An extensive wave-cut platform and Rudisell Reef at the head of Nikolski Bay forms Mueller Cove, one of the few protected boat landings on Umnak Island, in the Fox Islands of the Eastern Aleutians. Mueller Cove was named for Karl Mueller, a coxswain on a U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey vessel who along with crewman Maurice Rudisell were killed when their boat struck the reef at the entrance to the cove on May 28, 1938.
The village of Nikolski is located on a narrow isthmus between Umnak Lake and Mueller Cove. Based on evidence collected from a prehistoric archaeological site called Chaluka, the area has been continuously occupied for more than 4,000 years. The site includes a large midden that has provided much information about the origins of the Aleut Unangan people.
Umnak Island was first reached by independent Russian fur traders in the 1750’s and developed as a base for sea otter hunting. In the early 1900s, a boom in fox farming occurred here, and reindeer, sheep, horses, and cattle were introduced. In 1943 the U.S. Army built an airfield at Nikolski, and the U.S. Coast Guard operated a Loran navigation station on nearby Cape Starr until 1950. In 1958, a Distant Early Warning Line defense system was co-located with a White Alice communication facility at 725 feet (221 m) on High Hill to the north of Nikolski. This was closed in 1969 and the site remediated in 1998. Read more here and here. Explore more of Mueller Cove and Nikolski Bay here: