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Fairbanks impounds truck hauling historic Chena building

November 17, 2018

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The city of Fairbanks has impounded a truck that was hauling an early 20th century building back to its original home in the former railroad town of Chena.

The building previously in downtown Fairbanks was donated to Alaska State Parks, which planned to display it with an interpretive historical sign at the old Chena town site, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

The truck and cargo were taken to the city’s impound lot Thursday. The truck transporting the structure lacked insurance, hadn’t been registered in years and was not properly lighted or marked, city spokeswoman Teal Soden said. The driver is working with the city to get the truck back, she said.

The green building was likely constructed between 1904 and 1907 and was probably used as a small store, said Martin Gutoski, a member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Historic Preservation Commission.

The Tanana Valley Railroad town was an early competitor to Fairbanks, and it served as a riverboat port and the railroad terminus. It was near where the Chena and Tanana rivers meet, west of Fairbanks.

After the town collapsed around 1917, most of its buildings were eventually torn down or moved elsewhere. The Tanana River covers part of the site, Gutoski said.

Volunteer Fairbanks history preservationists were the process of moving the old building when Fairbanks police stopped the truck. They had decided to hit the road at midnight so there be less traffic, said Patty Peirsol, a preservation commission member who drove an informal pilot car behind the truck.

“This has become much more than anyone thought it could be in terms of expenses; even before last night it was getting pricey,” Peirsol said.

Brooks Ludwig, a regional supervisor for Alaska State Parks, said he’s seeking to work with the state Department of Transportation to use a state trailer to deliver the building to Chena.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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