Unalaska, Alaska
Overview
Unalaska is a city in the Aleutians West Census Area
Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska
Aleutians West Census Area is a census area located in the U.S. state of Alaska. It contains most of the Aleutian Islands, from Attu Island in the west to Unalaska Island in the east, as well as the Pribilof Islands, which lie north of the Aleutians in the Bering Sea. As of 2010, the population is...

 of the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island
Unalaska Island
Unalaska is an island in the Fox Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in the U.S. state of Alaska, at . The island has a land area of . The city of Unalaska, Alaska, covers part of the island and all of neighboring Amaknak Island where the Port of Dutch Harbor is located...

 and neighboring Amaknak Island
Amaknak Island
Amaknak Island or Umaknak Island is an islet in Unalaska Bay, northeast of Unalaska Island in the Fox Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in southwest Alaska. The Dutch Harbor area of Unalaska, Alaska is on Amaknak Island...

 in the Aleutian Islands off of mainland Alaska.

The population was 4,283 at the 2000 census; it is estimated to have shrunk to 3,836 by 2007. Almost all of the community's port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just "Dutch".
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Unalaska is a city in the Aleutians West Census Area
Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska
Aleutians West Census Area is a census area located in the U.S. state of Alaska. It contains most of the Aleutian Islands, from Attu Island in the west to Unalaska Island in the east, as well as the Pribilof Islands, which lie north of the Aleutians in the Bering Sea. As of 2010, the population is...

 of the Unorganized Borough of the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island
Unalaska Island
Unalaska is an island in the Fox Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in the U.S. state of Alaska, at . The island has a land area of . The city of Unalaska, Alaska, covers part of the island and all of neighboring Amaknak Island where the Port of Dutch Harbor is located...

 and neighboring Amaknak Island
Amaknak Island
Amaknak Island or Umaknak Island is an islet in Unalaska Bay, northeast of Unalaska Island in the Fox Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in southwest Alaska. The Dutch Harbor area of Unalaska, Alaska is on Amaknak Island...

 in the Aleutian Islands off of mainland Alaska.

The population was 4,283 at the 2000 census; it is estimated to have shrunk to 3,836 by 2007. Almost all of the community's port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just "Dutch". It is the largest fisheries port in the U.S. by volume caught. It includes Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army
Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army
Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears are the two military installations built next to each other in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, by the United States in response to the growing war threat with Japan. A 1938 Navy board recommended the construction which began in July 1940. The first army...

, a U.S. National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

.

Dutch Harbor lies within the city limits of Unalaska and is connected to Unalaska by a bridge. Amaknak Island is home to almost 59 percent of the city's population, although it has less than 3 percent of its land area.

The Aleut or Unangan have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Russian fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 reached Unalaska when Stepan Glotov and his crew arrived on August 1, 1759. The Unangan people, who were the first to inhabit the island of Unalaska, named it "Ounalashka" meaning ‘Near the Peninsula’. The regional native corporation has adopted this moniker, and is known as the Ounalashka Corporation
Ounalashka Corporation
The Ounalashka Corporation is the native village corporation for the Aleuts of Unalaska and Amaknak Islands, in the Aleutian Islands. Like its parent entity, the Aleut Corporation, it was formed as a result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971...

. Dutch Harbor was so named by the Russians because they believed that a Dutch vessel was the first European ship to enter the harbor.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 212.3 square miles (549.9 km²), of which, 111 square miles (287.5 km²) of it is land and 101.3 square miles (262.4 km²) of it (47.71%) is water.

Makushin Volcano
Makushin Volcano
The Makushin Volcano is an ice-covered stratovolcano located on Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Islands of the U.S. state of Alaska. With an elevation of , it's summit is the highest point on the island. Makushin is one of the most active among the 40 volcanoes of Alaska...

 (5691 ft (1,734.6 m)) is located on the island; it is not quite visible from within the town of Unalaska, though the steam rising from its cone is visible on a (rare) clear day.
Denizens of Unalaska need only to climb one of the smaller hills in the area, such as Pyramid Peak or Mt. Newhall, to get a good look at the snow-covered cone.


