Dave Kiffer is a freelance
writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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226: Winn Brindle's national exposure; Legendary Ketchikan cannery owner once appeared in baby food ad By DAVE KIFFER - Ketchikan was barely three years old as an incorporated town when one of its youngest residents became nationally famous. - More...
Friday PM - November 26, 2021
225: The First City in 1898, before it was a city; Visitor from Tacoma wrote it was his idea to move the customs house to Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - In 1898, Ketchikan was collection of shacks on the edge of becoming a city. By 1900, it would incorporate and eventually go on to become - briefly - the largest city in the territory of Alaska. - More...
Sunday PM - October 14, 2021
225: The Drs. Dickinson; Husband and Wife Team
Served Ketchikan for Half a Century - George Dickinson, who practiced for 50 years in the First City, may not have been Ketchikan's first doctor, but he was Ketchikan's "first Medicine Man" according to those that knew him. - More...
Sunday PM - October 03, 2021
224: When Fur Farming was Alaska's third biggest industry; Hundreds of farms dotted islands in Southeast By DAVE KIFFER - Every so often, when exploring a remote island in the Alexander Archipelago, one can come upon aset of puzzling remains. - More...
Sunday PM - September 12, 2021
223: 'People still have to eat'; A history of grocery stores in the First City By DAVE KIFFER
- With the announcement, ealier this year, that Tatsuda's Supermarket would not reopen after a landslide destroyed its Stedman Street store last year, it not only marked the end of a century old local business, it also marked the first time in 130 years that Downtown Ketchikan would be without a grocery store. - More..
Thursday PM - September 02, 2021
222: They called him "Six Shooter"; Grant was town's first 'official' lawman;
And once "bought" Ketchikan for $1By DAVE KIFFER - Any "frontier town," as Ketchikan was in the first two decades of the 20th Century, is bound to have characters. - More...
Monday PM - August 23, 2021
221: Gravina: A Tale of Two Islands By DAVE KIFFER
- Considering that Ketchikan residents spend a lot of time staring across Tongass Narrows at Gravina Island, there is a lot that most people don't know about it. - More...
Saturday PM - August 14, 2021
220: 93 Years in The First City! By DAVE KIFFER - Merta Smith Kiffer, my mother, would have turned 100 on July 26. - More...
Monday AM - July 26, 2021
219: The Death of a Snitch; Who or what killed Tiny Walker In Ketchikan's Prohibition Days? By DAVE KIFFER
- Ketchikan sometimes glamourizes the local scene during Prohibition. While the rest of the country was allegedly "bone dry" from 1919 to 1933, Ketchikan's booming salmon canning economy and its proximity to ready alcohol in Prince Rupert meant that the First City was anything but "tee-totaling" despite the best efforts of the territorial prohibition agents. - More...
Sunday PM - July 18, 2021
218: Bill Mitchell's last blaze was 60 years ago; Firefighter responsible for at least 5 local arsons in 50s and 60s By DAVE KIFFER - - On July 3, 1961, Ketchikan was ramping up for another Fourth of July celebration. Loggers and fishermen were flooding the town, Dock Street was closed off to vehicle traffic and residents were flocking to the food and game booths. It seemed like all 6,750 residents were in the downtown prepping for the next day's parade, logging show and fireworks. - More...
PM - July 11, 2021
217: The Goose was everyone's favorite 'bird'; Grumman amphibian defined SE air travel for 30 years By DAVE KIFFER - There have been many types of airplanes that have flown in Southeast Alaska in the last century, but there is little question that the most fondly remembered is the Grumman Goose. - More...
Sunday PM - June 13, 2021
216: Early SE cruise ship had a long sea life; Spirit of London became the Sun Princess; Ship visited Ketchikan for 'sled dog race' By DAVE KIFFER - Even in the relentlessly peripatetic world of the cruise ship industry, the ship that was once called the Spirit of London had a remarkable run. - More...
Saturday PM - June 05, 2021
215: Charcoal Point: From One R to the Three Rs; Pre-Prohibition roadhouse became school For children of Ketchikan's north suburbs By DAVE KIFFER - There have been several long-time schools in Ketchikan. - More...
Wednesday PM - May 26, 2021
214: The Aussie who loved Ketchikan; For 40 years, Len Laurance was The Ketchikan Visitor Industry By DAVE KIFFER - It is likely the most famous story in the history of the Ketchikan visitor industry. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 20, 2021
213: Homeporting the Fairweather, a decades long quest By DAVE KIFFER - A nearly two-decade quest to build a "homeport" dock for the NOAA research and survey vessel came to fruition last week, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency announced it had awarded an $18 million contract to Anchorage-based Ahtna Infrastructure and Technologies LLC. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 13, 2021
212: Ketchikan's rainfall notoriety goes way back; In 1916 Visiting Writer Dubbed First City 'The Rainiest Town' By DAVE KIFFER - Perception is often reality, so although there may be some wetter places in America than Ketchikan (Little Port Walter, Kauai Island in Hawaii, the coast north of Yakutat) Ketchikan is generally considered the rainiest "town" in America. - More....
