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Ketchikan Welcomes You

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Gunalchéesh haa xánt keeyiteení! -Tlingit

The Rock Welcomes You

A Tlingit woman sits with her drum singing her song of Ketchikan. She tells the story seen on The Rock statue on the pier. She sings of how the loggers came and harvested the trees, the miners mined the gold, the fishermen dared the sea for the salmon and the halibut, and the pilots braved the sky, carrying people out beyond the reach of any ship or road. The pioneer woman arrives on her own, looking out over the horizon of opportunity that awaits her here in this new land.

Atop The Rock stands Chief Johnson who, in the early days of Ketchikan, would be waiting on the dock to greet travellers arriving on the ships sailing from San Francisco and Seattle. He offered them trinkets for sale and in this way began a cultural exchange that continues today. He stands as a visionary as he now welcomes the world. Ketchikan was founded by the vision and heroic efforts of these pioneers.

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Ketchikan is the fifth-most populous city in Alaska with a population of more than 14,000. Known as the Salmon Capital of the World, Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island, 90 miles (140 km) north of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and 235 miles (378 km) south of Juneau. This picturesque city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km2). Its local economy is based on tourism and fishing.

The half a mile (800 m) wide Tongass Narrows channel separates Ketchikan from Gravina Island, where Ketchikan International Airport is located. The city is named after Ketchikan Creek. Ketchikan comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, which means “thundering wings of an eagle.”

Read more about Ketchikan.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. You have certainly sparked my interest with this one, Patricia!
    Your photos are amazing. The story flows so wondrously from the beginning with the drummer and the monument. So much more than a travelogue. Thank you!

    April 7, 2013
    • Thank you Annie. I hope you visit Ketchikan one day.

      My favourite tour was the streetcar that departs from the pier. The driver shared several interesting stories as he took us through the back streets of Ketchikan. One interesting bit of information he shared was that fire truck and police vehicles are not allowed to drive faster than 20 mph in town. The speed limit is 20 mph. Another story was about a bear that entered the grocery store and was found sitting in the middle of an aisle eating produce. Getting the bear out of the store was tricky.

      April 7, 2013

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