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Current Population: 549 (2002 est.)
Incorporation Type: 1st Class City
Borough Located In: Unorganized
Taxes: Sales: 3%
Location and Climate
Our village is located on the north bank of the Andreafski River in the Bethel Recording District, 5 miles from its confluence with the Yukon River. It lies 450 air miles west-northwest of Anchorage. The area encompasses 44.0 sq. miles of land and 6.3 sq. miles of water. The climate is continental with a significant maritime influence.
Temperatures range between -44 and 83. Annual precipitation measures 16 inches, with 60 inches of snowfall. The Yukon is ice-free from June through October.
The History of Saint Mary’s
In 1899, Andreafsky was established as a supply depot and winter headquarters for the Northern Commercial Company’s riverboat fleet.
The village took its name from the Andrea family which settled on the River and built a Russian Orthodox Church. In 1903, Jesuit missionaries set up a mission 90 miles downriver at “Akulurak” to educate and care for the children orphaned by a flu epidemic in 1900-01.
Akulurak means “in between place,” aptly describing the village, which was on an island in a slough connecting two arms of the Yukon River. The mission school flourished, and by 1915, there were 70 full-time students.
Over the years, the slough surrounding Akulurak silted in severely. In 1948, the villagers decided to move to higher ground. Materials from an abandoned hotel built during the gold rush were used to construct the new mission and several village homes at the present site. In 1949, an unused 15′ by 30′ building and other building materials from Galena Air Force Station were barged to Saint Mary’s by Father Spils, a Jesuit priest. These materials, along with a tractor borrowed from Holy Cross, were used to construct a school. In 1967, St. Mary’s incorporated as a city, although the residents of Andreafsky chose to remain a separate community. In 1980, the communities combined. In 1987 the Catholic Church closed.
A federally recognized tribe is located in our village– the Algaaciq Tribal Government; Yupiit of Andreafski.
Economy and Transportation
Our economy in St. Mary’s has 65 residents holding commercial fishing permits.
Our cash income is supplemented by subsistence activities and trapping.
We have two general stores, Alaska Commercial Co. and Yukon Traders.
A new regional Post Office was recently completed.
Our village is served by barge and aircraft.
The State-owned 6,000′ gravel runway and 1,900′ crosswind strip provide year-round access.
A 22-mile road links St. Mary’s to Andreafski, Pitka’s Point, and Mountain Village.
The Andreafski River bordering our village provides the only deep-water dock in the Delta.