Monday PM - April 05, 2021
211: Coast Guard Award Honors Man Who Died On Gravina In 1964; Five died when Albatross crashed after searching for sinking boat By DAVE KIFFER - Twice each year at United States Coast Guard air wings across the country, there is a chance for special recognition for service men and women with the awarding of the Lt. Robert A. Perchard Memorial Trophy. - More...
Monday PM - March 29, 2021
210: A Tale of Two Totems; Campbell poles graced downtown Ketchikan - For two decades, ended up in Switzerland By DAVE KIFFER - For more than two decades, a pair of non "traditional" full-sized totem poles stood on Mission Street in front of a local jewelry store in downtown Ketchikan. They were as much a part of the downtown as the Welcome Arch and are still remembered by people who lived in Ketchikan between the 1930s and the 1950s. - More...
Monday AM - March 15, 2021
209: Connecting Ketchikan to the Outside world; Recent KPU submarine cable latest in a century of 'cables' By DAVE KIFFER - In today's world where a few simple keystrokes can connect you with nearly anyone in the world, it is hard to imagine a time when such a thing was not possible. Yet, it was only a century ago when Ketchikan and much of Alaska was "cut off" from the rest of the world and communication was anything but instantaneous. - More...
February 28, 2021
208: Drency, Lillian Dudley were pioneers for Civil Rights; Local couple faced racism, but were community leaders By DAVE KIFFER - One of the primary sports fields in Ketchikan is the Drency Dudley Field. More precisely, it is the Drency Dudley Bicentennial Field. - More...
February 14, 2021
207: Seeking a Road to Somewhere; For nearly a century, Ketchikan has Yearned for a way to drive off the island By DAVE KIFFER - With future ferry service up in the air and the price of both barge shipping and air travel on the rise, you could certainly forgive Ketchikan residents for wistfully wondering how life would be different in Southern Southeast if a road connected Ketchikan to the rest of the continent. - More...
Saturday - January 23, 2021
206: The time the Arctic Bar went 'in the drink'; Fishermen went "dipnetting" for floating bottles in Thomas Basin By DAVE KIFFER - Just about every time there is a high tide in Ketchikan Creek or a storm swells the runoff from Granite Basin, someone mentions the time the Arctic Bar literally "went into the drink." - More...
Friday PM - January 08, 2021
205: Ketchikan 2020 Year in Review:COVID cancels entire cruise ship season; International pandemic affects all residents, even those that remained healthy By DAVE KIFFER
- Like the rest of the world, the biggest news story in Ketchikan was the quarantine caused by the Corona Virus or COVID 19. Most of Ketchikan was shut down from mid-March through the end of April harkening back to the month- long closure of the Ketchikan economy and social world for a month during the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918. - More...
Saturday PM - January 02, 2020
204: A Prince of Wales Canal?; A train was also considered to bridge SE's biggest island By DAVE KIFFER - At more than 130 miles in length, it takes a long time for a boat to get around Prince of Wales Island when it travels from Ketchikan or Wrangell to communities on the western side of the island. - MORE...
Sunday AM - November 15, 2020
203: The Short Life of Fort Tongass; Military base was on the border barely two years - One hundred and fifty years ago, the United States' government attempt to militarize the border in Southern Southeast Alaska ended. - More...
Tuesday AM - November 03, 2020
202: A real “Schooner of Beer”; Ketchikan’s floating brewery operated for nearly a decade By DAVE KIFFER - For a town that loves its alcohol as much as Ketchikan does, it is somewhat surprising that there have been only a few efforts to commercially brew alcohol in Ketchikan. A decade ago, a brewery operated briefly in the Downtown area on Mission Street and in the past couple of years, two brewing operations have either opened or announced plans to. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020
201: When JFK Came to Ketchikan; Future president was most likely laying the groundwork for his eventual campaign By DAVE KIFFER - Among Ketchikan residents of a certain age there is a strong memory of John F. Kennedy coming to Ketchikan in 1960 and speaking to a packed audience at the Coliseum Theater shortly before he became President. - More...
Friday AM - October 30, 2020
200: Not All Die in Combat; Ketchikan man was killed in huge munitions explosion in World War II By DAVE KIFFER - Not all the people who die in wartime are killed in combat. Traditionally, one quarter of the war deaths that Americans have suffered since the Civil War have been either during in training or in accidents unrelated to battle itself. - More...
