A look into the past: CAA Station, Kenai, 1946

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2002

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) built this flight control center on the Kenai River bluff near the present Kenai Senior Citizens Center in 1946.

They placed the station on top of the Dena'ina village of Shk'ituk't (we slide down place). Shk'ituk't appears on an 1869 Fort Kenai map, an early 20th century cannery map, and on the U.S. census of 1900 as "Old Kenai."

Much of the village, including the graves, was bulldozed over the bluff by the CAA when building this complex. Artifacts, however, continued to emerge from gardening activities during the '50s and '60s and it is possible some evidence of Shk'ituk't remains.

A number of families, some of whom still reside in this area, lived and worked at the site that later became the Federal Aeronautics Administration. They include Larry and Lou Lawton, Harry and Marie Griffiths, Ken and Norma Jordan, Frank and Opal Hall, Bruce and Elaine Wright and Johanna Hollier (before her marriage to Ed).

In later years, the clearing was used as a youth football field. Improperly dumped toxic waste has been reported from the site. Upon resolving that issue, the city of Kenai has proposed construction of a hotel or convention complex.

This text was written by Marge Mullen and Alan Boraas. The photograph is part of the photograph archives of the Anthropology Lab at Kenai Peninsula College.

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