Ninilchik, Kenai Peninsula

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Ninilchik, Kenai Peninsula

by | Dec 17, 2018

Ninilchik is a community at Cape Ninilchik on the Kenai Peninsula, on the eastern shore of Cook Inlet, about 99 miles (160 km) southwest of Anchorage and 30 miles (48 km) north-northwest of Homer, Alaska. Road access to the village is from the Sterling Highway.

Ninilchik was originally a settlement formed around fur-farming and fishing. Before the arrival of Europeans, Ninilchik was a Dena’ina Athabascan lodging area used for hunting and fishing. The name Ninilchik probably derives from Niqnilchint, a Dena’ina Athabascan word meaning “lodge is built place”. The first Europeans who permanently settled in the village were Russian colonists who moved from Kodiak Island in 1847. They were Grigorii Kvasnikov, his Russian-Alutiiq wife Mavra Rastorguev, and their children. They were soon joined by the Oskolkoff family. Their dialect of Russian became the primary non-native language spoken in the community.

In the 1940s, a number of American homesteaders began to live in the area, and in 1949, the Berman Packing Company began fish canning operations at Ninilchik. In 1950, the Sterling Highway was completed connecting the town to the state road network. The original village was located at the mouth of the Ninilchik River where a small harbor was constructed. The name Ninilchik is used today to refer to the original village as well as the extensive surrounding community along the highway between the Ninilchik River and Deep Creek. Today Ninilchik is a tourist destination, popular for salmon and halibut fishing, and for Pacific razor clams that are dug from the beaches during extremely low tides. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ninilchik here:

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