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.

Dutch Harbor is a remote cruise port, averaging about three calls per year as ships move from Alaska to Asia.  On September 27, 2014, Holland America’s Amsterdam is scheduled to visit, while Celebrity, Silverseas, and Crystal cruise lines have calls planned in 2015.

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 caused a strategic military build-up that brought a large-scale influx of people and construction of 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.

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 the prior year.

6. The Dutch Harbor crabbing fleet is featured in Deadliest Catch, the reality television series produced for the Discovery Channel  by Original Productions. In it’s 10th season, the series portrays real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea.  The show is viewed in more than 200 countries.

7.  Latitudes, the bar featured in season 3 of  the “Deadliest Catch“ closed in 2007.  But long before reality tv, the same bar was the infamous Elbow Room, a place Playboy magazine rated  as 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, later canonized as Saint Innocent of Alaska, composed the first Aleut writing system with local assistance, and translated scripture into Aleut.

9. The Unalaska City School District, with  an enrollment of 409 students (K-12th grade) for the 2013 – 2014 school year, 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 between April and October.

12. There is also a 4,1000 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.

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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