By 1936 there were seven canneries working, producing almost two million cases of salmon a season. The need for lumber fostered the Ketchikan Spruce Mills built in 1903, which operated for over 70 years. The lumber industry collapsed when the Clinton administration moved to reduce timber cutting in Alaska by having the U.S. Forest service cancel contracts for timber in March 1997 on Federal land.
The town gets its name from the Tongass and Tlingit Indians who named their fish camp kitschk-hin, meaning stream with “thundering wings of eagles.” While Skagway attracted gold prospectors, Ketchikan was a treasure trove of abundant fish and timber that attracted Americans to the area. In 1885, Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan to found the township. The first cannery was built in 1886 near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek and by 1912 four more were in operation.
Where Your Ship Docks
Cruise ships will normally dock at the piers right along the historic areas waterfront.
Ketchikan is a small town with the central district encompassing only a few dozen blocks. Most trips out of town involve specific nature tours by bus, car, boat or plane. The town is located on one of Alaska’s large coastal islands with most of it covered in large tracts of undeveloped forest.
Ketchikan is an American town and uses the U.S. Dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATM machines are available.
Shopping offers a number of opportunities with local native crafts traditional gifts and souvenirs with the locally smoked and canned salmon being high on everyone’s list being reasonably priced and a great take-home prize.