The first settlers to the southern Kenai Peninsula came because of the rich resources found here, according to the history pieced together by archaeologists.
Stone tools of the Ocean Bay people date back 5,000 years. The Kachemak Tradition Eskimos left behind tools that are more than 3,000 years old. Pictographs possibly created by the Dena'ina date back 1,000-3,000 years.
Artifacts from around Kachemak Bay can be seen in museums around the world. In fact, items collected by Norwegian ethnographer Johan Adrian Jacobsen ended up in the Museum fur Volkenkunde in Berlin and in Russia. More than 6,000 items collected by Pennsylvanian anthropologist Frederica de Laguna in the early 1900s eventually traveled to the University Museum in Philadelphia.
Furs and fish drew Russians into the area in the 1700s.
Maps from the 1800s identify where coal deposits were embedded in bluffs along Kachemak Bay's north shore, and it was the abundance of coal that that attracted the North Pacific Mining and Transportation Co. and the Alaska Coal Co. During the years coal was being mined, a standard gauge railroad ran on a 7.5-mile track from the coal mine to the dock on the Spit.
As the interest in coal decreased, the hunger for gold kicked in. In 1896, Homer Pennock organized new arrivals for the Alaska Gold Mining Co. It was after Pennock that the city of Homer gets its name, with its first post office opening Oct. 3, 1896.
Fox farming and fishing boosted the local economy in the 1920s. So did the herring fishery in Halibut Cove, with salmon, crab and halibut fisheries in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet.
While the area's abundant resources drew some, land, in the form of homestead opportunities, attracted others to the area. Charles Miller staked one of the first homesteads in 1915, near the spot where Kachemak Drive meets East End Road.
After heavy winter ice destroyed the Cook Inlet Coal Co. dock, the Homer Dock Association built a new dock in 1938. That dock was destroyed by a severe winter that completely froze Kachemak Bay in 1947, and a new one eventually was rebuilt by the territorial government and supported by Homer taxes.
The Sterling Highway was completed in 1950, and Homer, at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, found itself connected by road to the rest of the continent.
Incorporated in 1964, Homer's first mayor was Ralph Cowles.
On March 27 of that year, the Good Friday Earthquake rocked Alaska with a magnitude of 9.2. Although centered in Prince William Sound, it caused the Spit to drop seven feet, taking with it tall trees and grasslands where cattle and horses once grazed.
Spit Road was reconstructed over a period of six years and at a cost of $6.7 million. What exists today is higher, wider and paved. However, heavy seas and high tides are constant reminders of Mother's Nature's power.
Pioneer Dock was built near the end of the Spit in 2002. It offers moorage for the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Hickory and Roanoke Island, state ferries, as well as research and cruise ships.