Fairbanks, Alaska, the second largest city in the state. It lies on the Chena River, a tributary of the Tanana River, about 270 miles (435 km) north-northeast of Anchorage. Fairbanks is the commercial and transportation center for Alaska's vast interior. Lumbering, fur trapping, farming, and gold mining are carried on in the surrounding area. A campus of the University of Alaska and several large military installations are nearby. The city is the northern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and the Alaska Highway and is served by an international airport. It has the council-manager form of government.
Founded in 1902 during the Alaska gold rush, Fairbanks boomed for about a decade. A period of decline ended with World War II when major defense installations were built nearby. Postwar immigration brought considerable growth and development. In 1967 Fairbanks was devastated by a flood. The North Slope oil discovery in 1968 greatly increased the city's importance as a transportation and supply center.