Nikolski may be the oldest continuously occupied community in the world. Archaeological evidence from Ananiuliak Island, on the north side of Nikolski Bay, dates as far back as 8,500 years ago. The Chaluka archaeological site, in the village of Nikolski, indicates 4,000 years of virtually continuous occupation.
In 1834, Russian sea otter hunters named the village “Recheshnoe,” which means “river.” In 1920, a boom in fox farming occurred here. The Unangan became affluent enough to purchase a relatively large boat, the “Umnak Native,” which was wrecked in 1933. A sheep ranch was established in 1926 as part of the Aleutian Livestock Company. In June 1942, when the Japanese attacked Unalaska and seized Attu and Kiska, residents were evacuated to the Ketchikan area, and some returned in 1944. In the 1950s, the Air Force constructed a White Alice Communications System here, which provided some jobs. It was abandoned in late 1977.
Today, about 40 people live in Nikolski, and declining population led to the closure of the Nikolski School, built in 1939 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in 2010. An ANCSA village corporation, the Chaluka Corporation, and a federally recognized tribe, the Native Village of Nikolski, are located in the community.