The History of Ninilchik

Ninilchik lies on the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula on the Sterling Highway, 38 miles southwest of the City of Kenai, and 188 road miles from Anchorage. It lies at approximately 60 03' N Latitude, 151 40' W Longitude (Sec. 34, T001S, R014W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Homer Recording District. The area encompasses 38 sq. miles of land and 37 sq. miles of water.

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. Grigorii was a Russian Orthodox missionary from Moscow, and Mavra was a Russian-Sugpiaq from Kodiak - the daughter of Efim Rastorguev, a Russian shipbuilder, and Agrafena Petrovna, a Sugpiaq from Kodiak. The Transfiguration of Our Lord Russian Orthodox Church was constructed in 1846. By 1880, the U.S. Census found 53 "Creoles" living in Ninilchik. They subsisted on hunting, fur trapping, fishing, gardening and gold panning. All nine original Native founding families of Ninilchik are descendants of the Kvasnikoffs. In 1896, a school was built, and in 1901, the Russian Orthodox Church was redesigned and constructed at its current site. A post office was established in 1925. The 1940s brought a number of homesteaders to the area. In 1949, Berman Packing Company began fish canning operations. In 1950, the Sterling Highway had been completed through Ninilchik.


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