Kenai, Alaska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the city in Alaska. For other uses, see Kenai (disambiguation).
Kenai, Alaska (Shk'ituk't)
City
Aerial view of part of downtown Kenai.  The intersection of Willow Street and Barnacle Way is in the center of the foreground.  Cook Inlet and Mount Redoubt are in the background.
Aerial view of part of downtown Kenai. The intersection of Willow Street and Barnacle Way is in the center of the foreground. Cook Inlet and Mount Redoubt are in the background.
Motto: "Village with a Past - City with a Future"
Location of Kenai, Alaska
Location of Kenai, Alaska
Coordinates: 60°33′31″N 151°13′47″W / 60.55861°N 151.22972°W / 60.55861; -151.22972Coordinates: 60°33′31″N 151°13′47″W / 60.55861°N 151.22972°W / 60.55861; -151.22972
Country United States
State Alaska
Borough Kenai Peninsula
Incorporated May 10, 1960[1]
Government
 • Mayor Patricia "Pat" Porter[2]
Area
 • Total 35.5 sq mi (92.0 km2)
 • Land 29.9 sq mi (77.4 km2)
 • Water 5.6 sq mi (14.6 km2)
Elevation 72 ft (22 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 7,100 Ranked 14th
Time zone Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
 • Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)
ZIP codes 99611, 99635
Area code 907
FIPS code 02-38420
GNIS feature ID 1413299, 2419407
Website www.ci.kenai.ak.us

Kenai (/ˈkn/, KEY-nigh)[4] (Dena'ina: Shk'ituk't) is a city[3][5] in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 6,942 at the 2000 census[6] and 7,100 as of the 2010 census.[3]

History[edit]

The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena'ina (Tanaina) word 'ken' or 'kena', which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge', according to the Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena'ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D.

Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena'ina village called Shk'ituk't, meaning "where we slide down." When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village. The traders called the people "Kenaitze", which is a Russian term for "people of the flats", or "Kenai people". This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.

In 1791, a Russian trading post, Fort St. Nicholas, was constructed in the middle of the village for the purposes of fur and fish trading. It was the second permanent Russian settlement in Alaska.

Hostilities surfaced between the natives and settlers in 1797, culminating in an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, later dubbed the battle of Kenai. Over one hundred deaths occurred from all involved parties. Later, in 1838, the introduction of smallpox killed one half of the Dena'ina population.

In 1869, after the Alaska Purchase, the United States Army established a post called Fort Kenay. It was soon abandoned.

In 1888 a prospector named Alexander King discovered gold on the Kenai Peninsula. The amount of gold was small compared to the later gold finds in the Klondike, Nome and Fairbanks.

In 1894, the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church was built in the village. It is still in use today.

The establishment of shipping companies in the early 1900s broadened Kenai into a port city. Canning companies were established and helped fuel the commercial fishing boom that was the primary activity through the 1920s. In 1937, construction of the Kenai Airport began.

In 1940, homesteads were opened in the area. The first dirt road from Anchorage was constructed in 1951; pavement would not arrive until 1956 with the construction of the Kenai Spur highway.

A military base, Wildwood Army Station (later Wildwood Air Force Station), was established in 1953, and served as a major communications post. Wildwood was conveyed in 1974 to the Kenai Native Association in partial settlement of Alaska Native land claims. The facility was leased and later purchased by the State of Alaska and presently serves as the Wildwood Correctional Complex.[7][8]

In 1957, oil was discovered at Swanson River, 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Kenai. This was the first major oil discovery in Alaska. In 1965, offshore oil discoveries in Cook Inlet caused a period of rapid growth.

In 1992 and 2011, Kenai was named one of the All-America Cities.

Geography and climate[edit]

Kenai is located at 60°33′31″N 151°13′47″W / 60.55861°N 151.22972°W / 60.55861; -151.22972 (60.558738, −151.229616).[9]

Kenai is located on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula near the outlet of the Kenai River to the Cook Inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.5 square miles (92 km2), of which, 29.9 square miles (77 km2) of it is land and 5.6 square miles (15 km2) of it (15.85%) is water.

As with much of South Central Alaska, Kenai has a moderate subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) due to the cool summers. Winters are snowy, long but not particularly cold, especially considering the latitude, with January featuring a daily average temperature of 15.8 °F (−9.0 °C). Snow averages 63.6 inches (162 cm) per season, falling primarily from October thru March, with some accumulation in April, and rarely in May or September. There are 37 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually, and the area lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4,[10] indicating an average annual minimum in the −20 to −30 °F (−29 to −34 °C) range. Summers are cool due to the marine influence, with 75 °F (24 °C)+ highs or 55 °F (13 °C)+ lows being extremely rare. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −48 °F (−44 °C) on February 4, 1947 up to 93 °F (34 °C) on June 14, 1969.

