Established in 1899, Andreafsky served as a winter headquarters and supply depot for a riverboat fleet that belonged to Northern Commercial Company, then Alaska’s largest rural retailer. The village gets its name from the Andrea family, who founded a nearby Russian Orthodox Church. The community is located along the Andreafsky River about five miles from where the Yukon and Andreafsky rivers meet.
Four years after Andreafsky was established, Jesuit missionaries set up a mission 90 miles downriver on an island. Saint Mary’s was a community that was established to care for local children sickened or orphaned by a flu epidemic. However, being located on an island in a slough proved to be a difficult place for a village. About 50 years after it was established, village residents decided to move to higher ground and headed to the area near Andreafsky. Andreafsky remained independent from Saint Mary’s until 1980, when residents voted to be annexed into the city.
Today the Yupiit of Andreafski is a federally recognized tribe. The Yup’ik Eskimos live a traditional subsistence lifestyle, harvesting salmon, moose, bears and waterfowl. A 22-mile road links Saint Mary’s to Andreafsky as well as the nearby communities of Pitka’s Point and Mountain Village. Although the road is not maintained during winter months, it is still traveled on by snowmachines.