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Kasaan

Founded late 1800s / Incorporated 1976
Population est. 53 / City Hall 907-542-2212
Organized Village of Kasaan 907-542-2230
 
 
 Photo by Jeannie McFarland
One of two Haida villages in Alaska, Kasaan is on the east side of Prince of Wales Island about 30 miles northwest of Ketchikan. Passengers on the IFA ferry pass by Kasaan en route to the Hollis terminal.

A 17-mile road to Kasaan begins at the turnoff near Goose Creek Bridge on Thorne Bay Highway. The unpaved road offers scenic views and there is a scenic turnout at Tolstoi Inlet.

Kasaan gets its name from the Tlingit word meaning "pretty town" or " pretty village." Haida  people migrated north from Haida Gwaii, formerly and still in part known as Queen Charlotte Island, and established the village Gasa'aan, now known as "old Kasaan" on Skowl Arm seven miles from today's Kasaan.

In 1892, the Cooper Queen mine camp, sawmill, post office and store were built on Kasaan Bay. Haida people relocated to the new village. In 1902, a salmon cannery was built in Kasaan and operated off and on until 1953. During this time, Kasaan had a school, three stores, Presbyterian Church, and several businesses.
                                                                                                                                               Photo by Bob Clause
Today Kasaan has a school, library, and post office. In front of the Barry C. Stewart School stands the Unity Pole carved by Tsimshian master carver Stan Marsden and raised in 2007.  The pole's base depicts a bear holding up a healing man with a basket of roses. It also contains the killer whale, eagle, raven and thunderbird, with three watchmen at the top. Visitors may use Kasaan's library; for info phone 907-542-2229.

A short walk on a forest trail leads to Kasaan Totem Park and Chief Son-i-Hat Whale House. The Whale House is the only standing Haida longhouse in the United States. In the 1930's, totems from the old village were moved to create the park near Whale House and Civilian Conservation Corps carvers rebuilt the longhouse. Original and restored house posts contribute to the cultural and historic importance of the building. A short trail leads from the Whale House to Kasaan Cemetery, which includes the grave of Chief Son-i-Hat, who died in 1912. Visitors may enjoy the remote setting but should remain mindful of the sacredness of the site. Guided tours are available by contacting O.V.K. at 907-542-2230. The local ANCSA village corporation, KAVILCO, and O.V.K. joined efforts to restore Whale House. Details on donating are at www.kasaan.org; donations are tax deductible.

The City of Kasaan and the local tribe, Organized Village of Kasaan (O.V.K.), offer accommodations and vehicle rental by reservation.