The History of Pelican

Pelican is located on the northwest coast of Chichagof Island on Lisianski Inlet. It lies 70 air miles north of Sitka and 70 miles west of Juneau. Most of the community is built on pilings over the tidelands. It lies at approximately 57 57' N Latitude, 136 13' W Longitude (Sec. 19, T045S, R057E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Sitka Recording District. The area encompasses 1 sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.

A cold storage plant was the first development at this site in 1938. Kalle (Charley) Raataikainen bought fish in this area, which he transported to Sitka. He chose this protected inlet as an ideal cold storage site, and named the place after his fish-packing vessel The Pelican. Two of his fish-buying scows were used as a cookhouse, mess hall, bunkhouse and warehouse, and the community of Pelican grew around this operation. A store, office, sawmill, post office and sauna had been erected by 1939. A school and cannery were developed in the 1940s. A boardwalk serves as the town's main thoroughfare, due to the lack of flat land.


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History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development