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Ritratto fotografico di Felice Pedroni

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Un immagine della città di Fairbanks intorno agli anni '20

Felice Pedroni

Born in Trignano di Fanano in 1858, Felice Pedroni lost his father when he was still very young. Destitute of means but enterprising and brave, when he was 23 he decided to leave for the United States, where he carried on various trades.
After having worked for a while in Illinois and Indiana, Felix Pedro (this is how he changed his name after arriving in the US) decided to join the great mass of adventurers who, challenging the prohibitive climatic conditions, were leaving for Alaska, in search of gold.
After a first period of severe struggle against hunger, cold and solitude, the 22nd of July 1901 Felix found gold in an area 400 km north of the Gulf of Alaska. Pedroni managed to obtain a State quarrying concession and in a few months he became the president of the new mining district: Fairbanks (which is still active).
In a few years the agglomerate of huts became first a village and then a town: today Fairbanks is the second city of Alaska (after Anchorage).
Felice Pedroni, though, didn't meet the same lucky fate as his city: after the wedding with Mary Doran, a British woman of doubtful morality and scarce scruples, in 1910, at the age of 52, he lost the concession of the mine, and found himself even poorer than he was when he first got in Alaska.
According to the official sources, he died of a heart-stroke shortly after.
The real causes of his death, though, are still a true mystery: when the body was recovered and was taken back to Italy, 70 years after the death, there were still visible signs of a stab on the neck and it was found out that Pedroni had been embalmed and buried in frack (things that make us think that his financial situation couldn't have been so precarious at the time of the death).
The silence of Pedroni's wife, Mary Doran, who lived for a long time after the death of her husband, about how the event actually took place surely didn't allow the punishing of what was probably a murder, but contributed to the fame and legend of Felice Pedroni.

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