Climate data for Kenai, Alaska (Kenai Municipal Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 49
(9)
52
(11)
59
(15)
69
(21)
82
(28)
93
(34)
85
(29)
86
(30)
75
(24)
63
(17)
59
(15)
56
(13)
93
(34)
Average high °F (°C) 23.2
(−4.9)
27.5
(−2.5)
33.8
(1)
43.6
(6.4)
54.3
(12.4)
60.0
(15.6)
62.7
(17.1)
62.4
(16.9)
55.4
(13)
42.0
(5.6)
29.7
(−1.3)
25.5
(−3.6)
43.3
(6.3)
Average low °F (°C) 8.3
(−13.2)
10.6
(−11.9)
16.2
(−8.8)
27.3
(−2.6)
36.1
(2.3)
43.5
(6.4)
48.6
(9.2)
46.2
(7.9)
39.3
(4.1)
27.6
(−2.4)
15.2
(−9.3)
11.4
(−11.4)
27.5
(−2.5)
Record low °F (°C) −47
(−44)
−48
(−44)
−41
(−41)
−22
(−30)
12
(−11)
26
(−3)
27
(−3)
24
(−4)
11
(−12)
−12
(−24)
−27
(−33)
−43
(−42)
−48
(−44)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.96
(24.4)
0.87
(22.1)
0.64
(16.3)
0.59
(15)
0.91
(23.1)
1.07
(27.2)
1.84
(46.7)
2.68
(68.1)
3.27
(83.1)
2.63
(66.8)
1.47
(37.3)
1.35
(34.3)
18.28
(464.4)
Snowfall inches (cm) 9.5
(24.1)
9.6
(24.4)
8.7
(22.1)
2.0
(5.1)
0.2
(0.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
6.6
(16.8)
12.7
(32.3)
14.2
(36.1)
63.6
(161.5)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.1 8.1 6.4 5.7 8.4 9.6 12.5 13.7 15.7 12.8 10.3 11.4 123.6
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 7.4 6.4 5.0 1.8 0.1 0 0 0 0.1 2.9 6.8 9.1 39.5
Source: NOAA (snow 1981–2000, extremes 1899–present)[11]

Transportation[edit]

The main road access to Kenai is via the Kenai Spur Highway. Although many fishing boats are based in Kenai it does not have a formal port and harbor. There are docks for offloading the catch, but commercial fishing boats are generally moored offshore in the Kenai River. The nearest deep water port is in Nikiski. The Kenai Airport has regularly scheduled flights to Anchorage.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census of 2000,[6] there were 6,942 people, 2,622 households, and 1,788 families residing in the city. The population density was 232.2 people per square mile (89.6/km²). There were 3,003 housing units at an average density of 100.4 per square mile (38.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.76% White, 0.49% Black or African American, 8.74% Native American, 1.66% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 5.00% from two or more races. 3.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,622 households out of which 40.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 32.8% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,962, and the median income for a family was $56,856. Males had a median income of $48,371 versus $27,112 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,789. About 8.2% of families and 9.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 290
1910 250 −13.8%
1920 232 −7.2%
1930 286 23.3%
1940 303 5.9%
1950 321 5.9%
1960 778 142.4%
1970 3,533 354.1%
1980 4,324 22.4%
1990 6,327 46.3%
2000 6,942 9.7%
2010 7,100 2.3%
source:[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Directory of Borough and City Officials 1974". Alaska Local Government (Juneau: Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs) XIII (2): 45. January 1974. 
  2. ^ "Community: Kenai". Community Database Online. Juneau: Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Division of Community and Regional Affairs. February 11, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Kenai city, Alaska". Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Kenai". Division of Community and Regional Affairs, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Alaska Taxable 2011: Municipal Taxation - Rates and Policies" (PDF). Division of Community and Regional Affairs, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Welker, Randy S. (July 9, 1993). Department of Corrections: Wildwood Correctional Center Acquisition. Alaska Division of Legislative Audit. Audit control no. 20-4471-93. Retrieved on 2007-03-12.
  8. ^ Alaska Department of Corrections. Wildwood Correctional Complex (official site). Retrieved on 2007-03-12.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-01-13. 

External links[edit]