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, June 30, 1995
1. Golden Spike Marker
A Golden Spike was
driven at this point by
President Harding
on completion of
the Alaska Railroad
July 15 1923

Location. 64° 34.076′ N, 149° 4.775′ W. Marker is in Nenana, Alaska, in Yukon Koyukuk Borough. Click for map. Marker is at Railroad milepost 413.7 on the left side of the tracks while traveling north to Fairbanks. Marker is in this post office area: Nenana AK 99760, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within walking distance of this marker. First Presidential Visit (approx. half a mile away).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Other Golden Spike Markers.
Also see . . .
1. Alaska RR History. On July 15, 1923 President Harding drove in the Golden Spike signifying completion of the Alaska Railroad. Returning from the Alaska trip, Harding died suddenly of a heart attack (in San Francisco) on August 2, 1923. (Submitted on December 18, 2007, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. Alaska's Railroads (Alaska Geographic). Book by Alaska Geographic Society and Penny Rennick (Submitted on May 7, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.) 

3. The Alaska Railroad, in pictures, 1914 - 1964. Book by Bernadine LeMay Prince available at (Submitted on May 7, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.) 
Additional comments.
1. The Village of Nenana
The village of Nenana is located at the head of one of Alaska's most scenic valleys with Mt. McKinley visible on the horizon. Situated at the confluence of the Nenana and Tanana
Alaskan Train Ride image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, June 30, 1995
2. Alaskan Train Ride
Rivers, it's about halfway between Fairbanks and Denali National Park. The name Nenana means "a good place to camp between the rivers." With its close proximity to the Alaska Railroad and Tanana River (which flows into the Yukon River), Nenana has played an integral part in the development of interior Alaska.

Nenana is famous for its Ice Classic, a tradition since 1917. In late February, a black and white, 26-foot-tall, five-legged "tripod" is set in the ice of the Tanana River. Tickets are sold throughout Alaska for $2.50 each. In April, a cable is attached to the tripod from a clock on shore. When the tripod moves approximately 100 feet, the cable trips a mechanism which stops the clock. Guess the day, hour and minute the clock stops and you'll split a pot, which in recent years has been over $300,000 dollars. This fun event announces spring's arrival in interior Alaska.

Nenana has traditionally been an important fishing and hunting area used by different groups of Athabascan Indians. Around 1905 a telegraph station was built by the Army Signal Corps as part of the network across Alaska, a trading post was established, and the Episcopal Church founded St. Mark's Mission. A boarding school was added two years later. Today, the restored log church is a favorite photo subject for visitors.

Nenana's population grew dramatically with the building of the
Alaskan Train image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, June 30, 1995
3. Alaskan Train
Traveling North
Alaska Railroad. The first railroad survey party arrived in 1916 and began building a waterfront dock. President Warren J. Harding drove the golden spike at the north end of the Nenana rail bridge on July 15, 1923. The golden spike is no longer there but the 700-foot steel bridge, the second longest single-span railroad bridge in the US, is still in use today. The old Nenana Train Depot has been converted to a railroad museum and is well worth a visit. In 1967, Nenana's final link to the interior was completed with the highway bridge over the Tanana River. This replaced the ferry and ice bridge system used until then. Today, Nenana remains the largest and most important port in interior Alaska.
    — Submitted December 19, 2007.

2. Passenger Service at Nenana
Today the Alaska Railroad operates daily passenger service during the summer, but the trains do not stop at Nenana any more. The Alaska Railroad operated year-round passenger train service that stopped at Nenana for a major part of the 20th century. The railroad depot there is still standing, now a museum. By 1957 The Midnight Sun ran three days a week, stopping at Nenana at 6:44 AM on its way to Fairbanks Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday; and at 10:09 PM on its overnight run to Anchorage on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Mt McKinley Summit, from 60 miles away. Indian name is "Denali" image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, June 30, 1995
4. Mt McKinley Summit, from 60 miles away. Indian name is "Denali"
Photograph taken with a 600mm telephoto lens.
It was less than a two hour ride to Fairbanks. Sleeping car space was available for the run to Anchorage, which was about 10 hours.

In the early days of passenger service on the Alaska Railroad trains ran twice a week and stopped overnight at Curry, where a lavish hotel there catered to both through passengers and those that stayed a while. Until the advent of frequent airplane service, trains ran through Anchorage to Seward to connect to steamships that sailed between Seward and Seattle. The 1925 schedule shows Train No. 4 stopping at Nenana Tuesdays and Fridays at 3:40 PM on its way to Fairbanks, where it arrived at 6:15 PM. Train No. 3 to Curry stopped Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:25 AM, arriving at Curry at 6:30 PM. Train No. 1 left Curry the next morning at 7:30 AM. It got to Anchorage at 1 PM and to Seward at 7:30 PM. From Seward, Train No. 2 to Curry left Mondays and Thursdays at 7:30 AM pausing for an hour at Anchorage at 1 PM and arriving at Curry at 7:30 PM.

In 1925 Nenana was also the transfer point for passenger boat service, also operated by the Alaska Railroad, between Nenana and Holy Cross on the Yukon and Tanana Rivers. This service operated May 15th to October 1st. At Holy Cross boats operated by other lines continued to St. Michael, Nome, and points on the Seward peninsula.
    — Submitted April
Pipeline Milepost near Fairbanks image. Click for full size.
By Michael Stroud, July 1, 1995
5. Pipeline Milepost near Fairbanks
Fairbanks is 60 miles North of Golden Spike.
5, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.

Categories. Man-Made FeaturesNotable EventsRailroads & Streetcars
Alaska RR today image. Click for full size.
By Bill Walker, June 20, 2009
6. Alaska RR today
Alaska RR today image. Click for full size.
By Bill Walker, June 16, 2009
7. Alaska RR today
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 22,330 times since then and 31 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   6, 7. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Pictures of the railroad bridge and the old Nenana Train Depot (Museum). • Can you help?
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