The History of Tenakee Springs

Tenakee Springs is located on the east side of Chichagof Island, on the north shore of Tenakee Inlet. It lies 45 miles southwest of Juneau, and 50 miles northeast of Sitka. It lies at approximately 57 46' N Latitude, 135 13' W Longitude (Sec. 21, T047S, R063E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Sitka Recording District. The area encompasses 12 sq. miles of land and 5 sq. miles of water.

The word Tenakee is from the Tlingit word "tinaghu," meaning "Coppery Shield Bay." This refers to three copper shields, highly prized by the Tlingits, that were lost in a storm. Early prospectors and fishermen came to the site to wait out the winters and enjoy the natural hot springs in Tenakee. Around 1895, a large tub and building were constructed to provide a warm bathing place. In 1899, Ed Snyder Snyder's Mercantile, which still operates today. A post office arrived in 1903. Originally called Tenakee, the name was altered to Tenakee Springs in 1928. Improvements to the hot springs facilities were made in 1915 and 1929; the existing bathhouse was constructed in 1940. Several canneries operated in the area between 1916 and 1974. A logging camp operated for a time at Corner Bay.

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