Galena is the largest city
in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of
At the 2000 census
the population was
The Koyukon Athabascans
camps in the area and moved as the wild game migrated. In the
summer many families floated on rafts to the Yukon River to fish
for salmon. There were 12 summer fish camps located on
the Yukon River between the Koyukuk
River and the Nowitna
Galena was established in 1918 near an
Athabascan fish camp called Henry's Point. It became a supply and
point for nearby lead ore mines that opened in 1918 and 1919.
In 1920, Athabascans living upriver at Louden began moving to
Galena to sell wood to steamboats and to work hauling freight for
the mines. A school was established in Galena in the mid-1920s.
Military Air Base
In 1941-42 during World War II
military air field was built adjacent to the civilian airport, and
the two facilities shared the runway and flight line facilities.
This air field was designated Galena Air Force Station shortly
after the split of the United
States Air Force
from the United
, which occurred as a result of the National Security Act of 1947
1950s, the construction of additional military facilities at Galena
and the nearby Campion Air
Force Station, in support of Galena's mission as a forward operating base under the
auspices of the 5072nd Air Base Group, headquartered at Elmendorf Air
Force Base, near Anchorage, provided improvements to the airport and the local
infrastructure, causing economic growth for the area.
Following the end of the Cold War
, in 1993
operation of Galena Air Force Station was turned over to a
contractor, and all military personnel were withdrawn. It remains
in use effectively as a forward
that is used occasionally by the military.
This use has recently come under scrutiny by the Base Realignment and Closure
. The base was guarded by Gary ( mad
dog) Bergeron fromNovember 1963- December 1964. The actress
Beatrice Arthur was among the passengers who made an emergency
landing there on a private plane in 1963.
There were floods in 1945 and 1971. Because of the floods, a new
townsite, called New Town, was chosen at Alexander Lake, about 2
1/2 km (1 1/2 miles) east of the original townsite. The city
offices, the health clinic, schools, store, and more than 150 homes
were constructed at New Town.
Nuclear Power Station
Galena is inaccessible by road, relying on river cargo in the brief
summer for the bulk of its needs. This means the city must store
large volumes of fuel oil. In 2004 Galena's City Council
tentatively accepted a proposal from Toshiba
to build the Galena Nuclear Power Plant
small self-contained nuclear power
. The demonstration plant, the prototype for a
line which Toshiba hopes to sell to similar communities in the US
and Canada, would (if built) be the first civilian nuclear plant in
Alaska; Fort Greely,
Alaska, had a small military SM-4 reactor until the early
Closure of Air Base
Galena Air Force Base was completely closed on October 1, 2008. All
of the equipment and facilities were given to the City of Galena or
the Galena Interior Learning Academy. The F-15 hangar was
considered as a housing site for aircraft of the Alaska State
Troopers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and possibly a new
squadron of the Alaska Wing, Civil Air Patrol. Galena also houses a
seasonally-operated base camp on the former Air Force Base for the
US Bureau of Land Management, where firefighters stage to fight
brush fires throughout Alaska and elsewhere.
Galena is located at (64.740643, -156.885462) .
located on the north bank of the Yukon River, 72 km (45 miles) east of Nulato. The Innoko National
Wildlife Refuge is southwest of Galena.
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of
24.0 square miles (62.1 km¬≤), of which, 17.9 square
miles (46.3 km¬≤) of it is land and 6.1 square miles
(15.8 km¬≤) of it (25.41%) is water.
The City of Galena, as a first class city, operated a full-time
police department and other vital services.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 675
people, 216 households, and 149 families residing in the city. The
people per square mile (14.6/km¬≤). There were 259 housing units at
an average density of 14.5/sq mi (5.6/km¬≤). The racial makeup
of the city was 30.22% White
, 0.30% Black
or African American
, 0.30% Pacific Islander
, 0.30% from
, and 4.44%
from two or more races. 1.93% of the population were Hispanic
of any race.
There were 216 households out of which 49.1% had children under the
age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married
living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no
husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 24.5% of all
households were made up of individuals and 3.7% had someone living
alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size
was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.44.
In the city the population was spread out with 37.5% under the age
of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to
64, and 4.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
28 years. For every 100 females there were 121.3 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 123.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $61,125, and the
median income for a family was $70,250. Males had a median income
of $46,563 versus $37,000 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$22,143. About 1.3% of families and 10.2% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 1.4%
of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
Galena has three schools. Galena City School is primarily for local
K-12 students, and the vocational Galena Interior Learning Academy
is a boarding school which draws students from around the state.
The Galena boys' and girls' basketball teams were regional
champions from 2004 to 2007. The boy's basketball team won the
state championship in 2008. Galena's third school is Interior Distance
Education of Alaska
, a state-wide homeschool
support program that serves 3,500
students across the state. It is the biggest school (of any kind)
Galena's Edward Pitka Sr. Airport (Code GAL) is the former Galena
AIr Force Base field and with a paved runway of over 8000 feet is
the largest public, state-maintained airport in the Interior of
Alaska. The control tower was demolished when the Air Force vacated
the facility in 2007. The Airport is also the home of the "Yukon
Squardon" of the AK Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), which covers much
of the Interior region to the Bering Sea for Search and Rescue
SAR). A CAP Cessna-172 aircraft stationed at Galena.
There is a public library located in the Sidney C. Huntington
School. Galena has a volunteer Rescue Squad composed of Alaska
Emergency Trauma Technicians (ETT) and Emergency Medical
Technicians (EMT) and a volunteer fire department which recently
received new advanced firefighting apparatus from the US Air FOrce
upon the closure of Galena Air Force Base. The city also has
Nollner Health Clinic operated by Tannana Chiefs Council, a Native
Health Clinic that offers 24-hour emergency care and routine health
and dental services.
There is an Alaska State Troopers post in Galena with two troopers
and a trooper-pilot.
The headquarters for the Innoko National Wildlife Reserve is
located in Galena.
The Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA) is located on the site
of the former Galena Air Force Base and is one of three public
boarding high schools in Alaska; the second in size behind Mt.
Edgecumbe in Sitka. The third is the Nenana Living School in
Nenana. GILA uses the former barracks as a dorm, the former PX and
headquarters buildings as class rooms and the dining hall as a
cafeteria, along with the gym and other facilities. GILA provides
educational and vocational training to young men and women from all
over ALaska, grades 9-12, with most students coming from remote
Native Alaskan villages from the Interior, North Slope and Aleutian
Islands. GILA hosts various traiing and regional conferences
throughout the year. GILA student enrollment grew from 110 to 180
in the 2009-10 school year.
Trivia: One of the action hero GI Joe's colleagues is an Athabascan
Indian from Galena Alaska. The Iditarod annual dogsled race goes
through Galena on even years, while the Iron Dog trans-Alaska
snowmobile race and the The Yukon 800 annual summer speedboat race
on the Yukon River from Fairbanks and back both go through Galena.
Galena is home of Sidney C. Huntington (born: 1914), author of
"Shadows on the Koyukuk" and after whom Sidney C. Huntington School
in Galena is named.
Galena hosted a regional energy conference for the Alaskan Interior
in the spring of 2009 and is considering starting a wood-pellet
fuel boiler system of heat for the city as a cost-efective method
of providing energy to residents.
The City of Galena has a city council and the Mayor is Russ
Sweetsir, who has served since 1987. The Louden Tribal Council is
elected to represent the local Athabascan Native community and the
Tribal Chief is Chris Sommer.
- In the fictional video game Metal
Gear Solid, two F-16's take off from Galena AFB to provide
Solid Snake with air support early on in the game. Later on, B2
bombers are also mentioned as leaving Galena AFB.
- Galena is also mentioned in the film "War Games", as a point
from which the US was to launch F-16s.
- The town features heavily in Guy Grieve's Book Call of the