Courtesy of Pioneer Museum
Felix Pedro monument located along the Steese Highway near the site of his discovery claim.
Felix Pedro (who's birth name was Felice Pedroni) was born on April 16, 1858 in Fanano, Italy. Little is known about Felix's early life, but by the early 1890s, he was pursuing gold in the Klondike and interior of Alaska.
Many of the men in the prospecting company that Felix partnered with were veterans of the Western gold rushes including the California Gold Rush. Since most of them were used to hispanic names, Felice Pedroni soon became Felix Pedro, a name that stuck.
After nearly a decade of searching for gold, Felix Pedro made his discovery on July 22, 1902 on a creek his friends named after him near the city he helped found, Fairbanks, Alaska. What speaks to his character is the fact that he did not stake his claim which he knew would attract other prospectors once recorded. Instead, he sought out his partners and friends, many of which had already given up for the season, to join him in staking claims together.
"There be gold in them there hills!" has been attributed to
Felix Pedro commenting on his discovery of gold to the
assay office and quickly transferred to newspapers around
Alaska, the Klondike and the western United States.
Shortly after staking his claim, the Fairbanks gold rush
began bringing in thousands of prospectors and
entrepreneurs who all hoped to strike it rich.
Sadly, not long after his discovery, his health began to
decline and he died in Fairbanks of a heart attack 8 years
to the day of his discovery on July 22, 1910.
Some, including his partner, believed that Felix had been
murdered by poison.
His body was taken to San Francisco in hopes of having an
autopsy done to prove he had been poisoned. He was buried
there after it was determined he had died from heart failure.
In 1972, his body was exhumed and a second autopsy was
done and it was determined that he had in fact been poisoned.
The Italian ambassador took his body back to Felix's hometown
in Italy where he was laid to rest once again.
Today, the city of Fairbanks holds an annual 5 day festival called "Golden Days" in the third week of July to celebrate Felix Pedro and the discovery of gold. There is a giant parade, outdoor events, and even a Felix Pedro look alike contest!
Picture of Felix Pedro and his gold discovery located along the monument trail near his discovery claim.