NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES FAIRVIEW INN TALKEETNA, ALASKA
Constructed in 1923 by an enterprising fellow named Ben Neuman, the Fairview Inn was to serve the accommodation needs of travelers as they traveled between Seward and Fairbanks on the newly constructed Alaska Railroad. Since the Seward to Fairbanks journey was a two-day trip in those days, Talkeetna was initially picked as the over-night stop, or half-way point.
President Warren G. Harding visited Alaska in 1923 to drive in the final "Golden Spike" commemorating the completion of the Alaska Railroad. On the journey southward, he stopped in for a meal at our Fairview Inn, took ill and died soon after.
For a number of years the Fairview was partially open and closed for business, depending on the local activity. Gradually though, as gold and silver discoveries were made and fur trapping increased, the Inn remained open on a yearly basis. The Alaska Railroad also opened the State's interior to the more adventurous, and as a consequence Talkeetna began to grow as a frontier community.
The Fairview Inn has had its share of colorful owners. "Babe" Barnes, Don and Jo Bennis, Nola Campbell, and "Beaver" just to name a few. The most famous (infamous) was Frank Moennikes who, over a period of about 15 years, operated the Fairview with at least four different partners we know of. We suspect there may have been many more "informal" arrangements with a few unsuspecting "folks". More importantly though, the Fairview Inn is said to 'belong' to the town with the current owners, whoever they might be, only in "temporary occupancy"!
In the 1980's, Don Bennis owned the Fairview Inn. He didn't want all the "Hippies" hanging around in his bar so he put a sign on the front door that said, "Hippies use side door" which was always kept locked.
Today, the Inn is a favorite meeting place for many of the "old-timers" still living in the Talkeetna area. Whether still with us or not, we are reminded of those interesting days and people by the many original pastel portraits that grace the walls of the Fairview.
During the Spring and Summer months, the town bustles with an international crowd of mountain climbers, seeking the summit of North America's tallest mountain, Mt. McKinley. Climbers are usually anxious to share their experience with any willing listener, usually over a cold drink at the bar. Summer also brings bountiful salmon runs which attract fishermen form all over the state.
The Fairview Inn also has hosted or played a large part in a number of activities including the annual Talkeetna Moose Drop Festival (July), Bachelors Society Ball (December), Carhart Weekend (December), dart tournaments and as assortment of entertaining events throughout the year.
There are some unique customs established at the Fairview which you should be familiar with when you visit. Many of these have existed for years and are carried forward out of habit or in the interest of preserving a little of the nostalgia so characteristic of Talkeetna.
- All firearms must be checked with the bartender before one orders anything to drink. (Due to new state laws, firearms are no longer allowed on premise)
- Dogs must be left outside. Dog teams should be tied up away from the Inn.
- The bartender is the only one allowed to 'stoke' the wood burning stove.
- Many of the locals will buy the bar a round of drinks. Consider a thank you and feel free if you want to do the same at some point, but it is not required.
- People who have a room rented also have a key to the side door, should you stay out past closing time: but please, if you come in late or early, depending on how you look at it, please re-lock the door after entering.
The Fairview has only six rooms with public bathrooms so reservation are suggested April through September and on all weekends.
Summer months are most enjoyable in the Beer Garden, relaxing in the warm Alaskan sun.
Various local activities include Riverboat trips, Rafting trips, Dog sled rides, Snow machine and Aerial sightseeing excursions.
The Fairview proudly displays a variety of Old Alaska material and original paintings by some of Alaska's noted artists.
WELCOME AND HAVE AN ENJOYABLE STAY IN OUR FINE COMMUNITY OF TALKEETNA