Climate

As in all of the Aleutian islands, the climate of Unalaska is a subpolar oceanic climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 (Cfc) with moderate and fairly uniform temperatures and heavy rainfall. Fogs are almost constant even when it is not raining. Summer weather is around 5°F (3°C) cooler than Southeast Alaska (Sitka), but the winter temperatures are nearly the same.

The mean annual temperature for Unalaska is about 40.5 °F (4.7 °C), being about 31.5 °F (-.3 °C) in January and about 52 °F (11.1 °C) in August. With about 225 rainy days a year, Unalaska is among the rainiest places in the United States.

Demographics

As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 4,283 people, 834 households, and 476 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 38.6 people per square mile (14.9/km²). There were 988 housing units at an average density of 8.9 per square mile (3.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.20% White, 3.67% Black or African American, 7.70% Native American, 30.63% Asian, 0.56% Pacific Islander, 9.32% from other races, and 3.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.86% of the population.

There were 834 households out of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.9% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the city the population was spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 50.9% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 1.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 194.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 218.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $69,539, and the median income for a family was $80,829. Males had a median income of $41,352 versus $29,766 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $24,676. About 2.0% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.

History

The island of Unalaska was first inhabited by the Aleut people, who named it "Ounalashka", meaning: "Near the Peninsula". They developed an intricate and complex society long before their first contact with the Russian fur traders who would document their existence.

Unalaska and Amaknak Islands contained 24 settlements with more than 1,000 Aleut inhabitants in 1759, when the first Russian group under Stepan Glotov came and started trading for three years on Umnak
Umnak
Umnak is one of the Fox Islands of the Aleutian Islands. With of land area, it is the third largest island in the Aleutian archipelago and the 19th largest island in the United States. The island is home to a large volcanic caldera on Mount Okmok and is separated from Unalaska Island by Umnak Pass...

 and Unalaska. Between 1763 and 1766, a conflict between the Russian fur traders and the Unalaska Natives occurred; the Aleuts destroyed four Russian ships and killed 175 hunters/traders. Solov'ev then returned to Unalaska and directed the massacre of many Natives. In the 1760s, Unalaska was temporarily used as a Russian fur trading post
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

. The post was permanently established in 1774, and was eventually incorporated into the Russian-American Company
Russian-American Company
The Russian-American Company was a state-sponsored chartered company formed largely on the basis of the so-called Shelekhov-Golikov Company of Grigory Shelekhov and Ivan Larionovich Golikov The Russian-American Company (officially: Under His Imperial Majesty's Highest Protection (patronage)...

. It was there that Captain James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

 encountered the navigator Gerasim Izmailov
Gerasim Izmailov
Gerasim Grigoryevich Izmaylov was a Russian navigator involved in the Russian colonization of the Americas and in the establishment of the colonies of Russian America in Alaska. He was responsible for the first detailed maps of the Aleutian Islands....

 in 1778.

In 1788 the Spanish made contact with the Russians in Alaska for the first time. An expedition by Esteban José Martínez
Esteban José Martínez Fernández y Martínez de la Sierra
Esteban José Martínez Fernández y Martínez de la Sierra, or simply Esteban José Martínez was a Spanish navigator and explorer, native of Seville...

 and Gonzalo López de Haro
Gonzalo López de Haro
Gonzalo López de Haro was a Spanish explorer, notable for his expeditions in the Pacific Northwest in the late 18th century....

 visited several Russian settlements. Their westernmost visit was to Unalaska. On August 5, 1788, they claimed Unalaska for Spain and named it Puerto de Dona Marie Luisa Teresa.

In 1825, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension
Church of the Holy Ascension
The Church of the Holy Ascension was built in 1826 by the Russian American Fur Company. It played a significant role in evangelizing the indigenous people in then-Russian Alaska. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.It was restored in 1998...

 was built in Unalaska. The founding priest, Ivan Veniaminov, later canonized as Saint Innocent of Alaska, composed the first Aleut writing system with local assistance, and translated scripture into Aleut. Between 1836 and 1840, measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

, chicken-pox and whooping-cough epidemics drastically reduced the population; thus, at the end of the decade, only 200 to 400 Aleuts lived in Unalaska.

