A Crows Eye View Of Port Graham

As told by xxxx toxxxx  16 pt

 †††† Imagine that you are a crow flying over Port Graham. As you look down, you will see many buildings, vehicles and other objects of interest.

††††† Included in this section are explanations of some of Port Grahamís features in English and Alutiq, the language of the Aleut people.



†††††††††††††††††††††† Mountains

†††† Port Graham is surrounded by beautiful mountains.There is one particular mountain south of the village which many people like to climb.

†††† In the summer you can sometimes see mountain goats roaming around.

†††† The best time to tour the mountains is in the summer when everything is green and in bloom.You can climb the trails just to hike, have a picnic, fish the creeks or go camping.

†††† Looking out toward the west, one can see Mr. Iliamna in the distance adding to grandeur of the scenery.


Mountain on the South side of the village




†††††††††††††††††† Pond

†††† A pond is at the west end of the airstrip. It is approximately 60 feet long and 40 feet wide.

†††† In winter it freezes and is good for skating and ice hockey

†††† Summer finds children playing with boats on the pond.


Port Grahamís Pond


††††††††††††††††††† Port Graham Corporation

†††† The Port Graham Corporation is the village entity within Chugach Native Incorporated, the regional corporation.

†††† A profit making organization, the Port Graham Corporation owns the Corporation building and rents space to the Public Health Service, North Pacific Rim, the pre-school and has dormitory rooms.

†††† Some heavy equipment is also owned by the Corporation and is available or rent.

Port Graham Corporation Building from the west side

†††††††††††††††††††† The Clinic

†††† Medical service for everyone in Port Graham is provided at the clinic in the Corporation building.

†††† The health aide handles all medical needs and is in close contact with doctors and hospitals in Homer and Anchorage.Serious cases are transported locally.

†††† Clinic hours are 9-12 AM and 1-4 PM but the health aide is on call at all times.


††††††††††††††††††† Community Center

†††† Built in 1979, the Community Center provides for many of the needs of the citizens of Port Graham.

†††† The post office, telephone, library, Recreation room, Kitchen, Village book keepers office, Alcohol and drug counseling room, Village Council meeting room, Presidentís room, laundry and a rental apartment are part of the center.

†††† The recreation room has a large area for dancing, receptions, parties, and provides a place for people to enjoy pool, foos ball, ping pong, and a juke box and a pop machine.

†††† A room at the east end of the uilding is used for Craft shop and provides many activities for anyone interested in macramť, bead work, weaving, ceramics, woodworking, leather craft, candle making and many other crafts.


The main meeting place in Port Graham, the Community Center


†††††††††††††††††† Port Graham Library

†††† The library was first opened in 1979. It was first funded by J.O.M. monies, but is now part of the Revenue Sharing Program.

†††† All books were donated to the library which is next to the post office in the Community Center.

†††† The hours of operation depend on who ever is in charge of the library.


†††††††††††††††††† Movies

†††† Since 1977, movies have been set up for local entertainment at the Community Center.

†††† When a movie is to be shown, an announcement is made over the C.B. giving the name and time.

†††† The present admission prices are Adults - $2.00; High School and Collage Students - $1.75; Grade School Students - $1.25.

†††† The movies are sponsored by the Village Council.


†††††††††††††††††† Telephone Service

†††† Port Graham has one telephone which is located in the Community Center. The number is (907) 433-8001.The telephone hours are 9:00 AM till 12:00 noon, 1:00 till 5:00 PM.An evening monitor will answer the phone from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.

†††† Reservations for using the phone can be made by contacting the monitor to set up an appointment.When calls come in for someone who is not at the Center, they are notified over the C.B. or given a written message.

††† All calls are made with operator assistance.Time and charges must be asked for or calls have to made collect, charged to another number or billed to a credit card.

†††† A local fee of fifty cents per completed call is charged.

††††††††††††††††††† Fran Meganack answers the phone while on duty at her position of bookkeeper and daytime phone monitor.


†††† ††††††††††††††Indoor Sports

†††† Indoor Sports in Port Graham are few in number because of limited facilities.

†††† The multi-purpose room at the school is available for volleyball and basketball with portable nets. Only one basket ball can be used so the game is more of a scrimmage than a whole court event.

†††† The Community Center has tables for ping pong, foos ball, and pool table.

†††† Many residents resort to armchair sports such as T.V. watching, T.V. Games, and Card Playing.


††††††††††††††††††† The Airstrip

†††† Without Port Grahamís airstrip, we would be much more isolated.The airstrip is our connection with other towns, medical services, food, mail and transportation.

†††† The airstrip was built twenty-three years ago.Before its construction, people had to take a skiff across the bay and pick up whatever was needed in Seldovia or Homer.When the water was rough, no one could get to the other side.

†††† At present, two air services from Homer provide daily services, weather permitting.

†††† Mail comes in three times a week on a Cook Inlet Air Service Plane. Passenger and freight services can be arranged through Homer Air or Cook Inlet by contacting a pilot, calling on the telephone or sending a message via/VHF at the Sawdens.

Port Grahamís link to the rest of the world

†††††††††††††††††† Sea Foods

†††† Many good seafoodís are available in fish, Bidarkies, Crab, Clams, Mussels, Octopus, Shrimp, and Snails.

