Welcome to the Genealogy Trails website for Haines Borough, Alaska
Our goal is to help you track your ancestors through time by transcribing genealogical and historical data and
placing it online for the free use of all researchers. This is a continuation of our original Illinois Trails History and Genealogy Project
and we are excited about this opportunity to expand into other states.
We welcome your feedback and comments, and of course, your data contributions. If you have transcribed data that
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in joining our group as host of this site, view our Volunteer Page for further information
Cities and towns
Covenant Life ~Excursion Inlet ~ Haines ~ Lutak ~ Mosquito Lake ~ Mud Bay
Location and Climate
Haines Borough is located on the shores of the Lynn Canal, between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers, 80 air miles
northwest of Juneau. It is just south of the Canadian border at British Columbia, 85 air miles north of Juneau
and 600 air miles southeast of Anchorage and Fairbanks. By road, it is 775 miles from Anchorage. It lies at approximately
59.233330° North Latitude and -135.433330° West Longitude . The area encompasses 2,343.7 sq. miles of land
and 382.1 sq. miles of water. Haines experiences a maritime climate characterized by cool summers and mild winters.
Summer temperatures range from 50 to 70; winter temperatures range from 10 to 35.
History, Culture and Demographics
The Haines area was called "Dei Shu" by the Tlingit, meaning "end of the trail." The Chilkat
Tlingit controlled the trading routes between the coast and the Interior. The first non-Native to settle here was
George Dickinson, an agent for the North West Trading Co., in 1880. In 1881, S. Young Hall, a Presbyterian minister,
received permission from the Chilkat to build the Willard Mission and school. The mission was renamed Haines in
1884 in honor of Mrs. F.E. Haines, Secretary of the Presbyterian Women's Executive Society of Home Missions, who
had raised funds for the mission's construction. During the Klondike gold rush in the late 1890s, it grew as a
mining supply center, since the Dalton Trail from Chilkat Inlet to Whitehorse offered an easier route to the Yukon
for prospectors. Gold was also discovered 36 miles from Haines in 1899 at the Porcupine District. Four canneries
had been constructed in the area by the turn of the century.
The first permanent U.S. military installation was constructed south of Haines in 1904, Fort William H. Seward.
In 1922, the fort was renamed Chilkoot Barracks. Until World War II, it was the only U.S. Army post in Alaska.
It was deactivated in 1946 and sold as surplus property to a group of veterans who established it as Port Chilkoot.
The City of Port Chilkoot was incorporated in 1956. Haines Borough formed as a third-class borough on August 29,
1968. In 1970, Port Chilkoot merged with Haines into the City of Haines. In 1972, the post was designated a national
historic site and the name, Fort William Seward, was restored. The last of the early canneries closed in 1972 due
to declining fish stocks. Expansion of the timber industry in the early 1970s fueled growth. In 1974, the Borough
annexed 420 square miles to the south, including Excursion Inlet. In 1978, it annexed the former military petroleum
distribution facility at Lutak Inlet. The City of Haines and the Haines Borough were consolidated on October 17,
2002, resulting in the establishment of a home-rule borough.
The population of the community consists of 15.6% Alaska Native or part Native. Haines is home to the world's largest
congregation of bald eagles, who feed from the warm spring-fed rivers. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is a major
attraction in Southeast.
Economy and Transportation
The Borough School District, retail trade, business and transportation services, fishing and forestry provide the
majority of employment in the Borough. 128 area residents hold commercial fishing permits. Many jobs are seasonal.
Tourism and the traffic Haines draws as a result of its road connection to the State Ferry are important. In 2001,
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ceased serving Haines as a port of call. Today, around 45,000 cruise ship passengers
visit yearly. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve draws visitors from around the world.
Haines is a major trans-shipment point because of its ice-free, deep water port and dock, and year-round road access
to Canada and Interior Alaska. It is a northern terminus of the Alaska State Ferry System, and a hub for transportation
to and from southeast Alaska.
Around November of each year, eagles descend in mass to feast on one of the salmon runs. Many photographers come
to attain easily-accessible photos of eagles.
The borough seat is Haines. Haines is the only incorporated place.