Ninilchik Alaska Information
Alaska's Kenai Peninsula Resource Network
Ninilchik Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula
Ninilchik lies on the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula on the Sterling Highway, 38 miles southwest of the City of Kenai. It lies at approximately 60° 03' N Latitude and 151° 40' W Longitude. The area encompasses 38.2 sq. miles of land and 36.5 sq. miles of water. Winter temperatures range from 14 to 27; summer temperatures vary from 45 to 60. Average annual precipitation is 24 inches.
History, Culture and Demographics:
History time line:
The Peninsula was historically used by Dena'ina Indians for fur-farming and fishing. In 1847, Grigorii and Mavra Kvasnikoff moved their large family from Kodiak to Ninilchik. Mr. Kvasnikoff was a Russian Orthodox missionary from the Moscow area. Mrs. Kvasnikoff was a Sugpiaq Eskimo from Kodiak. His wife, Mavra, was a "creole," the daughter of Efim Rastorguev, a Russian shipbuilder, and Agrafena Petrovna, an Aleut from Kodiak Island. All nine major old families of Ninilchik descend from Mr. and Mrs. Kvasnikoff. These families are: Kvasnikoff, Oskolkoff, Crawford, Steik, Kelly, Jackinsky, Cooper, Resoff, and Leman. Descendants of the first Kvasnikoff couple in Ninilchik now number 3,000, and live not only in Ninilchik, but also in Anchorage, Kodiak, Nanwalek (English Bay), Port Graham, Seldovia, Kenai, Cordova, Metlakatla, Seattle, and elsewhere. Their story is told in the book Agrafena's Children: the Old Families of Ninilchik, edited by Wayne Leman (first edition 1993, 150 year anniversary edition 1997). The book is found in the Ninilchik and Kenai community libraries, and has been purchased by many of Agrafena's children. By 1880, the U.S. Census found 53 "creoles" (Russian-Sugpiaqs) living in Ninilchik. The 1940's saw an increasing number of homesteaders moving to the Ninilchik area. Today the town is no longer just a rustic village, with Russian-style log homes, in the valley beside the Ninilchik River.
Many of the current Native residents are descendants of the Kvasnikoffs. A traditional Native Village is located in the community, although approximately 80% of the population are non-Natives. The village association is actively involved in local issues and is a leading advocate for the senior center. There is a strong Russian Orthodox following, and an historical Church is located in Ninilchik.
Today's Ninilchik combines the rich heritage of its original families, homesteaders, and others who have moved to our town, where we enjoy the small town pace of life, the beautiful scenery, and the freedom to be Alaskans, independent, hard-working, and enterprising. We welcome you to visit our special town. We have excellent facilities for visitors to enjoy Ninilchik with us.
During the April 1990 U.S. Census, there were 330 total housing units, and 44% of these were vacant. 146 jobs were estimated to be in the community. The official unemployment rate at that time was 24.4%. 60% of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $31,518, and 9.7% of residents were living below the poverty level.
10,198 foot high Mt. Redoubt can be seen in the west, 40
miles across Cook Inlet.
Annual events:Kenai Peninsula Fair ("Biggest Little Fair in Alaska") , Ninilchik, third week of August, phone (907) 567-3670
The Ninilchik Halibut Derby
The Ninilchik King Salmon Derby
Ninilchik has always been rich in nearby seafood: razor clams, salmon, halibut, and some river trout. Today fish are harvested in Ninilchik by families who depend upon commercial salmon fishing for their livelihood. Here father and son, Wayne and James Leman, reel nets into their boat, preparing for the next day's work at their set net sites:
The commercial fishery is shared with the increasing sports fishing industry. A number of local businesses provide tour guide services to assist the sport fisherman who wishes to catch a prize King Salmon or delicious Halibut.
Local information and facilities:Ninilchik Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 39164
Ninilchik, AK 99639
(907) 567-3518 Ninilchik Community Library 567-3333
Ninilchik Community Clinic 567-3970
Ninilchik Fair Association
Ninilchik, AK 99639
(907) 567-3670 Ninilchik Traditional Council
P.O. Box 39070
Ninilchik, AK 99639 (907) 567-3313
Ninilchik Native Association, Inc.,
800 E. Dimond Blvd., Suite 3-490,
Anchorage, AK 99515-2044 (907) 344-8654 or (888) 279-9211
Books About Ninilchik:
Handbook ( Ninilchik PTA),
1952, 1992 (local recipes)
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