Teller, Port Clarence

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The community of Teller is located on a spit separating Port Clarence Bay from Grantley Harbor, Alaska. Frederick William Beechey on his expedition to meet Sir John Franklin in the Arctic found three camps here in 1827 with about 400 inhabitants. In 1866, the Russian–American Telegraph Company, attempting to link America to Europe via Alaska, spent a winter at the present site of Teller. When the U.S. Government introduced reindeer herding in Alaska, a site north of Teller, that operated from 1892 to 1900, was selected for a reindeer station by Captain Michael A. Healy, of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service. 

In 1897, eight whaling ships were trapped in ice near Point Barrow and the owners of the ships were concerned for the lives of the 265 men. A rescue was organized and in November 1897, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear, sailed north from Port Townsend, Washington. It was too late in the year for the cutter to push through the ice, so an overland expedition was sent from Cape Vancouver in the Bering Sea. They stopped at Teller to purchase a herd of reindeer, and with the help of natives, the group reached the starving whalers with 382 reindeer on March 29, 1898.

The Teller Reindeer Station would later become the community of Teller Mission, today called Brevig Mission. A road now connects Teller with Nome, and Port Clarence is an important harbor and the last port of refuge for ships heading north. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of Teller and Port Clarence.

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