Nabesna, Alaska

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Nabesna is located in Alaska
Location within the state of Alaska
Coordinates: 62°22′16″N 143°00′50″W / 62.37117°N 143.01388°W / 62.37117; -143.01388Coordinates: 62°22′16″N 143°00′50″W / 62.37117°N 143.01388°W / 62.37117; -143.01388
CountryUnited States
Census areaValdez-Cordova
 • State senatorClick Bishop (R)
 • State rep.Dave Talerico (R)
2,979 ft (908 m)
 • Total5
Time zoneUTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
GNIS feature ID1406770[1]
Nabesna Gold Mine Historic District
Alaska Heritage Resources Survey
LocationBase of White Mountain at end of Nabesna Road
Coordinates62°22′18″N 143°00′45″W / 62.37171°N 143.01261°W / 62.37171; -143.01261
Area330.6 acres (133.8 ha)
Built1926 (1926)
Built byCarl F. Whitham
NRHP reference No.79003755[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 26, 1979
Designated AHRSMay 1, 1978

Nabesna (Nabaesna’ in Ahtna) is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in northern Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, in the northern part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. It lies along the Nabesna Road, a gravel road that connects it to the Tok Cut-Off at Slana.[3] Its elevation is 2,979 feet (908 m). Founded by and named for the Nabesna Mining Company, the community received a post office in 1909. Located at the base of White Mountain in the Wrangell Mountains, it lies west of the Nabesna River.[1] According to the 2010 Census, there were five people residing at this location.

Gold was discovered at White Mountain in 1891, and the site was first developed in the early 20th century. Through the efforts of Carl Whitham, the Nabesna Mining Company was formed in 1929, resulting in an expansion of the camp and the construction of Nabesna Road. The mine was closed during World War II, and only briefly reopened afterward, closing permanently after Whitham died in 1947. The location was used as a secret supply cache by the United States Army during the Cold War. The mine produced 2.5 short tons (2.3 t) of gold during its active period, as well as many tons of silver, copper, and lead.

The old mining camp, now a ghost town, and the mine were listed as the Nabesna Gold Mine Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[4][2]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

Nabesna first appeared on the 1930 U.S. Census as an unincorporated mining village. It appeared again in 1940 and 1950. It did not appear again until 2010, when it was made a census-designated place (CDP).

The Nabesna mining community is not to be confused with Nabesna native village, which was located west across the Nabesna River from present-day Northway Village (CDP). It also appeared on the 1940 U.S. Census showing 85 residents. There is some confusion as to which Nabesna appeared on the 1960 U.S. Census (showing 41 residents). The native village was reported to have flooded and residents left around 1950. Nabesna was merged with Northway on the 1950 census as "Northway-Nabesna." Some residents had earlier relocated from the native village upriver to the abandoned Reeve Airfield, adjacent to the Nabesna mining community after World War II.[6] Owing to the 1960 U.S. Census map showing Nabesna native village still in existence adjacent to Northway, that is given credence, but further research may be needed due to confirm if this is not erroneous. Nothing remains of that native village as of the 2010s.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Nabesna, Alaska". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Rand McNally. The Road Atlas '08. Chicago: Rand McNally, 2008, p. 6.
  4. ^ "NRHP nomination for Nabesna Gold Mine Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-03-11.
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^'49.1%22N+141%C2%B058'11.2%22W/@62.9803037,-141.969778,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d62.9803037!4d-141.969778