Historic Ketchikan is committed to the preservation of historic places and to the appreciation of our rich history by our community members and our visitors. We research our history and our buildings, we translate the results to colorful publications that entertain and inform, and we reach out to our community and visitors with interpretive signage, books and easy access to our products. These are some of our publications that support historic preservation in Ketchikan.
Historic Ketchikan has now produced seven editions of Our Town.Our latest edition is available for free at many locations in Ketchikan including most hotels, the Ketchikan Visitors Center, bookstores and of course at the Historic Ketchikan office. You can also enjoy the entire online version here at our web site by clicking next to the adjacent cover page graphic.
“Our Town” magazine is a publication of Historic Ketchikan, with support from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the City of Ketchikan. It is published every two or three years and brings up to date almost anything you would want to know about the community of Ketchikan.
Compiled from many sources, including many of Ketchikan’s fine photographers, the magazine is a community profile with general factual information and residents‘ opinions. It is designed to be informative and entertaining – a tribute to the spirit of a progressive community. It is not intended as a primary historical reference.
Here is a partial listing of the contents:
Ketchikan’s Founding, Area Map, Public Facilities, Climate, Chronology of Alaska, Attractions and Activities, Native Culture, Visitor Industry, Aviation, Education, Worship, Arts, Historical Neighborhoods, Forest and Resources, Recreation, Waterfront, Health Care, Wildlife and Hunting, Fishing Industry, Mining, Media, Community Profile.
Historic Ketchikan produced Spirit to provide a collection often entertaining stories about our past. Its popularity has depleted our present supplies and we are presently preparing a new edition. It is available at the Library and for sale at Parnassus Books
The vitality of historic Ketchikan shines in this collection of stories of the it’s checkered past, its spirited present and promising future. Forgotten facts from fading documents are combined with the memories of pioneers in this biography of an Alaska town. What emerges from the shadows of its history is a bright picture of a community that has managed to combine the treasures of its yesterdays with the pleasures of its today.
“At last, the bits and pieces of Ketchikan’s unique history have been collected between the covers of a book. To our pioneers, this book is an extended family history – of what we were and what we are.”
– Former Mayor Ted Ferry
Newtown Commercial Area Survey of Historic Properties
From the days of Tlingit Indian fish camps, to the early settlers, and to a brief stint as Alaska’s largest city, Ketchikan has a rich history. Present-day Ketchikan draws much of its strength and visitor appeal from this history and the wealth of historic properties it boasts.
Newtown commercial area began development before the turn of the century and in the next 30 years experienced booming growth. With semi-protected moorage and early merchants who built docks to attract seaborne commerce, it quickly became an important part of the city.
Newtown’s history is still evident in some 50 buildings and sites that contribute to its historic character, most of them dating from the turn of the century thru the 1920s. While many of its historic buildings have had alterations, the Newtown area is still in a position to preserve the charm of its past and to assure historical continuity in its future.
Creek Street Historic Survey
This publication provides a narrative and photographic summary of the history of the area and its historic buildings and sites. It provides a foundation for further restorations and improvements by property owners and local government. A printed copy may be available at our cost of printing by contacting the Historic Ketchikan office.
The Creek Street area’s special role in the historical development of Ketchikan has long been recognized. First, as the site of Tlingit Indian settlements for untold centuries and then, in the early 1900s, 50 years of notoriety as the most infamous red-light district in the Territory of Alaska. Following a 25-year period of decay and disrepair, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough in 1976 recognized the area’s historic importance and created our first local historic district. Considerable restoration of existing buildings as well as new construction followed and Creek Street became Ketchikan’s most famous visitor destination. In 2011, a survey of the heritage resources was conducted for Creek Street’s 24+ buildings and sites. In this publication, the history of historic Creek Street is presented as well as colorful, individual histories and descriptions of each heritage resource.
Downtown Historic Survey
This is another of our series of research efforts to document the stories of our historic neighborhoods. This publication guides future preservation efforts and serves as the background document for our nomination of historic Downtown to the National Register of Historic Places (now pending). A printed copy may be available at our cost of printing by contacting the Historic Ketchikan office.
From the days of Tlingit settlement, to the early settlers, to Ketchikan’s brief stint as Alaska’s largest city, Downtown has a rich history. Present-day Ketchikan draws much of its strength and visitor appeal from this history and from its bustling and accessible waterfront. Downtown’s historic character is still quite evident in some 40+ buildings and sites, most of them dating from the turn of the century to the early 1930s. In 2011, a historic survey was prepared to document Downtown’s heritage resources. This 123-page document summarizes the history of the Downtown as well as photo and narrative histories of each of its key historic buildings and sites.
Yates Memorial Hospital
Historic Ketchikan prepared this important publication to serve as a guide to restoration of the building and to inform our community and visitors about its history and importance to our future. A printed copy may be available at our cost of printing by contacting the Historic Ketchikan office
The Arthur Yates Memorial Hospital is part of the Episcopal Church group of buildings. It was built in 1905 and has served as an iconic landmark from Ketchikan’s earliest days. Escaping demolition many times, the building was unoccupied for many years and needed immediate attention. In 2012, Historic Ketchikan organized a team of local architects, engineers, code compliance specialists, historians and restoration experts to provide an assessment to guide redevelopment and re-use of this landmark building. The resulting document provides a wonderful photographic and narrative history of the building and the steps needed to advance its restoration. It has become HK’s guide to what we hope will be successful restoration of this community treasure.