We had a wonderful day at Pioneer Park yesterday for the first Annual SS Nenana Day, “Celebrating the Last Lady of the River”. The weather cleared up and the sun was warm and bright! The children had a good time playing games, drawing with chalk on the street along with free balloons and popcorn.
We made new friends and met some old ones during the day sharing about our group with people and our journey to bring the SS Nenana back to be open to the public again.
We were able to film and document two elders stories that had worked on the SS Nenana. Thank you to Don Honea Sr. and Al Wright for sharing with us and Pete Van Nort for your continued support in filming these stories and journey!
Celebrate the Last Lady of the River at Pioneer Park. The park is planning a fun-filled day for children and adults. Playing games, listening to local bands playing for your enjoyment.
Grab a bite at one of the many shops or cabins
- Annie Hodge Soul Food
- Frosty Paws
- Synnyo’s Alaskan Kitchen
- Tasha’s Caribbean Cuisine
- Gold Rush Ice Cream Parlor
Learn about the history of the Sternwheeler SS Nenana, watch films of her traveling the Yukon and Tanana Rivers, pushing barges of cargo for the villages and paddling passengers lazily up the river heading for home or tourists sight-seeing.
Talk with Friends of SS Nenana and learn about our project to get her open to the public again. Our plan of maintaining her for future generations to learn about the rich history of stern wheelers that made Alaska what she is today.
Save the date Saturday Aug 25th 2018!
We will be downtown July 21st at the Street Fair with a booth. We will be featuring historical film of the SS Nenana running on the rivers and more.
Thank you to Lunch Cafe & Eatery, please stop by for lunch!
LUNCH Café & Eatery has a tip-less tradition. All tips are gratefully declined, and we encourage our guests to donate to a local charity. This month -July 2018- all tips will be donated to the Friends of SS Nenana, in memory of Jack Williams. Please come to the café, enjoy a delicious meal and donate to the cause! Thank you. Hours Wed-Fri 8-4 Sat-Sun 9-4.
June 21, 2018 Friends of SS Nenana met with;
Karl Kassel, Mayor
Jim Williams, Chief of Staff
Melissa Kellner, Long-Rang Planner, Community Planning Department
Kellen Spillman, Community Planning Department
Dan Sloan, Public Works Director
Michael Bork, Parks and Recreation Director
Don Hayes, Pioneer Park Manager
A short history of our group, Friends of SS Nenana was presented on how we came to be. We updated them with all of our information, web page, Facebook page, and contact information.
Explaining to them our first priority is the set up of a nonprofit corporation with a 501 (c) (3) status, under the name Friends of SS Nenana.
A staff member suggested we create a “foundation” which started a discussion on the topic. There could be two entities, a corporation to do the work and a foundation for fundraising and invest.
We stated our short-term goal is first to stabilize the SS Nenana, then repair and restore her once again. The long-term goal is to make the SS Nenana self-sufficient by creating an organization that would maintain the boat for the future.
We discussed the subject of a lease or other legal methods of obtaining control of the SS Nenana from the Borough to work on the restoration. They told us a relatively new method had been devised that would work for our needs. The borough could lease the boat to the group on a yearly basis then the group would have control of it to maintain and insure it as well as run a concession or other forms of raising money.
Permission was obtained for our group of Engineers to inspect the condition of the sternwheeler in a sequence of different dates with a limited amount of people per inspection for safety reasons.
The mayor and staff were very receptive and pleased our group is organizing to take over restoration and maintenance of the SS Nenana, and its future. They want to be helpful in turning over any information that the Friends of SS Nenana may need.
We were very pleased as well that the meeting went so well!
Jeannie Creamer-Dalton meet with the Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee at 7:00 AM this morning June 14, 2018, to speak with them about the SS Nenana. Patty Peirsol also attended the meeting with her.
(She deserves a medal for being there at 7:00 AM!)
A few of the members are coming onboard to work with us. They offered some excellent ideas. Roger Burggraf mentioned that he has family members that worked on SS Nenana and that he would be happy to help with the project.
The representative of the Operators’ Union and president of a group representing all of the trades in Fairbanks offered to help. Apprentices programs might be available for work.
Since the ARR commissioned the SS Nenana and ran her for 22 years, they should be contacted for help and to find out if there are grants that could be accessed through the railroad.
We should consider having a booth at Pioneer Park on the 4th of July and during Golden Days.
The Chamber has a Golden Days website that we can use to advertise any events.
These were just a few of the ideas that were discussed at the meeting.