The Russians knew of the limitless coal in this area in the early 1800s, and Americans were mining the seams only a decade after the Alaska Purchase. The gold rush began delivering people and supplies to the small port at the end of the sandy spit on their way to the gold fields at Hope  and Sunrise up the Inlet in the mid-1890s. One of the most flamboyant prospectors to pass through, Homer Pennock left his name on the settlement.
Mining the hundreds of millions of tons of accessible bituminous fuel continued until 1907, when a combination of fire in Homer , federal policy, and falling prices burned out the market. Slowly and inevitably, the fishers and homesteaders began settling in during the 1920s, and they found a lifetime supply of home-heating fuel free for the taking right on the beach; it’s still collected by some locals.
Homer remained a small fishing and canning port until the early 1950s, when the Sterling Highway finally connected the town with the rest of the continent. Since then, the population has grown to over 4,000 today, with commercial fishing and tourism the primary economic pillars.
Homer has an interesting mix of people. Drop by the docks and you’ll encounter both the long-haired Rasta crowd and Russian Old Believers whose women wear prim and proper long dresses while the men sport long beards.