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Browse Locations Central




Current Population: 92 (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)

Incorporation Type: Unincorporated

Located In: Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area

Taxes: No taxing authority



Location and Climate

Central is located on the Steese Highway about 125 miles northeast of Fairbanks and 28 miles southwest of Circle. Circle Hot Springs is located nearby. The community lies at approximately 65.572500° North Latitude and -144.803060° West Longitude.  (Sec. 27, T009N, R014E, Fairbanks Meridian.)   Central is located in the Fairbanks Recording District.

Central has a continental subarctic climate, characterized by seasonal extremes of temperature. Winters are long and harsh, and summers warm and short. The average high temperature during July ranges from 65 to 72 °F. The average low temperature during January is well below zero. Extended periods of -50 to -60 °F are common. Extreme temperatures have been measured, ranging from a low of -71 to a high of 97 °F. Annual precipitation averages 6.5 inches, and annual snowfall averages 43.4 inches.


History, Culture and Demographics

After the discovery of gold in the Circle Mining District in the 1890s, a centrally-located roadhouse was needed between Circle, a supply point on the Yukon, and the mining operations at Mammoth, Mastodon, Preacher, and Birch Creeks. Central House, originally built around 1894, was located at the supply trail's crossing of Crooked Creek. It became the center of a small community of miners who settled there and provided food and shelter to travelers and support services to nearby miners. In 1906, the Alaska Road Commission began construction of a wagon road to replace the primitive pack trail from Circle to Birch Creek mining operations. By 1908, construction had reached Central. The original roadhouse burned to the ground and was rebuilt in the mid-1920s. A post office was established in 1925. In 1927, the road link to Fairbanks was completed. The road was named the Steese Highway in honor of General James Steese, former president of the road commission. Mining continued until the beginning of World War II. After the war, a few miners returned to Central, but mining declined through the 1950s and 60s. Activity increased again in the mid-1970s with the rise in gold prices. In 1978, the Circle Mining District was the most active in Alaska, with 65 gold mining operations employing over 200 people.

Central provides services to area residents, including Circle Hot Springs.

According to Census 2010, there were 172 housing units in the community and 53 were occupied. Its population was 4.2 percent American Indian or Alaska Native; 92.7 percent white; 3.1 percent of the local residents had multi-racial backgrounds. Additionally, 1 percent of the population was of Hispanic decent.


Facilities, Utilities, Schools and Health Care

Approximately 25% of homes here are occupied year-round. These typically have individual wells, septic systems, and complete plumbing. The majority of summer-use homes haul water from local creeks or watering points at the local hotels and use outhouses. The landfill is unpermitted and is located on DNR land at mile 124.6 Steese Hwy. Electricity is provided by Central Electric Inc. There are schools located in the community, Local hospitals or health clinics include Fairbanks hospitals.  Emergency Services include highway and air access. Emergency service is provided by 911 Telephone Service and volunteers.  Auxiliary health care is provided by Central Rescue Squad (907-520-5228/520-5212).



Central has a cash economy based on providing seasonal support for mining operations in the area. The Circle District Museum attracts seasonal visitors, although Circle Hot Springs closed in October 2002. A number of individuals live in the area only seasonally. Subsistence and recreational activities provide food sources for the year-round residents. In 2010, one resident held a commercial fishing permit.

The 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) estimated 401 residents as employed. The public sector employed 52.5%1 of all workers. The local unemployment rate was 20.0%1. The percentage of workers not in labor force was 56.9%1. The ACS surveys established that average median household income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $20,500 (MOE +/-$14,120)1. The per capita income (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $17,531 (MOE +/-$4,749)1. About 17.4%1 of all residents had incomes below the poverty level. 




The community is on the Steese Highway, by which residents can reach Fairbanks. Year-round maintenance by the Department of Transportation enabled goods to be delivered on a regular schedule by truck. A state-owned 2,782' long by 60' wide gravel airstrip is available. Boats are used for recreation and fishing. Snowmachines and dog sleds are also used.

Organizations with Local Offices

Community Non Profit - Circle District Historical Society
P.O. Box 30189
Central, AK 99730
Phone 907-520-1893

Electric Utility - Gold Country Energy
P.O. Box 30114
Central, AK 99730-0114
Phone 907-520-5681


Regional Organizations

School District - Yukon Flats School District
P.O. Box 350
Ft. Yukon, AK 99740-0350
Phone 907-662-2515
Fax 907-662-3094

Regional Native Corporation - Doyon, Limited
1 Doyon Place, Suite 300
Fairbanks, AK 99701-2941
Phone 907-459-2000
Fax 907-459-2060

Regional Native Health Corporation - Tanana Chiefs Conference
122 First Ave, Suite 600
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone 907-452-8251
Fax 907-459-3851


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