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 Douglas, Alaska is a community on Douglas Island in southeastern Alaska, directly across the Gastineau Channel from downtown Juneau.

Today, Douglas is a residential community on Douglas Island and the only traditional school left on Douglas is Gastineau Elementary, which serves all the Douglas Island elementary aged students. The Douglas Public Library is part of the Capital City Libraries, and a couple restaurants and bars exist (The Island Pub, The Douglas Inn, and The Douglas Café). The town’s population dropped over the years, but recently is up to about 3000 people, or close to 10 percent of the City and Borough of Juneau’s population. Douglas gets its water and electricity from Juneau and has a mix of onsite and municipal (diverted to Juneau) wastewater treatment.

The Alaska Department of Corrections has its headquarters in Douglas.

The town was established as a result of mining activity which commenced on the island early in 1881 and grew with the development of the Treadwell mines on its southeastern boundary. The first house in Douglas, a log cabin, was reported to have been built by William Newcomer in 1881. The community was for some time called Edwardsville, perhaps for H. J. Edwards, an early miner and resident. This name was in use at least as late as 1886. The post office, Douglas, was established on September 28, 1887, but the town was frequently called Douglas City. By 1890 the population was 402 and in 1900 it had reached 825. Douglas became an incorporated city on March 29, 1902. By 1910 the population had grown to 1722, but after that the town was struck by a series of disasters. A fire on March 9, 1911 destroyed 16 business buildings, including two hotels. On April 2, 1917, the Treadwell and Mexican mine workings were flooded when a portion under Gastineau Channel caved in and hundreds of men were out of work. By 1920 the population had dwindled to 919. Fire struck again on October 10, 1926, burning the entire eastern part of the town including the Indian village and most of adjoining Treadwell. In 1929 the population was 593. Another fire, on February 23, 1937, leveled a great deal of the remaining part of Douglas, including the school, post office, city hall and fire hall. The population by 1939 had dropped to 522. After that year it began to increase and in 1950 had reached 699. Douglas is currently part of the Juneau City and Borough. Douglas Island - is separated by Gastineau Channel from the mainland and by Stephens Passage from Admiralty Island. It is the 17th island in area in Southeast Alaska with an area of 78 miles in length and eight miles wide at its widest point with a shoreline measuring 42 miles. The island was named by the English explorer, Captain George Vancouver, in 1794 for John Douglas, then Bishop of Salisbury. Douglas was born at Fife, Scotland, in 1721. An author and ecclesiastic, he became Dean of Windsor in 1888 and Bishop of Salisbury in 1791 and held the latter office until his death in 1807. Point Salisbury on the mainland opposite the lower end of Douglas Island was also named for him. Ferry Way - a narrow street now running from South Franklin Street to Marine Way and the waterfront. Originally this was the approach to the wharf and float of the Juneau Ferry and Navigation Company and today it is the principal reminder of the passenger ferry service operated for many years between Juneau, Douglas, Treadwell, and Thane. Ferry service across the channel began soon after the opening of the Treadwell mines and was first conducted with rowboats and sailing sloops. By 1887 there was a steam ferry making three scheduled trips a day. At sailing time, however, the ferryman went around town blowing a horn and if too few customers showed up to make a trip pay, he postponed the sailing until the number increased sufficiently. Although there were several rival ferry companies at different times, the longest lived was the Juneau Ferry and Navigation Company which operated an number of vessels including the Lone Fisherman, Flosie, Teddy, Amy, and Alma. The last ferry trip was made on October 31, 1935, following the opening of the Douglas Bridge.




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