2nd Class City
in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewer, Public Safety Building, Volunteer Fire/EMS, Roads, Saxman Seaport & Warehouse, Saxman Community Hall, Saxman Beaver Tribal House & Edwin C. DeWitt Carving Center.
Geography and Climate
- Saxman is located on the west side of Revillagigedo Island, 2 miles south of Ketchikan on the South Tongass Highway.
- Saxman lies in the maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers, and heavy precipitation. Average summer temperatures range from 46 to 59 °F; average winter temperatures range from 29 to 48 °F. The record high temperature is 97 °F; the record low is -4 °F. Precipitation averages 163 inches per year, with 69 inches of snow.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- In 1886, Tlingits from the old villages of Tongass and Cape Fox wanted a new site to construct a central BIA school and Presbyterian church. The village was subsequently named for Samuel Saxman, a Presbyterian teacher who was lost at sea with a Cape Fox elder while searching for the new site. By 1894, the new village site was chosen, ideally located on a protected harbor off the Tongass Narrows. A small sawmill was built, and construction of the school and houses began immediately. Fishing and cutting lumber for the growing towns of Saxman and Ketchikan were the economic mainstays of the new village. By 1900, 142 people were living in Saxman. In 1929, the community incorporated as a city. During the 1930s, many totem poles and ceremonial artifacts, such as carvings and masks, were retrieved by the Civilian Conservation Corps from the abandoned villages at Cape Fox, Tongass, Cat Island, and Pennock Island. Totem poles were restored and relocated to Saxman as part of a U.S. Forest Service program. A rail-barge terminal at the Saxman Seaport was completed in 1967; it serves as the Ketchikan's major cargo container terminal.
- Most residents are Tlingit and lead a subsistence lifestyle. A totem pole carving center fosters traditional skills and provides tourism opportunities.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Organized Village of Saxman
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- Saxman and Ketchikan are connected by the South Tongass Highway. The state owns a gravel runway on Gravina Island, the location of the Ketchikan airport. Scheduled jet and air taxi services are available. Dock and commercial barge off-loading facilities are available at the Saxman Seaport. The community relies on Ketchikan for its boat moorage and state ferry services.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection