Kenai Things to Do Tips by AlbuqRay Top 5 Page for this destination
Kenai Things to Do: 46 reviews and 92 photos
Old Town Cabins
Also near the old Fort Kenay location are four other cabins. The picture from 4 Aug 2007 shows three of them. From left to right are the Three Scandinavian's Cabin, Cabin #3 and Miller Cabin. The first two were built between 1898 and 1925 and subsequently moved to Old Town. Little is known about their origin or history. Miller Cabin was built in 1910 by Emil Ness and was originally located in Kasilof. The logs were numbered, dismantled and barged to Old Town in 1930. It seems that it was common to move houses in Alaska, especially in the old days. Kenaitze Chief George Miller lived in this house in the 1940's; thus the name.
There was also an unmarked cabin near Saint Nicholas Chapel on Petersen Street. At first I thought it was the Oskolkof/Dolchok Cabin but that turned out to be Veronica's Coffee House and Cafe. I'll just call it the Unknown Cabin for now. Wish I knew its history; it looked very old. There was another log cabin (boarded up) on Overland Street near the Visitors' Center. It looked newer and had been very nice at one time. I'll include it here also.
I found out in June 2010 that the unknown cabin was an outbuilding of the Edelman/Petersen house. "The building in the foreground is known as the Edelman Outbuilding. The house built by my great-grandfather, Finlander Ed Edelman, is in the background. He lived in the home with his Native wife, Demnina, and brood of eight, the youngest being my grandfather, Ed Edelman. The home was later owned and occupied by Jack Edelman, who lived in it with his daughter, Shirley, and his mother, Nina (Demnina). The home was eventually sold to the Allan and Jettie Petersen family and transferred to their grandson, Jim Arness, who currently owns it." Thanks, Rene!
Directions: Overland Street between the Visitors' Center and the Russian Church near the Fort Kenay site
As you walk into the Visitors Center there is a white board with the day's activities and an information desk with people to assist you. The front lobby area also includes things for sale if you want to shop a little. In the afternoon a local author, Chris Jenness, was doing a book signing for his children's book, "Sammy Goes Home." It's about a salmon named Sammy and its adventures.
Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church
There are three Russian church buildings in Old Town Kenai. The church itself was originally established in 1791 and the current building was constructed in 1894. Russian Orthodox services are still held there every week. The Parish House Rectory dates from 1881. The third building, the Chapel of Saint Nicholas, was built in 1906. It is named after a priest, Father Nikolai, who is remembered because he brought smallpox vaccinations to the area.
Directions: Mission Avenue and Petersen Street
Former Interlocked Moose Horn Club
The Interlocked Moose Horn Club / Tomrdle House is a historic hand-hewed log structure that was completed in 1902 but portions are said to date back to 1848. It is now a private residence. In the past, it was the first social club in Kenai, as well as a candy store, theater and church. The Interlocked Moose Horn Club evidently had many famous members in the early 1900's. Its objectives were the preservation of game on the Kenai Peninsula and the entertainment of big game hunters. Hmmmm, wonder how that worked. "Interlocked moose horns" sometimes happens during the rutting season when two bull moose battle, resulting in the eventual death of both. There are many interesting stories about the Interlocked Moose Horn Club.
Kenai Commercial Building
The Old Town Kenai walking tour includes the Kenai Commercial Building. It was built in 1948 and was originally located in Kasilof. It was barged to Kenai and used by E. Wells Ervin and Helen Jones to sell groceries and dry goods. Their slogan was... "buy on credit, pay after fishing."
Directions: At the intersection of Mission Avenue and Cook Avenue across from Scout Park and the Tyotkas Elder Center
Mouth of Kenai River from Scout Park
There are good views of the Kenai River mouth and tidal marshes from the Erik Hansen Scout Park, which is on the bluff above the river. It was rainy and foggy the day I was there; otherwise, there would have been good views of snow-capped volcanos and maybe even could have seen whales.
Directions: Near the intersection of Mission Avenue and Cook Avenue
Veronica's Coffee House and Cafe
The cabin is in its original location and is a good example of what the early buildings in Kenai looked like. It was built in 1918 and is near the Chapel of Saint Nicholas. Also nearby once stood the original Fort Kenay structure, Russian Redoubt Nikolaevsk (1791), and later the American Fort Kenay (1869). The Oskolkof/Dolchok Cabin is now Veronica's Coffee House and Cafe, a great little place to stop for an espresso. It also has an open mic night at 6:30 PM on Thursdays, and blues, classic rock and Hawaiian folk music at 6:30 PM on Fridays.
Directions: Near Petersen Street and Mission Avenue
Art Exhibit on Panels
The main hall had an exhibit of local, mostly contemporary art. The lighting was well done. I especially liked a sculpture made of antlers and the way the shadows complemented it. I don't know if the giant tangle that some fisherman pulled in was art or part of the museum, but it was fun to see.
Address: 11471 Kenai Spur Highway
Inside the Museum
The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center actually has a quite nice museum and there is no charge. It includes preserved examples of local fish and animals, as well as Native and Russian artifacts. It takes some time to visit this museum. It seems small but there are lots of interesting things in it. I'll also have to do separate tips on the art exhibit and cultural center aspects.
Directions: Downtown off the Kenai Spur Highway
Moosemeat John's Cabin
He was given the name "Moosemeat John" because he hunted moose to feed his 13 children. John Hedburg originally homesteaded in Nikiski. His Kenai house, which sits across the parking lot from the visitors' center, is now the Chamber of Commerce. BTW, I did not see any moose there, but it is pretty close to the Burger Bus!
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