Area: 45.3 square miles
Population: 2,308 (2000 census)
Nestled on an island at the mouth of the mighty Stikine River, Wrangell offers visitors a friendly taste of a frontier community in the midst of some of the most unique and pristine wilderness in Alaska. Known as the "Gateway to the Stikine", Wrangell offers a step back into time. There is much to immerse yourself in. Walk among petroglyphs and imagine the people who carved them thousands of years ago. Visit chief Shakes Tribal House, Totem Park and the Wrangell Museum for a glimpse in to the tlingit Native' way of life. Hike up to Rainbow Fall or stop and pick the abundant wild berries. Traverse the Stikine River Delta by jet boat, fly over majestic snowcapped mountains, rest in natural hot springs, or explore the Tongass National Forest.
Fishing and tourism have provided this community of 2,300 the basis of steady economic growth.
Wrangell was settled in 1834 by the Russians, who erected a stockade - Fort Dionysius - to prevent the Hudson's Bay Company from fur trading up the Stikine River. When the Russians finally leased Southeast Alaska to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1840, Fort Dionysius became Fort Stikine, a British fur trading post. The settlement was renamed Fort Wrangell when Alaska became a United States territory in 1867. Prospectors of two gold rushes surged through Wrangell en route to the gold fields via the Stikine River, first in 1874 with the Cassiar discovery, and again in 1897-1900 with the Klondike discovery.
Alaska's first Protestant (Presbyterian) church and American school were established here in 1877. A weekly newspaper, The Wrangell Sentinel, printed its first issue November 2, 1902, which makes it the oldest continuous publication in Alaska.
Wrangell Visitor's Center is in the Stikine Inn at 107 Stikine Avenue; 907-874-3901 or 1-800-367-9745.
Wrangell Medical Center: 874-7000, 310 Bennett Street