Bethel was first established by Yup'ik Eskimos who called the village "Mumtrekhlogamute," meaning "Smokehouse People," named for the nearby fish smokehouse. There were 41 people in Bethel during the 1880 U.S. Census. At that time, it was an Alaska Commercial Company Trading Post. The Moravian Church established a mission in the area in 1884. The community was moved to its present location due to erosion at the prior site. A post office was opened in 1905. Before long, Bethel was serving as a trading, transportation and distribution center for the region, which attracted Natives from surrounding villages. Over time, federal and state agencies established regional offices in Bethel.
To Community Histories Index Alaska DCCED Community Database Online
History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development