On October 18, 1867, the United States purchased Alaska
Alaska purchase
The Alaska Purchase was the acquisition of the Alaska territory by the United States from Russia in 1867 by a treaty ratified by the Senate. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained of new United States territory...

, making Unalaska part of the U.S. territory.

In 1880, the Methodist Church opened a school and a clinic for orphans in Unalaska. Between 1899 and 1905, the Gold Rush
Gold rush
A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold. Major gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, while smaller gold rushes took place elsewhere.In the 19th and early...

 brought many ships through Dutch Harbor where the North American Commercial Company had a coaling station.

During the first half of the century, the island was touched by numerous epidemics, first in 1900, and then in 1919 the Spanish flu
Spanish flu
The 1918 flu pandemic was an influenza pandemic, and the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus . It was an unusually severe and deadly pandemic that spread across the world. Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify the geographic origin...

 touched the island: these contributed to a dramatic decrease of the population in Unalaska.

The United States started fortifying Dutch Harbor in 1940, resulting in the construction of the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears
Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army
Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears are the two military installations built next to each other in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, by the United States in response to the growing war threat with Japan. A 1938 Navy board recommended the construction which began in July 1940. The first army...

. On June 3, 1942, the town was attacked by Japanese forces in the Battle of Dutch Harbor
Battle of Dutch Harbor
The Battle of Dutch Harbor took place on 3-4 June 1942, and was a minor air and naval battle of the Aleutian Islands Campaign of World War II between Imperial Japanese Navy and United States Army and Navy forces.-Overview:...

, part of the Aleutian Islands campaign. After the attack and the Japanese occupation of Attu
Attu Island
Attu is the westernmost and largest island in the Near Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, making it the westernmost point of land relative to Alaska and the United States. It was the site of the only World War II land battle fought on the incorporated territory of the United States ,...

, almost all of the native residents of the island were arrested. Many were held, under poor conditions, in camps in Southeast Alaska for the duration of the war; a substantial number of the internees died during the imprisonment.

Beginning in the 1950s, Unalaska became a center of the Alaskan king crab fishing
Alaskan king crab fishing
Alaskan king crab fishing is carried out during the winter months in the waters off the coast of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. The commercial harvest is performed during a very short season, and the catch is shipped worldwide...

 industry; by 1978 it was the largest fishing port in the United States. A 1982 crash in king crab harvests decimated the industry, and the mid-1980s saw a transition to bottom fishing
Bottom fishing
Bottom fishing, called legering in the United Kingdom, is fishing the bottom of a body of water.A common rig for fishing on the bottom is a weight tied to the end of the line, and a hook about an inch up line from the weight. The method can be used both with hand lines and rod fishing.The weight...

. Since 2005, the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

's documentary show Deadliest Catch
Deadliest Catch
Deadliest Catch is a documentary/reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and C. opilio crab fishing seasons.The Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor,...

has focused on fishermen who are based in Dutch Harbor.

Economy

The port of Unalaska / Dutch Harbor is the main port and field base for the storied Bering Sea king crab
King crab
King crabs, also called stone crabs, are a superfamily of crab-like decapod crustaceans chiefly found in cold seas. Because of their large size and the taste of their meat, many species are widely caught and sold as food, the most common being the red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus.King...

 fishery. The Dutch Harbor crabbing fleet is featured in the television show Deadliest Catch
Deadliest Catch
Deadliest Catch is a documentary/reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab and C. opilio crab fishing seasons.The Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor,...

, a documentary style show on the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

, and Dutch Harbor's facilities and local pub are featured prominently in numerous episodes.

Dutch Harbor has also been the largest fisheries port in the United States, in terms of volume of seafood caught, for nearly every year since 1981. Until 2000, it also ranked first in terms of the dollar value of its catch; since 2000, however, the port of New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, located south of Boston, southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, and about east of Fall River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 95,072, making it the sixth-largest city in Massachusetts...

, has outranked Dutch Harbor in that category.

