Location: Mile 274.5; 8 miles north of Delta Junction on Richardson Highway 2. Population: 600
One of the greatest aspects of coming to this area of Alaska is learning about its tremendous history. At Big Delta State Historical Park visitors can take a walk back into time. This site was an important crossroad for travelers, traders and the military during the early days of the 20th century.
Rika's Roadhouse is the centerpiece of the park. The house served travelers on the historic Valdez to Fairbanks Trail from 1909 to 1947. The Trail was being improved at this time and by 1913 the roadhouse was a center of activity for gold prospectors, local hunters, traders and freighters.
The log structure was built by John Hajdukovich in 1909. In 1917 John hired a Swedish immigrant named Rika Wallen to operate the roadhouse, which prospered under her management. In 1923 she bought it for $10.00 and other consideration, presumably in lieu of wages. The roadhouse was named Rika's following local custom. Rika operated the roadhouse through the 1940s although in later years guests were by invitation only.
At that time, the roadhouse had eleven bedrooms, a living room and a large kitchen/dining area. In 1926 she added the east wing and used it for private living quarters, a small liquor store, fur storage and the Big Delta Post Office, which she operated until 1947. Today, you can see one bedroom and the kitchen, furnished in the style of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the living room with its partially restored kerosene crate floor. These rooms have been furnished by the Delta Historical Society. Rika liked to buy bargain rolls of wallpaper and cover different walls of the same room in a variety of patterns. Some of the original wallpapers can be seen in the small two-seater outhouse west of the roadhouse.
The Delta Historical Society also maintains a museum at the Big Delta State Historical Park. The park concessionaire gives tours of the grounds and buildings and operates a gift store at the Packhouse Pavilion where meals are sold.
Big Delta State Historical Park is a ten-acre park with 23 RV camping sites in the parking lot development. Facilities include picnic area, toilets, water and a dump station.