It was announced last week that the Centennial Center for the Arts at Pioneer Park would close abruptly due to safety concerns. 5 of 22 columns that hold up the roof and walls are rotting from the inside. The 52 year old Centennial Center is usually a busy place during the holiday season, so the closure will displace several special events, as well as the main tenant of the center: the Fairbanks Arts Association. Repairs are expected to take 3-4 months. Hopefully, the Borough will complete the needed repairs. In 2014, seven columns had to undergo similar repairs.
The SS Nenana
The historic SS Nenana, also located at Pioneer Park, is desperately needing a resurrection. Interior tours were ended a couple of years ago, and I know the Friends of the SS Nenana are working with the Fairbanks North Star Borough to undergo the needed repairs and restoration. I would have to believe time is of the essence with the old sternwheeler.
In the winter of 1687, the men stationed at Fort Niagara were overwhelmed by disease and starvation. Of the 100 men stationed at the garrison, only 12 would survive that brutal winter.
Father Pierre Millet, a Jesuit missionary, was a member of the rescue party that arrived at the fort in the spring of 1688. Father Millet erected an 18 foot wooden cross in honor of the men who perished.
In 1825, President Calvin Coolidge named the 18 square foot section surrounding the cross a national monument. It was the smallest national monument ever named in the U.S.. At the monument dedication, the original wooden cross was replaced by a bronze version, which still stands in its place.
In 1949, monument status was abolished by Congress, and the memorial was transferred to the State of New York, to be a part of Fort Niagara State Park.