in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area
- Area Type
- Place of Interest
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Big Delta is located at the junction of the Delta and Tanana Rivers, 73 miles southeast of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway.
- This area of Interior Alaska experiences seasonal extremes. The average low temperature in January is -11 °F. The average high temperature during July is 69 °F. Temperature extremes, ranging from a low of -63 to a high of 92 °F, have been recorded. The average annual liquid equivalent precipitation is 11 inches, and the average annual snowfall is 37 inches.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Oral history and a substantial inventory of Native place names suggest that Tanana Athabascans occupied the site throughout most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Big Delta Natives began leaving their ancestral homeland shortly after the peak of the Alaska gold rush between 1898 and 1903. In 1899 the U.S. Army sent parties to investigate the Susitna, Matanuska, and Copper River Valleys to find the best route for a trail north from Valdez, through the Copper River Valley. By 1901 the army had completed the Trans-Alaska Military Road, which extended from Valdez to Eagle City. In 1902 gold was discovered in the Tanana Valley, and, shortly after, a spur trail was created from Gulkana on the Valdez-Eagle route to the new mining camp in Fairbanks. This trail became the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail. During 1903, Lt. Billy Mitchell of the U.S. Army Signal Corps supervised the construction of a telegraph line from Eagle to the mouth of the Goodpaster River. The Goodpaster telegraph station was part of the Washington/Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System (WAMCATS). During the winter of 1904-05, the Goodpaster Station was destroyed by fire and relocated to Big Delta. In April 1904, a prospector named Ben Bennett staked out 80 acres and built a trading post at Big Delta on the left bank of the Tanana River. In April 1905, Bennett sold his trading post to Daniel G. McCarty. Although Bennett owned the trading post and surrounding acreage, he was grubstaked for all of the merchandise by his partner, E.T. Barnette, the wealthy founder of the City of Fairbanks. Thus, when Bennett decided to sell out to McCarty, all of the goods at the trading post still belonged to Barnette. However, in the early 1900s, the trading post and roadhouse built by Bennett became commonly known as McCarty's or McCarty Station. Another prospector named Alonzo Maxey, along with a friend, set up Bradley's Roadhouse in the hope of diverting travelers from McCarty's.
- Many residents are members of 'Whitestone Farms' (Church of the Living Word, Inc.), who collectively pool individual assets and income for the good of the community. A school, YMCA, and visitor center are among the available facilities.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- An airstrip is available nearby at Delta Junction for chartered or private aircraft.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District