Seldovia is an idyllic town located in south central Alaska, across the bay from Homer, where the road ends and the magic begins. With just over 250 year round residents and a whole lot of character, it is a place you definitely do not want to miss visiting on your next trip to Alaska or the Kenai Peninsula. What's really great about Seldovia, is that everything is walking distance. You don't need to drive anywhere, no traffic lights or noises, you literally feel like you got away from it all. Trails and amazing views of the ocean and marine wildlife are within walking distance, you can do as much or as little as you desire.
The Linwood Bar & Grill is a must stop, whether you just want a bite or eat and something to drink, or want to get a local feel for the town while absorbing the beautiful view of the harbor and mountains.
Seldovia, meaning herring bay in Russian, has a rich history and its unique location makes for an interesting combination of events throughout centuries. Not a lot is known about the indigenous population that inhabited the area but archeologists have found substantial evidence of native inhabitants in the form of tools, graves, structures, etc. "The Seldovia area was a meeting and trading place for the Kodiak Koniaqs, the Aleuts from the Aleutians, the Chugach people from Prince William Sound, and the Tanaina Kenaitze people of the Cook Inlet." (SVT)
In the mid 1700s, Russian traders began traveling throughout the Aleutian Islands as well as other coastal communities in southern Alaska. The fur trade was integral in the settling of Russian inhabitants in the area and had signigicant influence over the native population. Native men were subsequently coerced into the fur industry, adversely affecting the family structure and culture they had known for generations. Many Russian Orthodox missionaries also inhabited the area but had a more respectful and integrated approach to settling within the Native population. One of the historic Russian Orthodox churches still stands on the hill in downtown Seldovia, which remains one of the tourist attractions of the town.
In the early 20th century, different industries boomed in Seldovia, as it was one of the only ports in Alaska that remained ice free in winter. Seldovia served many communities in south central Alaska as the main supply hub, where the barges arrived. Herring fishery was one of the main enterprises at the time, but waste from the "saltries" caused habitat destruction and the industry faded. Commercial fishing operations for salmon, halibut, cod, crab, etc was also booming and remains active to this day. Logging and mining was also part of Seldovia's economic history but diminishing prices of these natural resources brought an end to those as well.
The 1964 earthquake brought about disastrous catastrophe to the town. A 9.2 in magnitude, the land dropped four feet, flooding the town and destroying the boardwalk that connected it all. The completion of the highway from Homer to Anchorage and other developments in the state consequently wiped Seldovia off the map per se. With assistance from the urban renewal project the town was rebuilt but a fraction of the population now remains.
Seldovia has presently become the epiphany of a quaint little harbor town, where tourists come from all over the world to experience serenity, quiet and appreciate its rugged natural beauty. The perfect place to get away from it all.