Big Delta is at the confluence of the Delta River and the Tanana
River and gets it name from the huge river delta formed by the confluence.
Beginning in 1899, the United States Army built a pack trail from
Valdez, on the south coast of Alaska, to Eagle, northeast of Big
Delta, a distance of about (409 miles). The trail crossed the Tanana
River near the confluence of the Delta and Tanana Rivers.
Gold was discovered in 1902 in Fairbanks, about 150 km (90 miles)
north of the crossing of the Tanana River. Roadhouses were built
along the pack trail that connected the south coast of Alaska with
Fairbanks. One such roadhouse was Bates Landing, which was built
at the confluence of the Delta and Tanana Rivers, about 12 km (8
miles) north of the current Delta Junction, in the area known now
as Big Delta. The U. S. government collected a toll on the south
side of the Tanana River from all passengers crossing north. In
1904 work began on the Richardson Highway, which mostly followed
the route of the pack trail.
In 1906, John Hajdukovich bought the roadhouse and enlarged it.
In addition to running the lodge there, he took hunting parties
into the nearby Granite Mountains and traded with the Athabaskans
in the surrounding area. An 18-year-old Swedish girl named Rika
Wallen came to the roadhouse to work for John. After several years,
John deeded the roadhouse to Rika in lieu of wages.