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.”
Did You Know?
- At the turn of the century, the Loring Cannery produced more cans of salmon that any other cannery in Alaska. The cannery and related housing had a larger population than Ketchikan.
- Highschool students use a gravel field to play football. Ouch!
- Ketchikan receives almost 1,000,000 visitors each year, most arrive by cruise ships.
- There is a 20 mph speed limit in Ketchikan that all vehicles must obey, including police and fire trucks.
- Mike Martin purchased 160 acres of land from Chief Kyan in 1885, which later became the Township of Ketchikan.
- The Cape Fox Tlingits and Tongass used Ketchikan Creek as a fish camp.
- The Ketchikan Post Office was established in 1892.
- By 1936 there were seven canneries in operation in Ketchikan.
- In September after the last cruise ship departs, the buildings in the downtown area are emptied of stock and closed for the winter.