The History of Cantwell

Cantwell is located on the George Parks Highway at the west end of the Denali Highway, 211 miles north of Anchorage and 28 miles south of Denali (Mount McKinley) Park. Part of the community is located on the Alaska Railroad. The areas known as Kantishna and Carlo Creek are located nearby. It lies at approximately 63 23' N Latitude, 148 56' W Longitude (Sec. 31, T017S, R007W, Fairbanks Meridian). The community is located in the Nenana Recording District. The area encompasses 44 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.

The Cantwell River was the former name of the Nenana River. The earliest inhabitants of the area were nomadic Indians who trapped, hunted and fished throughout Interior Alaska. Cantwell began as a flag stop on the Alaska Railroad. Oley Nicklie was the first Indian to settle here. When fur prices dropped, he and his two brothers sought work with the railroad.

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