Gustavus, Icy Strait

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Gustavus, Icy Strait

by | Nov 23, 2018

Gustavus is on the north shore of Icy Strait, Alaska, and is considered the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park. The community is at the mouth of the Salmon River and across from Pleasant Island, about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Point Gustavus and 48 miles (77 km) northwest of Juneau, Alaska.

In 1793, Captain George Vancouver named Point Adolphus, on the south shore of Icy Strait and the northern tip of Chichagof Island, after Adolphus Frederick, the seventh son of King George III. In 1878, W.H. Dall, who was charting for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, assumed the name was for Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus. The point across Icy Strait from Point Adolphus at the mouth of Glacier Bay was not yet named, so Dall called the point of land “Point Gustavus”.

Point Gustavus is an outwash plain created by the glaciers that once filled Glacier Bay. As the glaciers that covered the area 200 years ago receded, isostatic rebound caused the land to quickly rise at over an inch per year. Land that once was within the tidal zone is now covered by spruce trees. The native Tlingit people and others have historically used the area for fishing and berry picking. The first settlers arrived in 1914 and called the area Strawberry Point, and the first permanent homestead was established in 1923. In 1925, the U.S. Postal Service renamed the town Gustavus. Today, Gustavus spreads across the continually rising flatlands. Read more here and here. Explore more of Gustavus here:

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