12 Fun Facts About Dutch Harbor, Alaska

by Janis on August 16, 2014

Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is on of the major Alaskan fishing ports. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Located off of Amaknak Island, about 800 miles southwest of Anchorage at the intersection of the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, “Dutch” provides a harbor and a gateway for ships and airplanes to reach the small city of Unalaska, Alaska, via a 500-foot bridge.

A NASA satellite view of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

A NASA satellite view of Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Dutch Harbor is a remote cruise port, averaging about three calls per year as ships move from Alaska to Asia.

Here are 12 Interesting Facts About Dutch Harbor, Alaska

1. The Unangan, who were the first to inhabit the area around Dutch Harbor and Unalaska, named it “Ounalashka” meaning “near the peninsula”.

2. Russian fur trade reached Dutch Harbor when a crew led by Stepan Glotov arrived in the area on August 1, 1759. Natives, Russians and their descendants comprised most of the community’s population until World War II.  The war caused a strategic military build-up in the area, bringing a large influx of people and the construction of numerous buildings.

Japan attacks Dutch Harbor

The Japanese Attack at Dutch Harbor, Alaska in June, 1942.

3. Dutch Harbor was one of the few locations in U.S. territory to be bombed by the Japanese during World War II.

4. Today the population of Dutch Harbor and Unalaska hovers around 4,375 people.

Canvas Wall Art Print – Aerial view of fishing industry, Dutch Harbor, Alaska

5. In a November, 2013 report by NOAA, Dutch Harbor ranked as the # 1 United States fishing port with 752 million pounds of fish valued at $214 million crossing those docks during 2012.

6. The Dutch Harbor crabbing fleet is featured in the Deadliest Catch – the reality television series produced for the Discovery Channel  by Original Productions. In it’s 13th season, the series portrays real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea.  The show is viewed in more than 200 countries.  The 13th season premires on April 11, 2017

Deadliest Catch: The Complete Third Season (Season 3)

7.  Latitudes, the bar featured in season 3 of the “Deadliest Catch“ closed in 2007.  But long before reality television, the same bar was the infamous Elbow Room, a place Playboy magazine called the “roughest bar in the U.S.

This hilltop view of Unalaska, Alaska and the surrounding area showcases the Russian Orthodox Church.

8. In 1825, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension was built in Unalaska. The founding priest, Ivan Veniaminov, was later canonized as Saint Innocent of Alaska. With local assistance, Father Veniaminov composed the first Aleut writing system, and translated scripture into Aleut.

9. The Unalaska City School District — with an enrollment of less than 500 students (K-12th grade) — was named one of the 100 best school districts in the United States by Offspring Magazine, a Forbes publication.

10. There are approximately seven miles of paved road in Dutch Harbor and Unalaska.

11. You can get to Dutch Harbor via The Alaska State Ferry from Kodiak once every two weeks, but only between the months of April and October.

12. There is also a 4,100 ft paved runway with daily scheduled flight service from Anchorage, but about one fifth of all scheduled flights are cancelled due to harsh weather conditions around the Unalaska Airport.

Learn more with these books about Dutch Harbor, Alaska:

War Comes to Alaska: The Dutch Harbor Attack, June 3-4, 1942
The Road to Dutch Harbor
All This and Attu

Have you visited Dutch Harbor, Alaska? What fun fact can you add to this list?

If you enjoy history and interesting facts about far-flung destinations, check out these other Fun Facts posts:

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