A pilot project in Unalaska / Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is producing fish oil
Fish oil
Fish oil is oil derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid , and docosahexaenoic acid , precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, and are thought to have many health benefits.Fish do not...

 biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

 from the local fish processing industry in conjunction with the University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks, located in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA, is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska System, and is abbreviated as Alaska or UAF....

. It is rarely economical to ship the fish oil elsewhere and Alaskan communities are heavily dependent on diesel power generation. The local factories process 3.5 million tons of fish oil annually.

Transportation

The state of Alaska owns a 3900 by paved
Pavement (material)
Road surface or pavement is the durable surface material laid down on an area intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic, such as a road or walkway. In the past cobblestones and granite setts were extensively used, but these surfaces have mostly been replaced by asphalt or concrete. Such...

 runway
Runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

, where daily flights are scheduled. Because of the very harsh weather conditions around Unalaska Airport
Unalaska Airport
Unalaska Airport is a public airport in the City of Unalaska, on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is located from the Great Circle route to the Orient on the Bering Sea coast of Unalaska Island, southwest of Anchorage and from Seattle.The...

, about a fifth of those flights are cancelled. A seaplane base is also available. The State of Alaska changed the name of the airport in 2002 to "Tom Madsen Airport", after a bush pilot killed in an accident that year, although the FAA still uses the airport's original name.

The State Ferry operates once a month from Kodiak
Kodiak, Alaska
Kodiak is one of 7 communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline...

 between April and October. Out of the ten major docks
Dock (maritime)
A dock is a human-made structure or group of structures involved in the handling of boats or ships, usually on or close to a shore.However, the exact meaning varies among different variants of the English language...

 in Unalaska, three are operated by the city. A World War II sub dock was refurbished and now offers ship repair services.

There are approximately seven miles of paved road, and 38 miles (61.2 km) of road total in Unalaska.

Government

Unalaska has a mayor-council form of government. The Mayor is elected at large, and serves a three year term; his or her powers are mostly ceremonial.

The City Council is the legislative body of the city; it is made up of six members, who are elected at large by a direct vote of the city's electorate. They also serve three year terms. The City Council has for its mission to "enact the laws of the city, set the mill rate for property taxes within the city, approve the annual budget for the city, and appropriate funds to provide for city services".

The current mayor is Shirley Marquardt; her term expires in October 2013. The city's longest serving mayor was Frank Kelty
Frank Kelty
Frank Victor Kelty is a former politician from Alaska. He is arguably still one of the most influential persons within both the business and the governmental circles of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, which is not only the largest municipality of the Aleutian Islands, but also the largest commercial...

, who was elected to five consecutive terms.

Education

Unalaska is served by the Unalaska City School District.

The Unalaska Elementary School serves grades K-4 and Unalaska Junior/Senior High School serves grades 5 through 12.

The Unalaska City School District was voted one of the best 100 school districts in the United States by Offspring Magazine, a Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

publication. It has also consistently been one of the highest scoring schools in Alaska in both the Standards-based exams and Alaska Exit Exam.
In 2006, the Alaska Association of School Boards awarded the school district with the Outstanding School Board Award and Superintendent of the Year award.

11% of Unalaska residents age 25 and older have a bachelor's or advanced college degree.

The University of Alaska, Fairbanks also has a campus in Unalaska, the University of Alaska, Aleutian Pribilof campus. This college is part of the College of Rural Alaska network and offers both conventional classroom and distance classes.

Churches

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension of Christ
  • United Methodist Church-Unalsk
  • Unalaska Christian Fellowship
  • Baha'i Faith
  • Saint Christopher-By-The-Sea Catholic Church

Schools

  • Unalaska Headstart
  • University of Alaska
  • Unalaska City Elementary School
  • Unalaska City High School

Twin towns — Sister cities

Unalaska is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with:
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the main city and the administrative, industrial, scientific, and cultural center of Kamchatka Krai, Russia. Population: .-History:It was founded by Danish navigator Vitus Bering, in the service of the Russian Navy...

, Russia (since 1990).

External links

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