Haines, Alaska is a small town located on the northern end of Alaska’s longest fjord, in the south-east part of the state. It is located on the shores of the Lynn Canal on the Chilkat Peninsula between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. On the west side is the Chilcat Mountain Range and on the east lies the Coast Range.
To say that the scenery around Haines, Alaska is stunning, spectacular and incredible, would be a gross understatement.
Haines can be reached by road on the Haines Highway which connects to the Alaska Highway in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory in Canada. It can also be reached by ferry from Skagway, Alaska and by small plane. This small town is a frequent stop for cruise ships during the summer months, although it is never as crowded as Skagway, Fairbanks or Anchorage.
The original settlers to the area were the Tlingit Indians and they controlled the trade routes in the area. The town of Klukwan, 22 mile from Haines, is still of central importance to this tribe.
According to one web site, the Tlingit “asked” Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary in Sitka, to build mission schools in the area. This invitation is highly doubtful, but the schools were built none-the-less. In 1881, the Chilkat Mission was established by Eugene and Caroline Willard. It was later renamed Haines in honor of the Secretary of the Presbyterian Women's Executive Society of Home Missions, Mrs. F.E. Haines, who had raised funds for the mission.
And so, the cheechakos moved in, prospered and displaced the indigenous peoples.
During the Klondike Gold Rush, Haines grew as a mining supply center because of its proximity to Skagway, the departure point for many an ambitious gold miner.
The current population of Haines is 1 429, and an additional 950 people live in the surrounding borough.
The main staples of Haines economy are timber, fishing and, recently, tourism. There are number of annual festivals, the most famed and interesting being the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.
Sources: Haines, Alaska Chamber of Commerce and home page