Wednesday AM - August 26, 2020
199: World War II in Ketchikan; War years were ones of uncertainty, change in the First City By DAVE KIFFER - Seventy-five years ago this month, the defining event of the 20th Century, World War II, came to an end. - More...
Sunday PM - August 16, 2020
198: Back when doctors made house calls! Members of the Wilson family served Ketchikan for more than 60 years - For more than 60 years, health care in Ketchikan was spelled with a "W," as in Wilson. - More...
Saturday PM - July 25, 2020
197: Museum documents trace the 'ownership' of the First City; Downtown Ketchikan changed hands for $1 in 1899 By DAVE KIFFER - For generations, Tlingit natives came to what was later called Ketchikan Creek every summer and fall to harvest some of the more than one million salmon that returned every year. It was one of the largest salmon streams in the region. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
196: The Hygiene sailed Southeast waters looking for TB; State focused on stopping 20th Century plague By DAVE KIFFER - In the first half of the 20th Century, tuberculosis was rampant in Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 07, 2020
195: Not all came back; Local man was on Navy sub that disappeared in WW II By DAVE KIFFER - Some 850 men and women from Ketchikan took part in military service in World War II. Six died in the war and five were buried with honors, either in Ketchikan or at military cemeteries elsewhere. But one "local" man who died in World War II, Jerome Richard Rice, isn't buried anywhere. - More...
Friday PM - June 26, 2020
194: A South Tongass Airport? Not really, but a local pilot did land there once By DAVE KIFFER - Before the middle part of the 20th Century, Southeast Alaska was a generally unhospitable place for land planes. - More...
Monday PM - June 22, 2020
193: A Jumbo Mine and a jumbo political impeachment; Sulzer brothers both served in Congress, promoted Alaska statehood By DAVE KIFFER - What does an old ghost town on Prince of Wales Island have to do with the only New York Governor to be impeached? Nothing. And everything. - More...
Sunday PM - May 24, 2020
192: The Rustanius sisters; Ketchikan women were early ‘heroines of the horizon’ By DAVE KIFFER - When one thinks of the Southeast Alaska bush pilot, the image of the cowboy often comes to mind. The lone individual - in this case the pilot - struggling against nature to safely navigate the weather and the terrain and tie together the distinct and isolated communities of the Panhandle. - More...
Sunday PM - May 17, 2020
191: Ott Inman: One of the builders of Ketchikan; Boat builder, sawmiller, cooper, undertaker By DAVE KIFFER - A young city requires entrepreneurs if it wants to grow and survive. Austin "Ott" Inman was one of the first Ketchikan entrepreneurs, there at the beginning as Ketchikan began its 130-year march from a collection of shacks by Ketchikan Creek into one of the Alaska's primary cities. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 21, 2020
190: Planes aren't the only kind of 'otters' that have flown in Southeast; Local pilots helped transplant Aleutian otters in late 1960s. By DAVE KIFFER - Bush pilots are often required to carry interesting things, but one of the most interesting cargos ever flown into Southeast Alaska was several dozen sea otters that were being used to boost local stocks that had been in decline ever since the Russians moved to Sitka in the early 1800s and decimated the native otters. - More...
Monday PM - April 13, 2020
189: The 'King of Cruising' and the Princess Patricia; Stanley McDonald got the idea for Pacific cruising at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair By DAVE KIFFER - It isn’t often that an entire industry can be pegged to the creative drive of one person. But while there were “cruise ships” before Stanley McDonald took a small Canadian steam ship and began making runs between Los Angeles and Mexico in 1965, there is a reasonable argument that the $134 billion cruise industry would not be where it is today without him. - More....
Wednesday PM - April 01, 2020
188: Ketchikan pilot found millionaire's plane crash in Boca de Quadra in early 1950s; Herman Ludwigsen had a long career of finding downed planes, flyers By DAVE KIFFER - Most area residents are familiar with the plane crash of legendary pilot Harold Gillam in Boca de Quadra back in 1943. But almost exactly a decade later there was another crash in Boca de Quadra, barely a mile away from where Gillam's plane when down. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 25, 2020
187: (ANALYSIS) Marine HIghway facing rough waters; Costs spiral as the state reduced funding leading to layups and service cutbacks. By DAVE KIFFER - MORE...
Monday PM - February 10, 2020
186: The 20-year anniversary of Flight 261; Maintenance error led to the death of 88 By DAVE KIFFER - Twenty years ago this week, an Alaska Airlines MD- 83 crashed in the ocean near Los Angeles on a flight from Puerto Vallarta to San Francisco and Seattle. It was the second deadliest crash in Alaska Airlines history and shined a light on what investigators determined was a lax maintenance regime in the airline. - More...
