What is the history of Chitina, Alaska?
Athabascans have lived in the area around Chitina for centuries as evidenced by the archaeological sites south and east of Chitina. Before 1900, Chitina was the site of large village whose population was slowly decimated by the influx of people, disease and conflicts. Copper ore was discovered in about 1900 along the northern edge of the Chitina River valley. This brought a rush of prospectors and homesteaders to the area. The Copper River and Northwestern Railway enabled Chitina to develop into a thriving community by 1914. It had a general store, a clothing store, a meat market, stables, a tinsmith, five hotels, several rooming houses, a pool hall, bars, restaurants, dance halls and a movie theater. Almost all of Chitina was owned by Otto Adrian Nelson, a surveying engineer for the Kennecott Mines. He built a unique hydroelectric system that supplied electric power to all his buildings. The mines closed in 1938 and the remaining support activities moved to what is now the Glennallen