††† Bidarkies, Snails, and Mussels are usually found sticking to rocks at low tide.Clams are dug at low tide.Crab, Shrimp, and Fish are cought in deeper water.

†††† Larger animals providing meat from the sea are Seals and Sea Loins.

†††† Recipes for many of the above mentioned seafoodís can be found elsewhere in the issue of Cillqaq.


†††††††††††††††††† Port Graham Hunting

†††† Some people go hunting all year round for seal, sea loin, grouse and porcupine. Seasonal game includes black bear, ducks, mountain goats, and moose ( rarely seen ).

†††† Too many noisy activities like motor bikes, outboard motors, and airplanes keep the game far away from Port Graham.

†††† Our parents and grandparents lived on game because nobody scared them away. They were nearby and easy to get.


†††††††††††††††††† Smoke Houseís

†††† Many villagers have built smoke houses or smokeries for smoking and drying fish.

†††† The smell of cotton wood burning is a sure sign that something good is being prepared for later treats.


†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Fishing boat with skiff tied up at dock at Whitney-Fidalgo cannery.


†††††††††††††††††† Boats And Dock

†††† Many boats are in Port Graham. Local fishermen and the cannery have boats tied up at the dock or on the pilings at ht east end of the cannery.

†††† All of the boats are under 40í in length.Many skiffs can be seen tied to the docks, on the beach or tied to pilings.


†††††††††††††††††† Bonya

†††† A bonya, sometimes spelled bania, is another name for bath-house.

†††† Itís built 9íx9íx5í for easy heating. A fifty gallon drum cut in half makes a good stove. A hole should be cut in the top for a smoke stack.

†††† A cooling room is needed outside of the steam room.It si also used as a dressing room.

†††† To relax sore muscles, alder beaters are good. Alder leaves are picked before they get sticky, with new shoots preferred.Break into 18 to 20 inch lengths and put together with the leaves facing each other till the stems fill up your fisted hand.Tie it up with a string and hang them up in pairs to dry.

†††† When they are ready to use, pour hot water over them and soak in that hot water till all leaves are soaked.

†††† Keep a container of hot water on top of the stove.

†††† For scrubbing you need grass roots from the beach.Clean them out before using. The more you use them, the finer they become, so pick a lot of them to start a new one from time to time.


†††††††††††††††††† Sports Fishing

†††† In and around Port Graham, many people go fishing for halibut, salmon, bullheads, tom cod, kelp cod, flounder, trout, herring, ling cod, Irish lords, black bass, and red snapper as entertainment or for food.

†††† These fish can be caught with a fishing rod from a boat or skiff or off the dock.


††††††††††††††††††† †††Bob McMullenís truck with snow plow attached to the front.


†††††††††††††††††† Snow Removal

†††† Bob McMullen uses his truck with a snowplow on the front to clear the airport and the roads.His son, Robert McMullen plows the airport with the cat.Usually Bob plows the airport when the snow gets too deep for the planes to land.



Vehicles In Port Graham*

Lull††††††† #†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††( 1 )††††††††††††††

Backhoe##†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 2 )

Tractor††† ###†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 3 )†††††††††††††††††††††††

Three-Wheeler###################################††††† ( 35 )

Motorcycle††††† ##†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 2 )

Bicycle†††† ##############††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 14 )

Truck††††† #########††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††( 9 )

Car†††††† #††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 1 )

Snowmobile††††† ##############†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 14 )

Odyssey†††††††††† ##††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( 2 )

* As of March 1, 1982


†††††††††††††††††† Churches

†††† There are two church buildings in the village.

†††† St. Hermanís Alaska Orthodox shurch is located next to the airstrip.It is easily recognized by the domes on top and the Orthodox cross over the door.

†††† The Port Graham Baptist Chapel is located on the north side of Main Street between the Community Center and the School.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††St. Hermanís Orthodox Church


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Port Graham Elementary/ High School


†††††††††††††††††† Port Graham Elem/High School

†††† Port Graham Elem/High School is one of the remote( must be flown into ) schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

†††† There are three teachers, one of whom acts as teacher-in-charge.

†††† Local residents help greatly in the positions of Title IV aid, Bilingual aide cook, janitor, and secretary.

†††† Twenty-eight students in grades kindergarten in the three room school.

†††† The school year usually starts in late August and ends during the last week in May.


††††††††††† Port Grahamís Waterhouse


††††††††††††††††† Port Grahamís water system has been carefully watched over for the past year by Debbie McMullen.

†††† Debbie keeps track of how many pounds of water go into the pumphouse, the water temperature, the incoming and outgoing pounds of water into the tank, the fluoride and chlorine levels in the water and makes weekly bacteriological test.

†††† Other duties include backwashing the water lines, cleaning screens and making monthly meter readings.

†††† There are several responsibilities for a village using approximately one million gallons of water every month,


††††††††††††††††††† Dump

†††† The first dump for Port Graham was at the east end of the airstrip.All available space was used up there so the dump was moved to the west end of town.

†††† The land-fill site is cleared frequently to keep the town neat.













Copyright 1983,Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.All rights reserved