The history of the Bunnell House

MORE PHOTOS In 1958, the Bunnell House was moved to its present location on Chatanika Drive. UAF photo by Todd Paris.

In 1921, the territorial Legislature approved funds to complete the Main Building on campus and to build a house for the college president. The trustees appointed Charles Bunnell president in August 1921, the school opened for instruction in September 1922 and a six-room frame cottage was completed for the president’s residence that fall. It had a concrete basement and was located halfway down the hill, approximately where the Lola Tilly Commons sits today.

In 1931, a fire gutted the interior of the cottage, but it was immediately rebuilt. The cause of the fire was never determined, however, arson was suspected. In 1949, Bunnell became president emeritus but continued to occupy the president’s house until his death in 1956.

In 1958, the building was moved to its present location on Chatanika Drive. From 1956 until the 1970s the structure was used for faculty housing. In the 1970s, Tanana Valley Community College, now the Tanana Valley Campus, housed its Early Childhood Development Laboratory in the building.

In the early 1980s, the housing office contracted with a child-care service to use the building to care for students’ children. In fall 1991, the Early Childhood Development program returned, under the new name of the Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School. It currently uses the structure.

Bunnell House is the last building on campus still in use which was constructed under Bunnell’s direction. No other presidents or chancellors ever lived in the building.


"The Farthest North College President," by William R. Cashen; Terrence Cole, assistant professor of history; UAF, Eric Jozwiak, Assoc. Director for Residence Life, UAF; UAF Directory 2001-02; UAF Master Plan 1991, UAF 2001 Master Plan-Campus Development

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