The History of Tonsina

Tonsina is located at mile 79 on the Richardson Highway, south of the Tonsina River, next to Kenny Lake, 52 miles northeast of Valdez. It lies at approximately 61 39' N Latitude, 145 10' W Longitude (Sec. 35, T002S, R001E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Chitina Recording District. The area encompasses 22 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.

A U.S. Army Signal Corps telegraph station, post office and general store were established here in 1902. The Tonsina Lodge was built in 1903 along the Valdez-Eagle Trail; it burned in 1928. The Tiekel Lodge and Tsaina Lodge were also built in this area. Development began during the oil era. Pump Station 12 was constructed nearby to move oil over Thompsen Pass to the pipeline terminal in Valdez.

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