Wickersham's House
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Judge Wickersham's House

The Judge Wickersham House at Alaskaland is an historical remnant of the original. 

On April 15, 1904, Wickersham bought the lot at the northeast corner of First and Noble Streets for $175. He carried newly cut lumber for his new house on his back from the sawmill to his lot, a few blocks away.

The new house consisted of a "sitting room",  14 x 16 feet with a gable roof, and an attached shed-roofed kitchen, 12 x 14 feet. To the east of the kitchen was a covered porch and wood shed which extended back to the northeast corner of the lot, leading to the "closet."

This first part of the house was completed by the middle of June and the walls were then papered and the floors covered with Japanese matting. Until they left Fairbanks at the end of August, the Judge and his wife Debbie slept in a tent pitched at the front door of the house, for Debbie's health.

Judge Wickersham returned to Fairbanks in the middle of March, 1905, bringing a new cylinder phonograph (carefully packed in a large crate) back to Fairbanks, over the trail by dogsled from Valdez. He put in a new carpet, bought a sideboard, and had electric lights installed. Debbie arrived in the beginning of June and they moved into their house. Flower and vegetable gardens were planted that summer.

At the beginning of September, Wickersham again rented the house out and left for Seattle. At the end of the year, he went to Washington D.C. for reconfirmation hearings, and did not return to Fairbanks until July 23, 1906, after spending nearly a month to travel from Washington, D.C. to Fairbanks.

Addition
Shortly after Debbie and the Judge returned, work began on the addition of two new rooms to the house. The new rooms are the present parlor and small northwest bedroom; the original sitting room becoming the dining room. The wood shed was probably closed in and a bedroom completed in a shed-roofed addition on the north side of the house.

Through the end of August, 1906, the Judge and Debbie worked on the new part of the house and installed a heating plant, for they planned to spend the winter in their house for the first time. All was completed by October.

Wickersham sold the house for $1,500 in 1922.

Moved to Alaskaland
At the time the house was moved to Alaskaland in 1968, the original kitchen, woodshed, closet, porch and a north addition were believed to be too deteriorated to move. The kitchen was recreated in 1986. The original sitting room of 1904, now the dining room, and the parlor and northwest bedroom or study of 1906 have been restored.

The house has been furnished to suggest how it might have looked when occupied by the Wickershams between 1906 and 1910.

The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places  and is located now at Alaskaland, where it serves as "A Small Museum, Devoted to the life and times of Judge Wickersham and the authentic recreation of the early days in Fairbanks."

The Wickersham House is a project of
The Tanana-Yukon Historical SocietyCourthouse of Judge Wickersham

Judge Wickersham is known for more than his house, though. It was through his efforts that the first Courthouse was built in downtown Fairbanks.

 

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