2nd Class City
in the North Slope Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (wane' rite)
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Wainwright is located on the Chukchi Sea coast, 3 miles northeast of the Kuk River estuary.
- The climate is arctic. Temperatures range from -56 to 80 °F. Precipitation is light, averaging 5 inches annually, with 12 inches of snow. The Chukchi Sea is ice-free from mid-July through September.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- In 1826 the Wainwright Lagoon was named by Capt. F.W. Beechey for his officer, Lt. John Wainwright. An 1853 map indicates the name of the village as "Olrona." Its Inupiat name was "Olgoonik." The region around Wainwright was traditionally well-populated, though the present village was not established until 1904, when the Alaska Native Service built a school and instituted medical and other services. The site was reportedly chosen by the captain of the ship delivering school construction materials, because sea-ice conditions were favorable for landing. A post office was established in 1916, and a city was formed in 1962. Coal was mined at several nearby sites for village use; the closest was about 7 miles away. Today, though, most houses are heated by fuel oil. A U.S. Air Force Distance Early Warning (DEW) Station was constructed nearby.
- Most Wainwright inhabitants are Inupiat Eskimos who practice a subsistence lifestyle. Their ancestors were the Utukamiut (people of the Utukok River) and Kukmiut (people of the Kuk River).
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Village of Wainwright
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale and importation of alcohol.
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- The North Slope Borough provides the watering point, water delivery, landfill, electric, airport, police, volunteer fire and health clinic.
- Air travel provides Wainwright's only year-round access. A gravel airstrip is owned and operated by the North Slope Borough. A second gravel airstrip exists at the old Wainwright Air Station. Skiffs, ATVs, and snow machines are used for local transportation.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District