Saxman is located on the west side of
Revillagigedo Island, 3 miles south of Ketchikan on the South Tongass
Highway. It lies at approximately 55░ 19' N Latitude, 131░ 35' W
Longitude (Sec. 33, T075S, R091E, Copper River Meridian). The community
is located in the Ketchikan Recording District. The area encompasses 1
sq. miles of land and 0 sq. miles of water.
1886, Tlingits from the old villages of Tongass and Cape Fox wanted a
new site to construct a central BIA school and Presbyterian Church. The
village subsequently was named for Samuel Saxman, a Presbyterian teacher
who was lost at sea with a Cape Fox elder while searching for the new
site. By 1894, the new village site was chosen, ideally located on a
protected harbor off the Tongass Narrows. A small sawmill was built and
construction of the school and houses began immediately. Fishing and
cutting lumber for the growing towns of Saxman and Ketchikan were the
economic mainstays of the new village. By 1900, 142 people were living
in Saxman. In 1929, the community incorporated as a City. During the
1930s, many totem poles and ceremonial artifacts, such as carvings and
masks, were retrieved by the Civilian Conservation Corps from the
abandoned villages at Cape Fox, Tongass, Cat Island and Pennock Island.
Totem poles were restored and relocated to Saxman as part of a U.S.
Forest Service program. A rail-barge terminal at the Saxman Seaport was
completed in 1967; it serves as the Ketchikan's major cargo container