The History of Evansville

Evansville is located about 180 air miles and 250 road miles northwest of Fairbanks, adjacent to Bettles. It lies at approximately 66 55' N Latitude, 151 30' W Longitude (Sec. 08, T024N, R018W, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the Fairbanks Recording District. The area encompasses 45 sq. miles of land and 1 sq. miles of water.

Several Native groups have lived in the area, including Koyukon Athabascans and Kobuk, Selawik, and Nunamiut Eskimos from the north and northwest. The Koyukon lived in several camps throughout the year, moving as the seasons changed, following the wild game and fish. Evansville was named for Wilford Evans, Sr., who owned a trading post and river barge business in Allakaket. Evans opened a sawmill at the present site of Evansville and built the Bettles Lodge and General Store. In 1948, the FAA constructed an airfield and communications installation at Bettles Field, adjacent to Evansville. The U.S. Navy used these facilities as a support base for exploring National Petroleum Reserve 4. Work opportunities at Bettles Field attracted both Natives and whites to the new airfield. A post office was established at the Bettles Lodge in 1950. A school was constructed in 1956. A health clinic opened in 1980.


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History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development