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YAKUTAT BOROUGH, ALASKA

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SURFING CAPITAL OF ALASKA (REALLY!)

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HISTORY
The original settlers in the Yakutat area are believed to have been Eyak-speaking people from the Copper River area. Tlingits migrated into the area and assimilated the Eyaks before the arrival of Europeans in Alaska. Yakutat was only one of a number of Tlingit and mixed Tlingit-Eyak settlements in the region, although all the others have been depopulated or abandoned.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, English, French, Spanish and Russian explorers came to the region. The Russian-American Company built a fort in Yakutat in 1805 to facilitate trade in sea otter pelts. When the Russians cut off access to the fisheries nearby, a Tlingit war party attacked and destroyed the fort.

By 1886, after the Alaska Purchase by the United States, the black sand beaches in the area were being mined for gold. In 1889 the Swedish Free Mission Church opened a school and sawmill in the area. A cannery, another sawmill, a store and a railroad were constructed from 1903 by the Stimson Lumber Company. Many people moved to the current site of Yakutat to be closer to the Stimpson cannery, which operated through 1970. During World War II, the USAAF stationed a large aviation garrison near Yakutat and built a paved runway. The troops were withdrawn after the war but the runway is still in use as Yakutat Airport, which offers scheduled airline service.

Fishing is currently the largest economic activity in Yakutat. Yakutat Tlingit Tribe (YTT) received a Language Preservation Grant from the Administration for Native Americans in 2004. With this, they have reinvigorated their efforts to teach the Tlingit language to middle-aged and young people. YTT received another ANA grant in 2007 and is expanding its role in the schools. All the YTT Tlingit language revitalization work focuses on using communicative approaches to second language teaching, such as TPR and ASLA. While working at a local cannery from 1912 to 1941, Seiki Kayamori extensively photographed Yakutat and its area. A large set of prints of his work is held by Yakutat City Hall.

Yakutat was incorporated at a unified city-borough on September 22, 1992. Until this time, it had been part of the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area, which was afterwards renamed to Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area. Source: Wikipedia

TABLE OF CONTENTS
CEMETERIES & FUNERAL HOMES Ankau Cemetery
Chief Situk Grave
Latitude(DEC) 59.4519444 Longitude(DEC) -139.5697222
Latitude(DMS) 592707N Longitude(DMS) 1393411W
Map Name Yakutat B-5
DEEDS  
Theresa Stiner, Juneau Recorder
PO Box 111013
Juneau, AK 99811-1013
(Phys. Location)
400 Willoughby Ave 3rd Floor
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-2514
(Fax) 465-3454
JUNEAU RECORDING DISTRICT COVERS THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
Admiralty Cove * Amalga Mine * Angoon * Auke Bay * Barge * Bartlett Cove * Berners Bay * Camp Shaheen * Cape Spencer * Comet * Dotsons Landing * Douglas * Dry Bay * Dundas Bay * Dupont * Eldred Rock * Entrance Island * Entrance Sound * Excursion Inlet * Fivefingers L.S. * Funter * Gambler * Glacier Island * Gustavus * Harbor Island * Hasselborg Homestead * Hawk Inlet * Hood Bay * Jualin * Juneau * Killisnoo * Knudson's Ranch * Pt. Retreat * Sawyers Landing * Situk * Snettisham (Aband) * St. Therese Island * Sumdum (Aband) * Sunset Cove * Taku Glacier * Taku Harbor * Taku Lodge * Tee Harbor * Thane * Treadwell * William Henry Bay * Windham * Yakutat
FAMILY HISTORY CENTER (MORMON) Yakutat Family History Center
Mallotts Ave
Yakutat, Alaska
Phone: 907-784-3333
Hours: Th 6:30-10pm
LOOKUPS AND VOLUNTEERS We need you! Please visit this page to see how you can help.
PROBATE AND COURT RECORDS  
QUERY / MESSAGE BOARDS These have been upgraded and combined with the Ancestry Boards. Post/View queries, bios, bible records, deeds, obits, pensions, and wills here. These are a valuable resource and all genealogists need to learn how to use them.
RAILROADS Yep! Yakutat has a railroad even though totally surrounded by glaciers and the sea. Read this fascinating story of the Yakutat and Southern Railroad.
RESOURCES City and Borough of Yakutat
PO BOX 160
Yakutat, AK 99689-0160
Phone: (907)784-3323
Fax: (907)784-3281
SURNAMES Research your family name through the Ancestry.com surname boards
TOWNS, VILLAGES & POPULATED PLACES
Situk
Located on USGS Yakutat B-5 map.
Yakutat

History: Tlingit Indian village; the principal winter village of the Yakutats, a subtribe of the Tlingits, reported by Ivan Petroff in the 1880 Census. Its population was 500 in 1880, 300 in 1890, 271 in 1910; 165 in 1920; 265 in 1930; 292 in 1939, and 298 in 1950. The Yakitat post office was established in 1892 and discontinued in 1895. It was reestablished as "Yakutat" in 1901 (Ricks, 1965, p. 72). Description: population 230, on W end of Monti Bay, 210 mi. NW of Juneau, Malaspina Coastal Plain.
According to Wikipedia:
Yakutat City and Borough is a unified city-borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2000 census, the population was 808. The name is Tlingit, Yaakwdáat, meaning "the place where canoes rest," but it may originally derive from an Eyak name which has been lost. Besides the original city of Yakutat, described below, the only other significant population center in the borough is the community of Icy Bay, the site of the Icy Bay Airport, in the west-central part of the borough. Yakutat City is the largest city in the United States by area, and the eighth largest city in the world by area.

Touristy Description: Hang ten, dude! Alaska has more coastline than any other state in the country, but the last thing most people associate with it is surfing. Not any more. As a result of a Surfer magazine cover story on surfing in Alaska, the state’s first surf shop opened in Yakutat in 1999. That caught the attention of other national media and suddenly this small, isolated town, up to that point known only for big steelhead and a big glacier, was ‘Surf City Alaska.’

Isolated on the strand that connects the Inside Passage to the rest of Alaska, Yakutat is now something of a tourist destination. Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in the world, is a mere is 30 miles away. The 76-mile-long glacier captured national attention by galloping across Russell Fjord in the mid-1980s, turning the long inlet into a lake. Eventually Hubbard receded to reopen the fjord, but the glacier did it again in 2002 and came close in 2008. The eight-mile-wide glacier is easily Alaska's most active. The entire area, part of the 545-square-mile Russell Fjord Wilderness, is one of the most interesting places in Alaska and usually visited through flightseeing or boat tours.

Life in Yakutat is rich with the culture of the Native people of the area. Here the elders share their knowledge and wisdom through storytelling in the local community gathering place. Hear their story and see the traditional dress regalia of the Tlingit people.

For fishermen, there are 12 U.S. Forest Service cabins. Many are near rivers and lakes that are renowned, even by Alaska standards, among sport fishers for their trophy salmon, steelhead trout and Dolly Varden. The Situk River, 12 miles south of town by road, is often rated as one of Alaska's top fishing spots. The U.S. Forest Service Yakutat Ranger District Office (907-784-3359) can provide information on seasons, rivers, cabin rentals and local fishing guides.

VITAL RECORDS Contact the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics
YEARBOOKS
This is an area where volunteers can be of great help. If you have an old yearbook, scan it in and send it to the Borough Coordinator.
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