The character of Delta Junction has changed dramatically over the years. The community originally centered at the junction of the Tanana and Delta rivers and was called Big Delta. Rika’s Roadhouse was an important part of community life in the early part of the twentieth century. Rika’s Roadhouse. Learn more of this fascinating story by visiting the Roadhouse, refresh yourself at the Restaurant and enjoy the gift shop. Free admission to the park! Dump station available.
World War II changed the sleepy nature of the community.
The military constructed Allen Army Airfield just south of what is now Delta Junction. Construction of the Alaska Highway started south and east from here, and brought new opportunities
Fort Greely was the economic mainstay of the community for most of the second half of the 20th century. A nationwide effort to close or realign US military bases took its toll on Fort Greely. Today, the base continues Cold Regions Test Center programs, but at much lower staffing levels of military and civilian workers. The history of Fort Greely began in 1942. You can learn more about Fort Greely here.
Agriculture was an early and obvious possibility in this broad valley. A large project underwritten by the State of Alaska in the 1980’s brought hundreds of thousands of acres under cultivation. Today, the complexion of the agricultural area has changed, but energetic farmers continue to grow grains and vegetables and raise dairy herds and even game animals.
Gold mining activities are accelerating in the area. Pogo Mine is an underground gold mine located 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction, Alaska. The mine feeds gold ore to the mill at a rate of approximately 2,500 tons per day and the property produces between 350,000 and 380,000 ounces of gold annually. The currently expected mine life projects operations through 2019, but significant exploration work is underway with the hope of extending the mine life. Current reserves are in excess of 2.7 million ounces of gold.
The mine is operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC, a Joint Venture between Sumitomo Metal Mining Company and Sumitomo Corporation with 85% and 15% ownership shares respectively. Final Permits and Authorizations were issued for the Pogo Mine in December 2003. Mine construction was completed in 2006 and commercial production was achieved in April 2007. The one millionth ounce was produced in October 2009. Pogo Mine maintains a workforce of more than 330 direct employees and an additional 150 contractors.
On July 31, 2012 the two-millionth ounce of gold was poured at the Sumitomo Pogo Mine.