Alaska History Footnotes: Puzzle This Out
What do the following communities have in common?
- Aix-les-Bains, France
- Erdenet, Mongolia
- Fanano, Italy
- Mo i Rana, Norway
- Monbetsu, Japan (dormant)
- Tainan City, Taiwan
- Pune, India
- Yakutsk, Russia
- Richland, Washington
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
Apparently, they are all sister cities of Fairbanks, Alaska. Who knew?
Some are understandable. Fanano, Italy, is the home of Felix Pedro (a/k/a Felici Pedroni), who discovered gold in the hills just north of present-day Fairbanks and was largely responsible for Fairbanks being founded.
Yakutsk and Fairbanks shared a connection during the World War II Lend-Lease program, when thousands of American-made aircraft were ferried to the Soviet Union, to be used by the beleaguered Russians. Although Stalin wouldn’t allow Americans to fly the aircraft into the Soviet Union.
But Erdenet, Mongolia? Richland? And didn’t Trondheim, not Mo i Rana, Norway, used to be the sister city? And why Aix-les-Bains, France?
Can one of WC’s readers offer an explanation?