Fairbanks, city (1990 pop. 30,843), Fairbanks North Star Borough, E central Alaska, on the Chena River near its confluence with the Tanana; inc. 1903. Fairbanks is the only sizable urban center in the vast Alaskan interior. Government, mining, tourism, oil pipeline services, and lumbering are important to its economy. Gold was discovered there, in an area sparsely inhabited by Athabascan peoples, in 1902; Fairbanks boomed briefly, then grew as the Alaska RR opened the region. Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base are now central to area development. Nearby is the Univ. of Alaska. Dogsled racing draws visitors, and the city has art galleries, theaters, a symphony, museums, and other cultural institutions.