Athabascan Indians, Aleuts and Eskimos have camped at Seldovia for hundreds of years, but its modern history began in the late 1800s when Mikhail Dmityrievich Teben'kov, chief manager of the Russian Colonials in North America sent Captain Arch Mandritov to explore Cook Inlet, including the area that was to become Seldovia.
Russians and Natives, who engaged in fur trading, settled here and by the 1870s Seldovia was a thriving community. Over the years, the processing of herring, crab and salmon have been important industries. At the turn of the century, Seldovia was a stop for prospectors en route to the gold fields further north. A herring boom in the 1920s brought Scandinavians to town and they stayed to fish salmon, halibut and crab.
In 1931 a wooden boardwalk was built along the waterfront to facilitate travel through town. Businesses set on piles flourished along the wooden walkway, and Seldovia become known through Southcentral Alaska as "The Boardwalk Town." The boardwalk was also a social gathering place. Even today, the charm of old Seldovia remains as does an original section of the boardwalk along the slough.
The 1964 earthquake changed Seldovia. The land mass fell four feet allowing high tides to wash away the boardwalk, houses and stores.
During the rebuild, the waterfront boardwalk was replaced with fill so that the town could be constructed on higher grounds and protected from high tides. Today, Seldovia is an active community that welcomes visitors to experience one of Alaska’s beautiful coastal communities.
Seldovia has the northern most ice-free harbor in the United States—an advantage when it comes to commercial fishing here in Alaska. Seldovia has a long history of commercial fishing, and up to four canneries used to be alongside the waterfront which included the Cook Inlet Packing Company, Squeaky's Cannery (Squeaky was a commodore in the navy when the US forces landed at Attu in the 1940s), AYR (All Year Round Cannery), and Shellfish Cannery.
Fisherman preferred to deliver their fish in Seldovia, saving much time and fuel costs. Because Seldovia was the port of entry between Anchorage and Seattle, it was an easy stop to pick up containers and materials for fishing.
Seldovia has a history of canning both Pinks and Chums. While they are not considered the highest quality of the salmon species compared to Kings and Reds, they are in high demand, creating a great opportunity for “added value products,” such as jerky and pet food.
Seldovia is near Homer and is a beautiful reminder of what coastal Alaska was like in the past. You can take a water taxi, ferry, local air taxi or charter a boar to visit this unique community.
Before the Great Alaskan Earthquake and the building of the road between Anchorage and Homer, Seldovia had been for a century, the port of entry for the main land of central Alaska. It is also the furthest north ice-free harbor in Alaska.
Being off the "road system" in Alaska and only accessible by boat or plane, Seldovia has retained her secluded charm. Stepping off any boat in her harbor is like going back in time, no hurry, absolutely astonishing settings, nested alongside beautiful mountain and crystal clear water. The people are proud and have learned for centuries how to live off the land and the ocean. In this world of "processed foods" we take pride in knowing that we have access to the most natural fish available.