Four 6" x 8" photograph albums containing a total of 556 photographs documenting the activities of early Fairbanks residents Fred and Essie Noyes and their social circle. A small number (ca. 40) of the images are professional photographs or real photo postcards, the rest are personal snapshots in a range of sizes, with 3" x 5" being the most common size. Many are captioned, all are glued into the albums and in very good condition.
Fred G. Noyes (1867-1928) established a sawmill in Dawson, Yukon Territory in 1897 and then moved his operation to Fairbanks, where he established the Tanana Mill & Lumber Company in 1903. He became one of the city's wealthiest residents and constructed one of its grandest homes, which still stands today. He owned the Fairbanks Times and served (controversially) as Receiver for the Washington-Alaska Bank after it went bankrupt in 1911.
The Noyes' albums reflect their well-heeled lifestyle--showing their stylish and expensive clothes and their ability to travel and engage in leisure activities with friends. Many of their friends are identified, among them prominent attorney (and later federal judge) Edward Coke Hill and Captain Charles W. Adams, a successful Klondike miner and riverboat owner who played a critical role in the founding of Fairbanks. But the albums also reflect the couple's desire to document their growing frontier community, capturing a range of interesting scenes both in Fairbanks proper and in smaller settlements in the Alaskan interior, including Chena, Nenana, Healy, Ruby, and Holy Cross. Fairbanks images include the wharf area, street scenes, the Tanana Mill and Lumber Co., St. Matthew's Hospital, the Masonic Temple, Shriners Auditorium, the courthouse with the roof blown off, the aftermath of the fire of 1906, ice skating, parades, groups of Fairbanks High School teachers and students, and more. Also of interest are shots of miners doing a gold clean-up at Goldstream, native Alaskans in Chena, the Sheldon Auto Stage, several different steamboats, dogsled teams, a very early auto race, and planes at the Fairbanks airfield. A series of images show the town of Nanana decked out for a visit from Governor Scott Cordelle Bone, who appears in one photo in front of an elaborate archway with signage declaring the town to be "the future commercial hub of interior Alaska."
Around 1911, the Noyes' purchased a sternwheel river steamer called "Idler," which they used each summer to take their friends for multi-day hunting, fishing, and sightseeing excursions on the Yukon River and its tributaries. One of the albums in this collection is dedicated to their travels in 1921, when they ventured to "McKinley Country" via the Kantishna River. In addition to wildlife, landscape, and hunting scenes, this album shows a number of hunters' and trappers' cabins and camps, road houses, and a railroad construction camp near Nanana Canyon. In all, a valuable collection of images documenting commercial and recreational activities, landscape, and community in the Alaskan interior of the early twentieth century.