Chief Son-I-Hat’s Whale House and Totems Historic District, Whale House – Kasaan AK

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Description

The Whale House at the Chief Son-I-Hat’s Whale House and Totems Historic District was built during the 1880s at Old Kasaan. Around 1904, Chief Son-I-Hat moved from the old village to a new site at Kasaan Bay called Kasaan or New Kasaan. The Chief also moved his Whale House and entrance totem to the new site.

A registration form of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) describes the role of the CCC in the restoration of the Whale House: “It is not known if Son-I-Hat or one of his sons actually lived in the Whale House at Kasaan, however it was used for social events. Chief Son-I-Hat died in 1904 and is buried in the southern cemetery (included in the historic district). A 1914 photograph of the house shows loose and missing wall planks. When the Civilian Conservation Corps documented the building prior to restoring it in 1938, only the frame stood. It was recorded as measuring 45 feet square. The frame included three carved and painted house posts on the north wall. As part of the CCC project, the U.S. Forest Service moved eight additional poles from Old Kasaan to Kasaan. Over the next two years, local Native men repaired several of the totem poles and carved several replacements. The poles were placed east of the Whale House to create a park.”

Source notes

National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Chief Son-I-Hat's Whale House and Totems Historic District, accessed on June 20, 2017.

Wikipedia Page for the Chief Son-I-Hat's Whale House and Totems Historic District, accessed on June 20, 2017.

National Park Service Page for the Chief Son-I-Hat's Whale House and Totems Historic District, accessed on June 20, 2017.

Forrest, Linn A. Notes relative to the original construction and the reconstruction of Chief Sonihat's Whale House, New Kasaan, P.W.I. November 22, 1938. Copy in files at Kavilco, Inc., Kasaan, Alaska.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on June 21, 2017.

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Location Info


Totem Park Trail
Kasaan, AK

Coordinates: 55.539665964565415, -132.40735633232418

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