Wood River and Aleknagik Lake have been used historically as summer fish camps. Aleknagik means "Wrong Way Home," because Natives returning to their homes along the Nushagak River would sometimes become lost in the fog and find themselves swept up the Wood River with the tide, inadvertently arriving at Aleknagik Lake. The 1929 U.S. Census found 55 people living in the "Wood River village" area to the south. During 1930, their were five families living on the shores of the lake year-round, the Waskeys. Polleys, Hansons, Yakos, and Smiths. A log cabin territorial school was built on the south shore of the lake in 1933, and Josie Waskey was the first teacher. Attracted by the school, other facilities, and plentiful fish, game and timber, a number of families from Goodnews, Togiak, and Kulukak area relocated to Aleknagik. A post office was established in 1937. A two-story framed school with a teacher apartment was constructed in 1938. By 1939, Aleknagik had 78 residents, over 30 buildings, and a small sawmill. In the late 1940s, a Seventh-Day Adventist Mission and School was established on the north shore. During the 1950s, a Moravian Church and a Russian Orthodox Church were built in Aleknagik and over 35 families lived along the lake. In 1959, the state constructed a 25-mile road connecting the south shore to Dillingham. The road was passable only during the summer months, until the late 1980s, when it was upgraded and maintained year-round.
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