is well known as the salmon capital of the world and a paradise for sport fishermen and
naturalists alike. During the summer months, our town bustles with visitors from all over
the world. While the rustic boardwalk on Creek Street preserves a distinct historic feel,
the town hums with new construction to keep up with the ever-expanding wave of tourism.
has a population of 14,500 and is built along a steep hillside, with sections of the town
built right over the water on pilings. An outstanding collection of totem poles make a visit to Ketchikan
essential for anyone interested in Native art. Ketchikan's name supposedly comes from the
native term "Katch Kanna", which roughly translates: "spread wings of a
thundering eagle" and rightly named, for you only need to look along the water line
and you're likely to see many bald eagles on waterside perches.
Our beautiful town is located on the western coast of Revillagigedo
Island, near the southernmost boundary of Alaska. It is 679 miles north of Seattle and 235
miles south of Juneau. The 2.2 million acre Misty Fjords National Monument lies 22 air
miles east of Ketchikan. Ketchikan is the first Alaska port of call for northbound cruise
ships and State ferries. The area encompasses 3 sq. miles of land and 1 sq. miles of water. The area
lies in the maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers, and heavy
precipitation. Summer temperatures range from 51 to 65; winter temperatures range from 29
to 39. Ketchikan averages 162 inches (13.5 feet) of precipitation annually, including 32
inches of snowfall.
originally as a fishing camp,
Ketchikan today bustles with activity. Ketchikan almost seems today like it had been built for its
many visitors. The Ketchikan Airport is located on its own island, Gravina Island. From
Ketchikan's airport it is a short ferry ride across Tongass Narrows to the city of
We also welcome one or more Alaska State Ferries nearly everyday and cruise
ships grace our harbor from May through September. On a busy day, we could have as many as
6 large cruise ships at a time in our harbor.
Ketchikan's History dates back to 1883, when a man named Snow built a
salmon saltery. Two years later, businessmen from Portland, Oregon, hired Mike Martin to
investigate possibilities for building a salmon cannery on the banks of Ketchikan Creek.
By the early 1900's, Martin and the cannery's manager, George Clark, had set up a
partnership and had opened a saltery and a general store. Two years later, with the
fishing trade flourishing, Ketchikan was definitely in business. And by 1900, with a
population of 800, the town was officially incorporated.
With mining activities beginning in the area, Ketchikan became an
important trading community, with an estimated two-thirds of miners' wages reportedly
ending up in the bars and bordellos of Creek Street. Despite a mining decline, the fishing
industry and timber operations began to grow with establishment of the Ketchikan Spruce
Mills early in the century. In 1954, Ketchikan Pulp Mill was completed at nearby Ward
Cove, assuring jobs not only in town, but in the surrounding woods as well. Today, the
logging industry has nearly disappeared and Ketchikan is now starting to focus on another