Felix Pedro

Felix Pedro discovered gold on July 22, 1902, near the site of this memorial on the Steese Highway in Fox. His discovery led to the founding of Fairbanks. Eric Engman/News-Miner

Pioneers of Alaska and the public will gather at 3 p.m. Sunday at Pedro Monument Wayside at 16-mile Steese Highway to perform the 74th annual rededication ceremonies to honor Felix Pedro and his great discovery of gold in July 1902.

The ceremonies will take place on Felix Pedro’s Discovery Claim which today is owned by Fairbanks Men’s Igloo No. 4 of the Pioneers of Alaska. The rededication is free to attend and open to the public.

The Pioneers of Alaska have conducted the event that honors the mining history of Fairbanks since 1947. Over the years there have been memorable speakers, costumes and visiting dignitaries. A few years ago in 2014, Felix Pedro’s great-nephew joined the Pioneers as an honored guest during a visit here from his native Italy.

This year’s ceremonies will be presided over by Mike Gibson and Pam Lambert, current presidents of the Fairbanks Igloos of the Pioneers of Alaska. Local historian Nick Nugent will share the history of prospectors who were working in the Tanana Valley prior to Felix Pedro’s discovery that occurred in July 1902.

Following Nugent’s speech, PGibson and Lambert will perform the ceremonial laying of the wreath at the monument to pay homage to Pedro and his discovery that created the Fairbanks Mining District. Afterward, traditional refreshments of coffee and donuts will be served.

The Pioneers of Alaska formed in 1907 in Nome and have 32 active Igloos located in 16 Alaska communities, with a total membership of about 3,800 active members. 

For more information, contact Joan Skilbred at skilbred@gci.net.