Gustavus, Alaska

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Gustavus is a city in Hoonah-Angoon Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2000 census the population was 429.

Contents

Geography

Gustavus is located at 58°24′59″N 135°44′44″W / 58.41639°N 135.74556°W / 58.41639; -135.74556 (58.416327, -135.745549)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38 square miles (98 km2), all of it land.

Gustavus is split by the Salmon River, across which there is a bridge for the paved road running out to Glacier Bay National Park. Coho salmon, Dolly Varden, and other fish are commonly caught in this river. Within the city limits, the river is affected by tides.

History

Gustavus, formerly known as Strawberry Point, lies on the outwash plain created by the glaciers that once filled Glacier Bay. Two hundred years ago, it was primarily a single large "beach". The native Tlingit and others used the area for fishing, berry picking, and other similar uses. The town itself is less than one hundred years old. The first settlers arrived in 1914, but left shortly afterward. The first permanent homestead was established in 1917, when Abraham Lincoln Parker moved his family to Strawberry Point. Many Gustavus residents are descendants and relatives of the original Parker homesteaders.

In 1925 the name became Gustavus, when the U.S. Post Office required a change for its new post office, although locals continued calling it Strawberry Point long afterwards. The new name came from "Point Gustavus" at the mouth of Glacier Bay.

In 1793 George Vancouver named Point Adolphus (today a well-known humpback whale feeding area) after Adolphus Frederick, seventh son of King George III. In 1878, W.H. Dall, while working on a coastal survey, saw "Adolphus" on the map and assumed it was for Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus. The point across Icy Straits from Point Adolphus at the mouth of Glacier Bay was not named on the map, so Dall called it "Gustavus".

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