Town History

Mona Painter first came to Cooper Landing in 1949 when she was 11 years old. Her aunt and uncle lived in Seward and she came up from Oregon to spend the summer with them. She fell in love with it. She moved to Seward in 1958 and to Cooper Landing a year later. Mona has been collecting Cooper Landing history since the early 1960’s. She says, “I was lucky to be here when many of the original residents still lived here and they gave me lots of pictures and help”. Mona continues to surprise the Cooper Landing residents and their visitors with the knowledge and memories that she has of Cooper Landing and the area surrounding it.

For more information, you may contact the:

Cooper Landing Historical Society
PO Box 542
Cooper Landing, Alaska 99572
907-595-1248
museum@arctic.net
www.cooperlandingmuseum.com

  • 1848-51 Russian engineer P. Doroshin found gold in Cooper Landing area.
  • 1899 Teenaged Frank Towle came with father, brothers for gold mining during summer season.
  • 1884 Joseph Cooper found gold here — Cooper Landing, Cooper Lake, and Cooper Creek named for him.
  • 1900 US Census: 21 miners and 1 young wife at Cooper Creek.
  • 1910 Jack and Charlie Lean came to moose hunt and stayed; Dena’ina Indians still living along the river.
  • 1920-21 First bridge over the Kenai River in Cooper Landing area was built near Mile 53.
  • 1929-30 First school in Cooper Landing—held in Charlie and Beryl Lean’s cabin—called Riddiford.
  • 1930 Bridge near Mile 53 was replaced by the Schooner Bend covered bridge about 700 feet downstream.
  • 1932 Frank Towle first to patent property—108.84 acres (including Salmon Run Lodge to PO)
  • 1935 CCC’s finished bridge over Kenai River, Bean Creek to J. Lean’s store. Replaced upriver, in present location, 1950
  • 1938 Drivable road to Seward
  • 1947 Cooper Landing Post Office established—earlier post office called Riddiford.
  • 1948 Road to Kenai opened after Moose River Bridge built, weather & road conditions permitting. Paved in 1950’s.
  • 1949 Cooper Landing Community Club formed with 45 members.
  • 1950-51 Community Hall built over the winter of 1950-51 Club holds title to community properties: cemetery, rifle range, community center, museum site.
  • 1951 Road to Anchorage opened in fall
  • 1955 Schooner Bend covered bridge replaced upstream about 800 feet
  • 1959 Snug Harbor Rd. fire threatened community — army here to evacuate–wind direction changed and community was spared.
  • 1958-60 Cooper Lake hydroelectric facility and dam built—40 children in school
  • 1962 First commercial electricity available
  • 1963 Kenai Lake Baptist Church dedicated.
  • 1963 Movement started to bring TV to the Landing
  • 1964 Earthquake put bridge near Mile 48 in river—some land around Lake fell, homes and highway damaged
  • 1965 New bridge constructed near Mile 48, temporary Bailey bridge removed
  • 1967 NBC channel translator in place
  • 1969 Russian River fire burned about 2570 acres
  • 1970 US Census for Cooper Landing: 131
  • 1971 Dall Homemaker club began
  • 1972 Current Cooper Landing Elementary School building constructed Gym/kitchen finished in 1983. (KPB election bond Oct. 81)
  • 1973 Cooper Landing Ambulance Squad received first ambulance Public Service Site Special Use Permit USFS to KPB KPBSD donated old school for ambulance housing— moved to site in Oct. Ambulance at Hamilton’s Place until building ready.
  • First community Christmas card
  • 1974 Interior Telephone brought phone service 42 children in Cooper Landing Elementary School Snow River Pothole flood crested at 17.18 feet at bridge on Sept.21
  • 1974 Oct. 1 windstorm, worst in residents memories, weakened forest for spruce bark beetle to start devastation
  • 1975 Cooper Landing Volunteer Fire Dept. got first fire truck–1942 Chevy, 300 gal pumper
  • 1976 Cooper Landing hazardous school bus route began in Jan. Fire/Amb. hall built with Cooper Landing Community Club sponsored grant and donations
