Kasaan is situated on the east side of
Prince of Wales Island on Kasaan Bay, 30 miles northwest of Ketchikan.
It lies at approximately 55░ 32' N Latitude, 132░ 23' W Longitude (Sec.
18, T073S, R086E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in
the Ketchikan Recording District. The area encompasses 5 sq. miles of
land and 0 sq. miles of water.
Tlingit territory, Kasaan gets its name from the Tlingit word meaning
"pretty town." Haidas migrated north from the Queen Charlotte Islands in
the early 1700s to the Island and established the village now known as
"Old Kasaan," 7 miles south on Skowl Arm. In 1892 the Copper Queen mine,
camp, sawmill, post office and store were built on Kasaan Bay, and the
Haida people relocated to this new village.
In 1902 the first salmon cannery was
constructed in Kasaan. The cannery burned in 1907, 1910 and again in
1911, but was rebuilt each season. The cannery operated sporadically
until 1953. During this time, Kasaan had a school, three stores, a
Presbyterian Church and other businesses. Chief Sonihat built the Whale
House, a traditional long house which became the focus of the new Kasaan
Totem Park, established during the 1930s. Many of the totems left from
the old village site were moved to the park in 1938. Kavilco, Inc., the
local village corporation, purchased the old cannery buildings and
property in 1974, and in 1980 removed the cannery buildings. Remnants of
the historical Karta River village and petroglyphs lie north of the
city, and the Old Tom Creek village and fort lie south of the city.