Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Old Kasaan

Old Kasaan, or "beautiful town", was situated on Skowl Arm, Prince of Wales Island. Chief Skowl was a firm defender of Native customs against Russian Orthodox missionaries during Russian rule. At the end of the nineteenth century, Kasaan had seventeen lodges and sixty of the finest poles in Alaska, and was a favourite stop for summer tourists during the Gay '90s. It was set aside as a U.S. National Monument in 1907, and so proclaimed in 1916. Deserted and neglected, in 1954 the U.S. Government abolished its status as a National Monument and left the old site to the encroaching forest. (see http://www.civilization.ca for more info.)

Haida totem poles and lodges at the village of old Kasaan, ca. 1897.

Haida totem poles at Old Kasaan village site, ca. 1925