Ester, sometimes known as "The Republic of Ester," is a collection
of dirt streets, rambling log homes and "tailing piles" from a time when dredges
were busy removing gold. It is a bedroom community for Fairbanks, but a phenomenon in its
own right. While Ester is full of individuals, professors and artists
predominate and many are jealous of their identity; disliking being lumped in with
In addition, its boundaries are hazy - there are only a few families living
in the "core," others in the subdivision above, and some who live on the
neighboring Old Nenana Highway. Gold Hill Liquor and Grocery is often considered part of
Ester, by virtue of being a place where many from Ester shop.
In the center of the community is a pub called the Golden Eagle Saloon, a
community gathering spot.
Ester has always been a mining town, but there is spirited debate about
allowing more full-time mining, as many decry the noise, dust, and traffic that more
active mining would bring. An attempt some years ago to re-zone 21,000 acres of Ester Dome
land from general use to mineral use failed, a testament to Ester residents who fought
strenuously to defeat a rezone that would have discouraged land uses incompatible with
Ester Farmers Market
Ester now has a farmer's market. The Ester Community
Market will be
holding the season's grand opening on Thursday, June 4 from 4 to 8 pm. The
Ester Community Association sponsors this weekly open-air market from 4 to 8
pm on Thursdays, June through August, at the Ester Community Park. Ester
artists, craftspeople, farmers, and other vendors will offer their wares to
the public. They encourage busking by local musicians, and owners of classic
cars are invited to bring them out for display.
Here are a few of the people and places you might want to
visit in Ester: (Note to locals - if you belong on this page and are not mentioned, please
drop us an e-mail to
Craig Buchanan, sculptor who
creates from everyday "found" objects. He used to run the
Ester Stash, which moved and is now Pioneer Espresso, mentioned
later on this page.
Ester Gold Camp & Malemute Saloon.
first rate tourist attraction that even the locals enjoy. You should not leave Fairbanks
without hearing at least one reading of Robert Service! Read more about it by following
the link above. UPDATE: WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THEY ARE CLOSED.
Ester Republic Newspaper: This is
a monthly newspaper begun in January 1999. The office is located in
Studio #2 at the Annex, near Ester at 2922 Parks Highway. As it says on
their webpage, "The Ester Republic
is an irreverent periodical published monthly in the Ester
Commonwealth and written by members of the local populace. In no way
should this publication be mistaken for a regular newspaper."
Ester Designworks is owned by Deirdre Alida Helfferich &
Hans Mölders. Deirdre does publication design and production ( books,
newsletters, brochures, logos, postcards, advertisements, catalogs,
posters. & business cards). Her husband, Hans, does woodworking and
interior design (lamps, staircases, doors, cabinetry, room
dividers, outhouses, ballustrades, tenon and mortise
construction, & rough carpentry). The shop is located in Ester.
Lester's Studio, artist of landscapes, floral stationery, oil & pastel
paintings, and portraits, who can be found most Saturdays and
Wednesdays at the
Market. The oil painting on the right is hers (photo of it by
Julie Coghill). To see more of Jean's work, visit her web
site by following the link above.
Judie Gumm Designs (jewelry
"sculptured interpretations of northern images" sold worldwide).
Some of her designs are featured in the
Georgeson Botanical Garden
Judie Gumm is a noted jewelry designer from Ester, Alaska where
she has been designing and manufacturing jewelry since 1970. She
is recognized for her Alaskan nature designs, combining sterling
silver and semiprecious stones in designs which feature the birds,
fruits, berries and animals of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Judie has her own
Old Ridge Wood Shop with Skip Nodler is a solar
powered wood shop producing tiny intricate bowls with lids to dog sleds and guitars. Look
for him at the Farmers' Market.
The John Trigg Ester Library was named
after John Trigg in part due to his love of books, and in part because
of his creation of a book exchange in the Golden Eagle Saloon next door.
The library itself was once (in 1999) the "Ester Republic Reading Room".
Membership is only $5 per
year (though they gladly accept donations). To become a member,
patrons only need to fill out a 3 x 5 index card with their name,
address, e-mail, and phone number, and place it in the brown jar on
the gray shelf with the book return box, by the door! There website is
There is even a Friends of the Ester Library site, found at
John Trigg Ester Library Fundraiser: the 7th
annual Library Lallapalooza & Book Bash!
The John Trigg Ester Library is having its 7th annual Librarypalooza
fundraiser on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at the Annex gallery at 2922
Parks Highway, near Water Wagon, from 2 to 5 p.m. The public is invited
to come to this celebration of books, cuisine, and culture: Live music,
a fashion show, and a lasagne feed will entertain guests while silent
and outcry auctions will help raise money for a new building. Enjoy the
performances of local musicians Nate Montgomery, George Gianakopoulos,
Mel Birch, and Matt Johnson, who will be playing all afternoon.
Silent auctions from 2 pm to 4:30 will feature items from local
businesses, publishers, booksellers, and artists; the event starts out
with hors d’oeuvres and beverages from 2 to 3 pm, followed by a lasagne
feed and recycled t-shirt fashion show at 3 o’clock. Models will display
items of apparel made from reworked John Trigg Ester Library t-shirts
which will be available for sale or auction. An outcry and dessert
auction begins after the lasagne feed, at 4 pm. Door prizes will be
awarded from 4:30 to 5 pm (must be present to win).
The Ester library is a nonprofit organization that was founded in
1999. The primary aim of the Book Bash is to raise funds and awareness
for the John Trigg Ester Library, which is designing a new, green
library building, to be constructed at 474 Village Road in Ester.
Library memberships and information on the design and construction of
the library will be available at the fundraiser. For details on auction
items, the fashion show, or other aspects of the lallapalooza or the
library, please go to
or for more information, please call 451-0636 or e-mail email@example.com.
John Trigg Ester Library Lallapalooza and Book Bash 2011
Location: the Annex art gallery, 2922 Parks Highway, Fairbanks AK 99709,
Time: 2-5 p.m. Sunday, February 27, 2011. Sponsoring organization: John
Trigg Ester Library, Inc.
The Alaska Village Arts Gift Store is right across from the
Pentecostal Church on the Parks Highway. It is owned by Rod & Ivet
Hall. Ivet is an accomplished whale bone carver, sculptor. They
have a portfolio of quite a few of her designs. The store represents
50 to 100 Alaskan Artists throughout the summer and is constantly
expanding. The store is open from May to September , 5 to 7 days a
week. The couple live in the Goldstream Valley, about 9 miles from the
store. The store's website can be found
Ester Community Association According to their
(linked from the one above), "The Ester Community Association was founded in 1941 to
enhance and simplify the lives of Ester-area residents, and to help
them work together for common goals. It has been a forum for
cooperation and debate within our community, served as a social
organization and the mechanism through which projects are undertaken
to enhance the community. It maintains an area water well, a local
meeting venue, and has built, maintained, and improved the Ester
Community Park. The ECA supports and often works in cooperation with
other groups...While the ECA was incorporated in 1981, it remains a
loose-knit social organization, taking on political and fiscal aspects
of the community as necessary. "
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