Holy Cross is located in Interior Alaska
on the west bank of Ghost Creek Slough off the Yukon River. It is 40
miles northwest of Aniak and 420 miles southwest of Fairbanks. It lies
at approximately 62░ 12' N Latitude, 159░ 46' W Longitude (Sec. 05,
T024N, R057W, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the
Kuskokwim Recording District. The area encompasses 31 sq. miles of land
and 6 sq. miles of water.
Cross first had contact with Europeans in the early 1840s, when Russian
explorers led by Lt. Zagoskin traveled the Yukon River. They reported "Anilukhtakpak,"
with 170 people. In 1880, the village was reported as "Askhomute," with
30 residents. A Catholic mission and school were established in the
1880s by Father Aloysius Robaut, who came to Alaska across the Chilkoot
Trail. Ingalik Indians migrated to Holy Cross to be near the mission and
school. A post office was opened in 1899 under the name "Koserefsky." In
1912, the name of the town was changed to "Holy Cross," after the
mission. In the 1930s and 40s, sternwheelers brought the mail and
supplies two or three times a year. The course of the River changed
during the 1930s, and by the mid-40s, the slough on which the village is
now located was formed. The mission Church and many additional buildings
were torn down after the boarding school ceased operations in 1956.