Early residents homesteaded in the area around the turn of the century, when it was known as West Petersburg. The first business in Kupreanof was a small sawmill started in 1911 by the Knudsen brothers. In its early years, the mill produced barrels for salted fish which were shipped out of Petersburg. The Yukon Fur Farm began raising foxes in the early 1920s, but shortly shifted to mink. It became the first mink farm in Alaska. During the 1920s, over 100 persons resided in West Petersburg. In addition to the sawmill, residents operated a small store, a gaff hook factory, operated one of several mink ranches, or were involved in commercial fishing. During the 1930s and 40s, a small ship repair facility, an outboard motor shop, commercial logging, a clam cannery, and a barrel-maker were operating. Although the Knudsen Mill and the Yukon Fur Farm continued into the 1960s, the economics of living on the Island became more difficult. The population fell from 60 in 1950 to 26 in 1960. The population has since remained stable. Kupreanof was named after the Island when it incorporated as a second class city in 1975 to forestall annexation by Petersburg and to protect the tranquil, self-sufficient lifestyle that characterizes the community.
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