Seven of the cars at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
They include four (an Argonne, an Argo Limousine, a Columbia Mark XIX, and a Compound) that are the last intact version of their model. Three other automobiles—the Sheldon, Heine-Velox Victoria, and Hay—are the only models ever made. They are just a few of the more than 100 antique cars built between 85 and 123 years ago, spanning the industry’s evolution from infancy to just before World War II. The collection includes roadsters and touring cars, racers and hot-rods. Together they represent some of the most historically significant, rare, and technologically advanced cars of their time.
While you may expect this museum to be found in Detroit or Montgomery, cities with substantial automotive histories, it’s not. It’s in Fairbanks, Alaska, a city with no automobile industry, past or present. At the time most of these vehicles came into being, Fairbanks wasn’t even reachable by car.
Mannequins decked out in vintage fashion share exhibit space with the old but immaculately maintained motorcars; the museum owns thousands of articles of clothing and accessories, but displays only a small portion at any given time. The collection also includes antique bicycles and artifacts associated with the arrival of cars in the 49th state. Among them: A black and white photograph of one of the first cars in Alaska, fittingly stuck in the snow.
Know Before You Go
The Fountainhead is open year round from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. It’s located at 212 Wedgewood Dr. It can be tricky to find: Circle behind the Wedgewood Resort to get to the front door. Admission is $15 for those ages 13 and up, $9 for ages six to 12, and free for kids five and under. Admission includes a self-guided audio tour.