Nikolski is located on Nikolski Bay, off
the southwest end of Umnak Island, one of the Fox Islands. It lies 116
air miles west of Unalaska, and 900 air miles from Anchorage. It lies at
approximately 52░ 56' N Latitude, 168░ 51' W Longitude (Sec. 04, T084S,
R136W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Aleutian
Islands Recording District. The area encompasses 88 sq. miles of land
and 116 sq. miles of water.
is reputed by some to be the oldest continuously-occupied community in
the world. Archaeological evidence from Ananiuliak Island, on the north
side of Nikolski Bay, dates as far back as 8,500 years ago. The Chaluka
archaeological site, in the village of Nikolski, indicates 4,000 years
of virtually continuous occupation. People were living in Nikloski
before the pyramids were built, the Mayan calendar was invented, or the
Chinese language was written. In 1834, it was the site of sea otter
hunting, and was recorded by the Russians as "Recheshnoe," which means
"river." In 1920, a boom in fox farming occurred here. The Aleuts became
affluent enough to purchase a relatively large boat, the "Umnak Native,"
which was wrecked in 1933. A sheep ranch was established in 1926 as part
of the Aleutian Livestock Company.
In June 1942, when the Japanese
attacked Unalaska and seized Attu and Kiska, residents were evacuated to
the Ketchikan area. Locals were allowed to return in 1944, but the
exposure to the outside world brought about many changes in the
traditional lifestyle and community attitudes. In the 1950s, the Air
Force constructed a White Alice radar communication site here, which
provided some jobs. It was abandoned in late 1977.