Kodiakans turned out Saturday to celebrate 75 years since the City of Kodiak was officially incorporated.

The celebration drew on the many facets of Kodiak’s diverse community with the lighting of a ceremonial Alutiiq lamp at the beginning, the presentation of the colors and a finale by the U.S. Coast Guard, and performances by Alutiiq, Filipino-American and Samoan dancers.

After eating a potluck lunch while listening to local band Under the Moose, the crowd settled down to listen to speakers.

Capt. Jeffrey Westling, the commander of the Coast Guard Base Kodiak, gave a brief history of the federal government’s involvement in Kodiak starting with the purchase of Alaska and the ensuing patrols by revenue cutters, continuing to the Navy presence in Kodiak and ending with the Coast Guard today.

Roy Madsen, who was on the charter commission that created the city charter in 1965, started off saying he originally prepared 26 pages of notes on the minutiae of municipalities and home-rule cities, but chose to disregard them after learning he could only speak for 10 minutes, drawing laughs and applause from the crowd.

Madsen recalled nine members of the charter commission who gave their time to the commission not long after most of them had their businesses damaged or destroyed by the tsunami after the 1964 earthquake.

Long-time resident Dr. Bob Johnson spoke of arriving to Kodiak in 1938 and the memories of crowded docks and his family bringing a third vehicle to town.

Although much has changed in Kodiak in 75 years, there are many similarities, said Mayor Pat Branson.

The population has increased eight-fold, she said, with 864 people in 1940 and about 7,000 today.

“We are still a great community that cares about people, its breath-taking beautiful island and its future,” Branson said. “We’ve been around for 75 years, and we’ll continue to be around in 75 more years.”

Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.

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