Savoonga is located on the northern coast of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, 164 miles west of Nome. It lies 39 miles southeast of Gambell. St. Lawrence Island has been inhabited intermittently for the past 2,000 years by Yup’ik Eskimos. The island had numerous villages with a total population of around 4,000 by the 19th century. A tragic famine occurred on the island in 1878-80, severely reducing the population. In 1900 a herd of reindeer was moved to the island, and by 1917 the herd had grown to over 10,000 animals. A reindeer camp was established in 1916 at the present village site, where grazing lands were better, and the herd tended to remain. Good hunting and trapping in the area attracted more residents. A post office was established in 1934. The City was incorporated in 1969. 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.
Thanks to funding assistance received from the Denali Commission, the community of Savoonga now has a new, automated power plant with fuel-efficient engines and a new jointly-owned bulk fuel tank farm. In summer 2008, two wind turbines were installed and they became fully operational in November 2008.
Before and after photos of the power plant and tank farm
are shown below.
Original power plant
One of the two Northwind 100 wind turbines.
New power plant
New bulk fuel tank farm