Haines is located on a narrow peninsula
extending into Lynn Canal, between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Inlets, 80
air miles northwest of Juneau. It is just south of the Canadian border
at British Columbia, 775 road miles from Anchorage. It lies at
approximately 59░ 14' N Latitude, 135░ 26' W Longitude (Sec. 34, T030S,
R059E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Haines
Recording District. The area encompasses 8 sq. miles of land and 7 sq.
miles of water.
The Haines area was called "Dtehshuh"
by the Chilkat Indians, meaning "end of the trail." It was a trading
post for both the Chilkat and Interior Indians. The first non-Native to
settle here was George Dickinson, an agent for the North West Trading
Co., in 1880. In 1881, S. Young Hall, a Presbyterian minister, received
permission from the Chilkat Indians to build the Willard mission and
school. The mission was renamed Haines in 1884 in honor of Mrs. F.E.
Haines, who chaired the National Committee that had raised funds for the
mission's construction. Four canneries had been constructed in the area
by the turn of the century. During the Klondike gold rush in the late
1890s, it grew as a mining supply center, since the Dalton Trail from
Chilkat Inlet to Whitehorse offered an easier route to the Yukon for
prospectors. Gold was also discovered 36 miles from Haines in 1899 at
the Porcupine District.
first permanent U.S. military installation was constructed south of
Haines in 1904, Fort William H. Seward. In 1922, the fort was renamed
Chilkoot Barracks. Until World War II, it was the only U.S. Army post in
Alaska. It was deactivated in 1946 and sold as surplus property to a
group of veterans who established it as Port Chilkoot. In 1970, Port
Chilkoot merged with Haines into one municipality. In 1972, the post was
designated a national historic site and the name, Fort William Steward,
was restored. Haines is also known for its famous strawberries; the
Alaskan hybrid "Burbank," developed by Charles Anway, was a prize winner
in Seattle in 1909. The annual strawberry festival developed into the
Southeast Alaska State Fair, which draws thousands of visitors each
year. The last of the early canneries closed in 1972 due to declining
fish stocks. Expansion of the timber industry in the early 1970s fueled
growth. The sawmills closed in 1976. Tourism is now an important source
of income in the community.