Kenai, Alaska: Wikis


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Kenai, Alaska
—  City  —
Location of Kenai, Alaska
Kenai, Alaska is located in Alaska
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
 - 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 (2007)[1]
 - Total 7,686
 Density 232.2/sq mi (89.7/km2)
Time zone Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
 - Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)
ZIP codes 99611, 99635
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-38420
GNIS feature ID 1413299

Kenai (pronounced /ˈkiːnaɪ/) is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 7,464.[2]



Kenai (pronounced kee-nye) 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)[3].

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 (92.0 km²), of which, 29.9 square miles (77.4 km²) of it is land and 5.6 square miles (14.6 km²) of it (15.85%) is water.


As of the census[4] of 2000, 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/sq mi (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 population was spread out with 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.

Population of Kenai[5]
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1940 300
1950 600 100.0%
1960 900 50.0%
1970 3,500 288.9%
1980 4,300 22.9%
1990 6,327 47.1%
2000 6,942 9.7%


Kenai is named after the Kenai Peninsula. The name Kenai is probably derived from Kenayskaya, the Russian name for the Cook Inlet and translates to "flat, barren land". Or, it could refer to the Inuit word kenai (black bear).[6]

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, which means "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," or "Kenai people."

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 when what is dubbed the battle of Kenai, an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, resulting in over one hundred deaths 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, Kenai was named one of the All American Cities of that year.

See also


  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alaska". United States Census Bureau. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Alaska" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2006. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ It may also be named after the Kenaitze Indian tribe, who were the original inhabitants. David Lickley. (2001). Bears (Large Format). [DVD]. various: National Wildlife Federation. 
  7. ^ Welker, Randy S. (1993-07-09). 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.

External links


Simple English

Kenai is a city in Alaska.


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