Holy Cross

Quick Facts

  • Current Population 181 (2012 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate)
  • Legislative Districts (link to State Legislature page):
    • Senate District R
    • House District 36
    • Judicial District 4
  • Latitude: 62.1994
  • Longitude: -159.7714


Holy Cross is located in Interior Alaska on the west bank of Ghost Creek Slough off the Yukon River. It is 40 miles northwest of Aniak and 420 miles southwest of Fairbanks.


The climate of Holy Cross is continental. Temperature extremes range from -62 and 93 °F. Annual snowfall averages 79 inches, with 19 inches of total precipitation per year. The Yukon river is ice-free from June through October.


Holy Cross first had contact with Europeans in the early 1840s, when Russian explorers led by Lt. Zagoskin traveled the Yukon River. They reported on “Anilukhtakpak,” which had 170 people. In 1880, the village was reported as “Askhomute” with 30 residents.

A Catholic mission and school were established in the 1880s by Father Aloysius Robaut, who came to Alaska across the Chilkoot Trail. Athabascans migrated to Holy Cross to be near the mission and school. A post office was opened in 1899 under the name “Koserefsky.”

In 1912, the name of the town was changed to “Holy Cross” after the mission. In the 1930s and 40s, sternwheelers brought the mail and supplies two or three times a year. The course of the river changed during the 1930s, and, by the mid-40s, the slough on which the village is now located was formed. The mission church and many additional buildings were torn down after the boarding school ceased operations in 1956. The city government was incorporated in 1968.


Holy Cross is an Athabascan village. Subsistence and fishing-related activities are important to residents.

Community profile data provided by the State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.