A September 2001 trip
to Ketchikan by Linda Kaye
Quote: Ketchikan is a unique and beautiful city on the Inside Passage of Alaska. It was born out of the fishing and mining industries and remains rich in its Indian heritage.
Ketchikan supports four public grade schools, four parochial grade schools, a junior high, two high schools and the University of Alaska Southeast campus. Also it has nine hotels/motels, numerous Bed & Breakfast establishments, five campgrounds and several Hostels.
Worth a view is the mural on Stedman Street that was created by 21 Native artists in 1978 entitled "The Return of the Eagle". It is 125 feet wide by 18 feet high.
A walk on Creek Street, viewing local artisans and their beautiful creations, admiring the brightly colored flowers, which adorn the exterior of the downtown businesses, or fishing for salmon makes for a beautiful day in Ketchikan.
From the Bridge on Creek Street we watched the salmon swimming upstream. It was an incredible site, literally thousands and thousands of silver salmon "waiting" their turn to maneuver up the falls to the place where they would spawn.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2001
Attraction | "Saxman Totem Park"
In this Native community, tribal elders and others have worked hard to pass on many of the traditions of their ancestors to new generations, and we had a firsthand opportunity to see the results of these efforts. They eagerly share their history, art and ancestors’ way of life and help unravel the mysteries of the towering, majestic totem poles standing sentry over the present generation.
Our guide told us one unique story regarding the totem pole with Abe Lincoln’s likeness at the top. It is said that several government officials, while touring the Alaskan Wilderness, commissioned this totem pole in honor of the then current President of the U.S. Leaving a picture of Mr. Lincoln, the officials when on their way and return months later to view the masterpiece. Imagine their horror when they saw how short Mr. Lincoln looked. The Indians apparently did not unfold the picture they were given which would have revealed the complete picture of Abe.
Saxman Native Village
Attraction | "Fishing Anyone ?"
There are also many sport fishing expeditions available in the waters surrounding Ketchikan. These tours are usually 4 to 5 hours long and include tackle, fishing gear, bait, rain jacket, snacks and beverages for a cost of $160.00 per person.
Fish of the area include salmon, halibut, steelhead, lingcod and rockfish.
Tongass Narrows Dock
Ketchikan derived its name from a Tlingit Language and there is a long-standing controversy as to it’s meaning. One translation is "the creek of the thundering wings of an eagle". Another is "eagles with spread out wings". The creek flows through the town emptying into the Tongass Narrows and was originally an Indian fishing camp. Settlement of Ketchikan began with interest in mining and fishing with the first salmon cannery opening in 1886.
Gold, silver and copper mining created a booming mining town when gold was discovered nearby in 1898. The mining waned and by 1930 Ketchikan earned the title of "Salmon Capital of the World".
Ketchikan’s annual rainfall makes it one of the wettest spots on the continent. With an average annual rainfall of 169 inches it is also called the "Rain Capital of Alaska". Most of this rain falls during the winter months.
Ketchikan has also been called Alaska’s "First City" because it is the first city along the Inside Passage. However, Ketchikan residents will tell you "First City" refers to its place in their hearts, a place held because of its rich cultural heritage and continuing respect for the influence of the true first residents, the Tlingit Indians.
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