The area around Yakutat served for centuries as a winter village for the Eyaks, a people with links to both the Tlingits to the east and Athabascans to the north. In 1805 the Russian-American Company built a fort at Yakutat, using it as a base for the harvesting of sea otters. The post was later destroyed by the Eyaks. Gold seekers came to the area in the 1860s, mining the black-sand beaches, followed by missionaries, loggers, and fishers.
During World War II, Yakutat was home to an aviation base, and the long paved runway that was developed now serves as the local airport. Quite a few military bunkers, gun emplacements, and other signs of the war are still visible. Today, commercial and sportfishing provide most of the local jobs. More than half of the people who live in Yakutat are Native Alaskans.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition