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Historic Dena’ina fish cache added to National Register

(Anchorage, AK) – State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bittner welcomes the announcement that the Wassillie Trefon Dena’ina Fish Cache standing at Port Alsworth has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. 

The cache, built around 1920, is a one of the last examples of a traditional, well-crafted log cache in the Bristol Bay region. The elevated 9 x 10 foot structure is a hand-hewn, square-notched log building constructed without nails or spikes. The posts were specially formed to prevent small animals from climbing into the cache.  The gable roof is covered with sod. Access is by a notched log ladder to a platform then through a small plank hatch entry. 

Wassillie Trefon’s peers acknowledged him as a master woodworker, as do the people in Nondalton today. He built log houses and caches for his family at Miller Creek, Tanalian Point, Old Nondalton and Nondalton.

The cache has been moved several times from its original location at Miller Creek and restored to look as it did originally.  The cache now sits in a clearing outside the Lake Clark National Park and Preserver visitor center, adjacent to a Dena’ina fish drying rack.   

The cache was added to the National Register, the nation’s catalog of more than 85,000 historic properties worthy of preservation, on June 5.  

Wassillie Trefon Dena’Ina Fish Cache – National Park Service photo

For information about listing an Alaska property in the National Register, please contact the Office of History and Archaeology by calling 907-269-8721. The office address is 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3565.

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