Interesting facts about our great state of Alaska and our magnificent city of Ketchikan and our small community of Loring. Our lodge is located in Loring, and our property was once a thriving Alaska cannery and saltery. Loring is about 25 miles from Ketchikan. Ketchikan is the southernmost city in Alaska, also called the first city. It is only a 90 minute flight from Seattle, WA.
Shark Fishing in Alaska? From Kayaks???
Hard to fathom, but these intrepid people went fishing for Salmon sharks from their kayaks! These sharks are caught north of us and can weigh over 400 lbs a piece!
Halibut larger than a person?
Halibut can get as large as 8ft long and over 500 lbs. There are undocumented reports of fish weighing up to 700 lbs. These fish are like reeling in a barn door, thus getting their name, “barn door halibut”.
Large halibut caught in Bering Sea
Alaskans like to fly
Alaskans, per capita, have more airplanes than any other state. Because of its large size, flying becomes a necessity in some parts of Alaska. Over six times the national average, Alaskans also have more trained pilots per capita.
A Wave Taller than a Skyscraper?
In 1958 at Lituya Bay, Alaska, a large chunk of land slid into the water after an earthquake. Because of shape of the bay, this generated a giant wave over 1,700 ft tall! There were a couple fishing boats at the entrance to the bay, a few people died and a few actually survived.
Alaska First to Experiment with Electric Cars?
In Fairbanks and other northern cities of Alaska, the temperatures can plummet to -60 degrees (F) in the winter. To keep the antifreeze and oil from freezing, they plug in block heaters to their house. Then in the morning, the engine won’t be frozen. Many people also leave their car running while they are shopping. Ketchikan, a thousand miles south of Fairbanks, has a much milder climate.
How Large is Alaska?
- At one time, Alaska had three time zones. Because the hassle, they have taken an average and dropped it down to one timezone.
- Alaska is two times bigger than Texas.
- Alaska has over 44,000 miles of coast line, enough to almost go around the world twice.
- Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers, 3,000 rivers, and 3,000,000 lakes.
17 of the 20 highest peaks in the US are in Alaska, including the highest, Denali.
- Eight of the top ten largest US islands are in Alaska.
Sarah Palin’s Favorite Topic
Sarah was fond of talking about Government waste by referencing our “Bridge to Nowhere”. Ketchikan was divided itself about the issue. Some of us lamented losing our natural beauty by having a large bridge in our small town.
Revilla Island 11th largest in US
Ketchikan is located on Revilla Island, which is the 11th largest in the U.S. The island is larger than Maui and Hawaii. At over 730,000 acres, or 1,115 square miles, it mostly made up of the Tongass National Forest.
How Fast is a Slug?
Every year, Ketchikan residents try to find the answer to this question. Kids gather slugs from their backyards and race them against each other during the Blueberry Arts Festival in August.
High School Football Field is GRAVEL!
Ketchikan is a little wet to keep grass in playing condition for football, so the students simply use a gravel field for their practice and games. Ouch!
Small Town, Large Ships
Ketchikan gets almost 1,000,000 visitors a year, in our town of 14,000 people. Most people visit on large cruise ships which are up to 1,000 ft long. Up to 6 ships can come in a single day.
Because of a distinct lack of flat ground in the area, Ketchikan played baseball on the beach flats around he turn of the century. If the game wasn’t over, it was called when the tide came in.
Swim around an Island
Each year, a swarm of crazy people compete to swim around Pennock Island, a local island near Ketchikan. This charity event has gained momentum and now draws swimmers from around the U.S. Two to five hours is a long time to swim in 57 degree water, but they keep doing it!
Very Old Property
The property that our lodge is located on is a very old property as far as Alaska is concerned. Its survey number is United States Survey #8, or USS8. This was the 8th property surveyed in Alaska. It was once the site of an early Alaska cannery and saltery.
Fish Traps, Alaska Statehood, and our Lodge
The USS 8 property that the lodge is located on and the manager that worked here was an important reason why Alaska became a state in 1959. J.R. Heckman was the superintendent of the Loring cannery in the early 1900’s. After fixed fish traps were banned in 1906, he invented the floating fish trap. This was a deadly efficient means of harvesting salmon and many in Alaska were opposed to it because for various reasons. One of the main reasons Alaska became a state was to ban these fish traps, and in fact did so immediately after becoming a state.
Hollywood at our Cannery
Hollywood shot a motion picture film in 1930 called The Silver Horde. A movie about fish pirates and the fighting that was storied to go with them. Many of the scenes were shot at our cannery, and some of the old machinery is shown. The movie is available at Amazon.com.
Silver Horde at Amazon.
Our Cannery was the Largest in Alaska
At one time around the turn of the century, the Loring cannery produced more cans of Salmon that any other cannery in Alaska. The cannery and related housing also had a larger population than Ketchikan at that time.
USFS Loring Heritage
$500,000 Painting from our Cannery?
In 1889, the steamer Ancon left the cannery dock on our property. Unfortunately, it was untied before the steam was up and it wrecked on a beach 200 yds from the property. On that ship was the famous American artist Albert Bierstadt. Stuck in Loring while they waited for a new ship, he painted The Wreck of the Ancon. This painting is now at Museum of Fine arts in Boston. His paintings are typically auctioned for $500,000 to $750,000 today.