The History of Akutan

Akutan is located on Akutan Island in the eastern Aleutians, one of the Krenitzin Islands of the Fox Island group. It is 35 miles east of Unalaska, and 766 air miles southwest of Anchorage. It lies at approximately 54 08' N Latitude, 165 46' W Longitude (Sec. 11, T070S, R112W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Aleutian Islands Recording District. The area encompasses 14 sq. miles of land and 5 sq. miles of water.

Akutan began in 1878 as a fur storage and trading port for the Western Fur & Trading Company. The company's agent established a commercial cod fishing and processing business that quickly attracted nearby Aleuts to the community. A church and school were built in 1878. Pacific Whaling Company built a whale processing station across the bay from Akutan in 1912. It was the only whaling station in the Aleutians, and operated until 1939. After the Japanese attacked Unalaska in June 1942, the U.S. Government evacuated Akutan residents to the Ketchikan area. The village was re-established in 1944, although many villagers chose not to return. This exposure to the outside world brought many changes to the traditional lifestyle and attitudes of the community.


To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online


History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development