Aniak is a Yup'ik word meaning "the place where it comes out," which refers to the mouth of the Aniak River. This river played a key role in the placer gold rush of 1900-01. In 1914, Tom L. Johnson homesteaded the site and opened a store and post office. The Yup'ik village of Aniak had been abandoned long before this time. Eskimos Willie Pete and Sam Simeon brought their families from Ohagamuit to Aniak, which reestablished the Native community. A Russian-era trader named Semen Lukin is credited with the discovery of gold near Aniak in 1932. A Territorial school opened in 1936. Construction of an airfield began in 1939, followed by the erection of the White Alice radar-relay station in 1956, which closed in 1978.
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