Prior to contact with the Russians, Adak was a heavily populated island, but because of the hunters and the Russian fur trade, Adak was eventually abandoned in the early 19th century. The people of Adak continued their hunting and fishing around the island until World War II began. The Adak Army installations gave the United States the ability to have a successful offense against the Japanese- held islands of Kiska and Attu.
Following World War II, Adak was turned into a naval air station, which played a vital role during the Cold War as a submarine surveillance center. Since World War II, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard developed recreation and facilities opportunities for the military people stationed on the island.
Adak once had a Baskin-Robins, McDonald’s, movie theater, swimming pool, ski lodge, bowling alleys, skeet range, photo lab, auto hobby shop, roller sake rink, and tennis courts. Then in 1990, seven years prior to the closure of the station, a new $18 million hospital was built. In By 2003, 6 years following the closure of the station, a majority of theose facilities in Adak had closed.
In 1878 the Western Fur & Trading Company made Akutan in their trading port and fur storage set up a trading port and fur storage on Akutan Island. Western Fur & Trading Company’s agent opened a commercial cod fishing and processing business in on Akutan Island. This attracted the Unangan peoples’ s that were nearby to quickly move here. In 1912, across the bay from the new village of Akutan, Pacific Whaling Company established a whale processing station. This whaling station was the only one in the Aleutians and it stayed opened until 1939.
Following the attack on Unalaska by the Japanese in June 1942, the U.S. government evacuated Akutan residents to the Ketchikan area. Also during this time, a Japanese A6M Zero fighter, piloted by Tadayoski Koga, crashed on Akutan Island. The crash was not recovered until July 1942 by the United States Army Air Force. The plane played a significant role in the American strategies in creating dog fighting techniques to defeat the ZeroJapanese. These strategies also assisted in changing the course of the war. It was not until 1944 that the village was re-established. Not many villagers chose to return back to Akutan. Traditional lifestyles and attitudes of the community were changed with the exposure to the outside world during those two years.
Because Akutan is located so close to the Bering Sea fishing grounds, it attracted the crab and fish processing industry to the community in the late 1940’s. This processing plant was first constructed as floating processors, but in the early 1980s Trident Seafoods built a shore-based processing plant. This processing plant is the largest in the area. In 1979, Akutan was incorporated as a city. Akutan is known as a fishing community. The Native Village of Akutan, a federally recognized tribe, is located in Akutan. During the summer a Unangan Culture Camp is held.
In 1942 the creation of Fort Randall, an airbase on the shores of Cold Bay, was the beginning of Cold Bay’s American history. Fort Randall was ordered by General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. following the invasion on the Aleutians by the Japanese in World War II. Fort Randall and Otter Point served as a base for the 11th Air Force. Their role was to provide protection to the only deep water port in the Aleutians at that time, Dutch Harbor.
During the spring and summer of 1945, Cold Bay conducted Project Hula, which was the largest transfer program of World War II. Project Hula consisted of shifting dozen of United States ships and craft to the Soviet Union. This project was also composed of training Soviet personnel to be prepared for the Soviet Union entering the war against Japan.
Decades later, the airfield control was handed over to civil authorities. Civil authorities used Cold Bay as a useful landing station for refueling and emergency landing for flights from the west coast of the United States to East Asia.
Throughout the 1980s, under President Ronald Reagan’s authority, deregulation of the airline industry resulted in a majority of the interests supporting the need for Cold Bay to evaporate.
In January 1982 was when Cold Bay was incorporated as a second-class city and was classified as a second-class city. Cold Bay, Alaska is considered the cloudiest place in the United States. It has an average of 304 days of overcast that covers three fourths of the sky or more. Every fall the City of Cold Bay hosts a Silver Salmon Derby to gather the community, and surrounding communities, to see who could catch the largest silver salmon with a fishing pole. Duck hunting season is another time of the year that has many people gathering in Cold Bay. During the season people hunt Black Brant and geese, puddle ducks, and sea ducks, and bears. In the area, the entire populations of Pacific Black Brant are there during the fall. Cold Bay is known for having the best Black Brant hunting area on the planet. Hunting is a vital way for people to fill their freezers with food for the winter. Caribou subsistence hunting in Cold Bay attracts many hunters.
Today, Cold Bay is periodically used for emergency or precautionary landings of commercial flights. Cold Bay is also the hub for traffic from Anchorage to the small surrounding communities.
