Port Alexander, Baranof Island

Port Alexander, Baranof Island

by | Dec 22, 2018

Port Alexander is an embayment and small community on the southeast coast of Baranof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of Southeast Alaska. The fishing village is named after the estuary and was once the center of the largest trolling fleet in Alaska.

In 1795, Captain George Vancouver entered the cove looking for natives to trade with but found only a deserted village. The site was named in 1849 by Captain M.D. Tebenkov, the Governor of the Russian-American colonies. In 1913, salmon trollers began using the rich fishing grounds of the South Chatham Strait area as a seasonal base. Two floating processors arrived soon after. By 1916, there was a fishing supply store, a shore station owned by Northland Trading and Packing Company, and a bakery at Port Alexander. Families of fishermen began coming to the community during the summers, and many of the first arrivals lived in tents.

During the 1920s and 1930s, a year-round community had evolved around the prosperous fishing fleet, and houses, stores, restaurants, a post office, and a school were constructed. During the summer, over 1,000 fishing boats would anchor in the protected harbor, and the town had a population of as many as 2,500 people. Beginning in 1938, fish stocks declined dramatically and processing became uneconomical. Today Port Alexander has only a few year-round residents, and the economy still relies on commercial and subsistence fishing, as well as forest resources. Read more here and here. Explore more of Port Alexander here:

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