  • 1977 Resurrection Christian Academy started school….1982-83 was the last school year for RCA in Cooper Landing First Cooper Landing based Kenai River float trip business, Alaska Campout Adventures, put in at Sportsmans Lodge
  • 1978 St. John Neumann Catholic Church dedicated USFS Special Use Permit to Cooper Landing Community Club for community center
  • 1979 Cooper Landing Community Hall moved across river with state grant to Community center on Bean Creek Road
  • 1980 Snug Harbor Snail-a-thon community fund raiser started
  • 1982 KPB special Cooper Landing census: 389 Cooper Landing Community Club received patent to old Hall site near Mile 49
  • 1983 Cooper Landing Community Club patented community center and cemetery properties on Bean Creek Road Cooper Landing Community Library built next to Community Hall
  • 1984 Archaeologists found prehistoric artifacts, Indian and Eskimo graves near Mile 55 Kenaitze/USFS K’beq (Footprints) interpretive site opened near Mile 53 in 1997—-an earlier site opened in 1992 was closed
  • 1986 KPB School District initiated bussing to Soldotna for high school and later also for junior high Historic district formed from Lean properties (5 buildings: Jack Lean’s store now P.O. and Charlie and Beryl Lean’s home, first school, Dunc Little’s cabin, Leo Douglas’ cabin) Pinochle Club started
  • 1987 Cooper Landing population in Feb. about 290
  • 1990 Fuel reduction logging to removed beetle-killed spruce forest began on agency land Cooper Landing population about 310 Kenai Princess Lodge opened
  • 1991 Pothole Lake fire—600 firefighters in area—used Library and Community.Hall for command post 41 children started school Cooper Landing  Advisory Planning Commission Community Goals Survey
  • 1992 Cooper Landing  Postmaster 28 years (since 1963), Betty J. Fuller, retired May 1 Steve Skolnick new PM (former PM’S: Frances Brown 1924-27 PO called Riddiford, Muriel Witt 37-39,Carrie Moore 47-57, Beverly Sabroskie 57-59, Sherman Smith 59-63)
  • 1993 RATNET dish was installed by December, later changed to ARCS
  • 1993 First Cooper Landing  land plan ordinance enacted by KPB Aug. 17—-CLAPC finished plan, community voted May 1992 Work began on Helen E. Rhode Memorial Park 51 children attending CLES in Oct. Electric line extension to west Bean Creek Rd. Sportsmans Lodge, MP 55, bought for public boat launch and parking——buildings removed and/or torn down
  • 1995 Annual softball tournament initiated at the community center
  • 1996 Cooper Landing Advisory Planning Commission completed Land Use Classification Recommendations For Borough Selected Lands2—over 5000 acres- –update to 1992 CLAPC work—approved by community vote in May and adopted by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Sept.
  • 1997 Kenai River Scenic Overlook and Boat Launch opened at the bridge near Mile 48 Cooper Landing year-round population about 425 according to Postmaster Skolnick
  • Public Service Site KPB lease to Cooper Landing Community Club Sexy Senior Dumpster Cleaners began cleaning sites in Cooper Landing, Hope, Moose Pass to benefit the community
  • 1998 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted to deed the recreation property now used as the rifle range to the Cooper Landing Community Club
  • Cooper Landing Historical Society organized
  • 1999 Cooper Landing Senior Citizens Corporation, Inc. formed
  • 2000 Kitchen and bathroom addition to Community Hall with Dept. of Community & Economic Development grant. Snail-a-thon Beach permit and Helen Rhode Park permit from state parks to Cooper Landing Community Club Bean Creek, and portions of Snug Harbor and Quartz Creek Roads paved US Census 369
  • 2001 School building from 1955 donated to CLHS and moved to museum site by KPB Russian Gap Subdivision sold by KPB
  • 2002 Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Inc. formed

History of Cooper Landing provided by Mona Painter.