False Pass, an early English name for Isanotski Strait. is located on the Isanotski Strait on Unimak Island. Unimak Island is the first island in the 1,400 mile long Aleutian Island Chain. In 1917, a cannery was opened and ran continuously until 1973, when two hard winters exhausted the fish resources. The cannery reopened in 1976 until March 1981, when it was then destroyed by a fire and never rebuilt. A school and United States post office was established in False Pass in 1921. It was not until 1990 when False Pass was incorporated as a second-class city.
The Isanotski Corporation, an ANCSA village corporation, is located in False Pass, along with the False Pass Tribal Council. The False Pass Tribal Council is a federally recognized tribe that has responsibility for the health and welfare needs of the community.
False Pass was officially given status as a city in 1921 when the U.S. post office opened.
The Unangan peoples have occupied Unimak Island and the entire Aleutian Island Chain for thousands of years.
The marine environment is to be thanked for providing a stable standard of living for the community of False Pass. False Pass’ primary economic activity is commercial fishing of halibut, cod, pollock, crab, and salmon. Bering Pacific Seafoods, LLC, a fish procession plant that is solely owned and operated by Aleutian Pribliof Island Community Development Association (APICDA), opened in 2009. In 2014 the plant underwent a vital expansion project. Today, the plant processes salmon, halibut, and sable fish in headed and gutted (H & G) and fillet product forms.
Robert King was the first recorded settler at King Cove in the 1880s. In 1911 a salmon cannery was built. In 1949, the city was incorporated as a first first-class city. The salmon cannery in King Cove operated from 1911 to 1976, and then it was partially destroyed by a fire, but was quickly rebuilt.
Today, Peter Pan Seafood’s Inc. operates the largest capacity salmon cannery in Alaska and one of the largest fish processing centers in the United States. . King Cove has two federally recognized tribes, the Agdaagux Tribe and Native Village of Belkofski. During the summer time the Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove, with many organization donations, hosts a week long culture camp for the community to attend to learn about their Unangan culture, traditions, and to do art projects.
Nelson Lagoon was named after Edward William Nelson of the U.S. Signal Corps in 1882. Historically, Nelson Lagoon was used as a Unangan summer fish camp because of the great salmon resources that are available there. The lagoon and nearby Bear River are phenomenal resources for salmon. From 1906 to 1917 a salmon saltery was being operated, but since then there has not been a cannery in Nelson Lagoon. The subsistence lifestyle plays a huge role in Nelson Lagoon’s culture. Due to their rich salmon fisheries area, of the approximately 55 residents that live there, 24 of them hold commercial fishing permits.
During summer and fall, residents gather and harvest a variety of berries for the winter. Also during this time residents are catching fish to dry, smoke, can, and dehydrate. There is no city government located in Nelson Lagoon, but there is a federally recognized tribe, Native Village of Nelson Lagoon.
1887 was when Sand Point was officially settled in 1887. A cod fishing station and supply station were set up on Humboldt Harbor by the Lynde and Hough Company of San Francisco. Eventually the town adopted the name Sand Point. Until the early 1990’s, Sand Point was used mostly for a supply and repair center for the gold mining. By the 1930’s fishing was the dominant industry. A Russian Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas Chapel, was built in Sand Point in 1933.
Today, it is on the National Register of Historical Places. Fishing plays a huge role in the communities’ life for food and income. Sand Point is home to the largest fishing fleet in the Aleutians and Trident operates a large fish processing plant in the community. There are three federally recognized tribes in Sand Point: Pauloff Harbor Village, Qagan Taygungin Tribe of Sand Point Village, and the Native Village of Unga. During the summer Sand Point’s tribes collaborate, gather donations, and host a culture camp for the community.
Whittier area was originally part of the portage route for the Chugach Natives of Prince William Sound to travel to fish the Turnagain Arm. Russians and Americans exploring the region used this passage. This passage was used often; during the gold rush prospecting miners used it because it was the quickest way to get from the Sound to the Cook Inlet and Interior regions. Whittier is historic itself too, tThe U.S. Army established Whittier during World War II. In 1943 the Federal railroad to Portage was completed. Throughout the 1950s change was brought to Whittier. The military pulled out and Whittier became a federally ran commercial port. Because of those events, Whittier was able to gain private ownership.
The City of Whittier was incorporated in 1969. Today, Whittier is a very popular tourist city with over 700,000 annual visits. The boat harbor in Whittier is in high demand because it is the closest small boat harbor to Anchorage.