by / Sunday, 23 November 2014 / Published in

Gambell is located on the northwest cape of St. Lawrence Island, 200 miles southwest of Nome, in the Bering Sea. The City is 36 miles from the Chukotsk Peninsula, Siberia. St. Lawrence Island has been inhabited intermittently for the past 2,000 years by Yup’ik Eskimos. In the 18th and 19th centuries, over 4,000 people inhabited the island in 35 villages. Sivuqaq is the Yup’ik name for the village and for the Island. The City was renamed for Mr. and Mrs. Vene C. Gambell. A tragic famine between 1878 and 1880 decimated the population. In 1900, reindeer were introduced to the island for local use, and in 1903, President Roosevelt established a reindeer reservation. During the 1930s, some residents moved to Savoonga to establish a permanent settlement there. The City was incorporated in 1963. When the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was passed in 1971, Gambell and Savoonga decided not to participate, and instead opted for title to the 1.136 million acres of land in the former St. Lawrence Island Reserve. The island is jointly owned by Savoonga and Gambell.

Gambell has a brand-new, automated power plant with fuel-efficient engines as well as a new bulk fuel tank farm, thanks to funding received from the Denali Commission. Three Northwind 100 wind turbines were installed in 2009 for a total installed wind generating capacity of 300 kW.

Gambell Aerial View

Gambell New Power Plant

New power plant sits on an elevated platform.

Gambell New Tank Farm

New bulk fuel tank farm

Gambell_existing plant

Original power plant

gambell plant in winterOriginal power plant – used to get buried in snow