Born in Norway in 1870, Andrew J. Nerland immigrated to the U. S. In 1889 he moved from Minneapolis, Minn., to Seattle, Wash., where he attended business school and night school, and also learned the painting and wallpapering trades.
In 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, Andrew Nerland crossed the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson where, instead of looking for gold, he established a paint and wallpaper-contracting firm with a man named Louis Anderson. Within the first year, he married Miss Annie Paulson from Seattle, and their son, Arthur Leslie, was born in 1902 in Dawson.
In 1904, the company moved to Fairbanks, where its operations became an integral part of life in the Interior Alaska. He established branches in Nenana, Iditarod, and Anchorage, which gradually shifted to the furniture business.
He was buried alive in a slide at Cleary Creek gold mine and rescued after nine hours.
Andrew became a political and business leader serving in numerous positions including as a member of the city council, mayor, member of the territorial legislature, and served on the board of trustees of the Alaska Agricultural College and School Mines from 1929-1935 and on the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1935-1956.
In 1917 Nerland assisted Judge James Wickersham in laying the cornerstone for the college and, as a representative to the Alaska Territorial Legislature, introduced legislation for the creation of the college in Fairbanks.
In 1949, when the University of Alaska ran short of funds, Nerland was one of many people who made a $10,000 personal loan to help keep the doors open. He was president of the board at the time. He became a member of the board in 1929.
He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Alaska in 1952. Nerland died in 1956 of a heart attack at his store in Fairbanks. His son Arthur Leslie Nerland was appointed to finish his father’s term on the board.
UA Site named after Andrew Nerland
Andrew Nerland is also mentioned in these articles
UA Regent: Grace Berg Schaible
Notable People: Carl "Ben" Eielson
Cole, Terrence. The Cornerstone on College Hill. University of Alaska Press