Thursday PM - January 30, 2020
185 2019 YEAR IN REVIEW; Plane crash tragedies strike Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - The biggest story of 2019 was also the biggest tragedy. Eight people died in two plane crashes barely a week apart in May. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 07, 2020
184 Malaspina Once Rescued Passengers, Crewmembers From Burning Cruise Ship By DAVE KIFFER - The state ferry Malaspina, which was taken out of service after nearly 60 years earlier this month, was involved in one of the most dramatic rescues on the Canadian Pacific Coast more than 40 years ago. - More..
Thursday PM - December 19, 2019
183 Ward Cove has been Ketchikan economic engine for 100 years; Cruise ship port would redevelop pulp mill site By DAVE KIFFER - This summer's announcement that a multi-ship cruise terminal is planned for the old Ketchikan Pulp Mill site in Ward Cove is a reminder of the important economic role the cove has played in the community over the years. - More...
Saturday PM - NOvember 29, 2019
182 A Famous Photographer Visits Southeast Alaska; A century and half ago, Muybridge took the first photos of Alaska. By DAVE KIFFER - Each year several million photographs are taken of Alaska. Granted many, these days, are selfies in which the photographer's face is more prominent than the Alaska scenery, but parts of the Last Frontier are remain among the most photographed places on Earth. - More...
Saturday PM - November 23, 2019
181 An American forester who spent much of his career supporting the development of the Alaska Territory By DAVE KIFFER - B. Frank Heintzleman's place in Alaskan history primarily comes from his stint as one of Alaska's final territorial governors in the 1950s. - More...
Monday PM - November 04, 2019
180 75 Hours at Sea on the Columbia; End to end in Southeast Alaska, Possibly for the last time - When the State Ferry workers went on strike this summer, one of my friends - who obviously needs to get out more - was surprised. - More...
Sunday PM - October 20, 2019
179 Did Klondike Ship Go Down With Half Ton of Gold? Iceberg claimed SS Islander in 1901 By DAVE KIFFER - Just about everyone knows the story of the Titanic, the luxury liner that struck an iceberg and sank, taking 1,500 passengers to the bottom of the North Atlantic in 1912. - More...
Saturday PM - October 05, 2019
178 A historic boat works struggles to hang on; Property dispute threatens 80-year old boat shop By DAVE KIFFER - Once upon a time, there were dozens of small, independent boat builders in Southeast Alaska. Ingenuity and a seemingly endless supply of wood meant that it was usually cheaper to meet the regional need by building locally. - More...
Monday PM - September 30, 2019
177 The King of Ketchikan, Circa 1940; Salmon industry lobbyist one of the most powerful men in Alaska By DAVE KIFFER - From the 1930s to the 1950s, Winton C. Arnold was the most powerful man in Ketchikan. By some accounts, he was one of the most powerful men in Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - September 16, 2019
176 Alaska for Greenland? The US considered it after WW II By DAVE KIFFER - Even 80 years after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia it still wasn't sure what to do with The Last Frontier. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 20, 2019
175 Alaskan pardons are rare; Gov. Knowles once pardoned a man over a racial attack in Wartime Wrangell By DAVE KIFFER - Gubernatorial pardons are a very rare thing in Alaska. In fact, there hasn't been one since the early 2000s and there have been barely 100 pardons issues in Alaska's 60 years of statehood. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 20, 2019
174 Tragic laundry fire killed three during WWII ; Coast Guardsmen were staying in building that had been taken from Japanese internee By DAVE KIFFER - Hundreds of stories of servicemen and woman dying in combat in World War II have been passed down in the past 75 years.- More...
Monday PM - June 24, 2019
173 New book celebrates Southeast Canneries; Pat Roppel's friends publish her last book By DAVE KIFFER - When longtime Southeast resident and historian Pat Roppel died in 2015, it was the end of the career of the person most responsible for putting Southeast history into print over the last four decades. - More...
Thursday PM - June 20, 2019
172 A Blast From The Past - Thank goodness Ketchikan never needed its fallout shelters By DAVE KIFFER - A half century ago, Ketchikan - like most of the rest of the country - was gripped in the Cold War between the United States and the USSR. - More...
Tuesday AM - June 11, 2019
171 A late night visit to Creek Street; Old memo details a 'meeting' between police chief, Dolly Arthur By DAVE KIFFER - History and time have a way of rubbing the rough edges off a person. - More...
Monday PM - April 29, 2019
170 A snapshot of Ketchikan in 1910; Local pamphlet was developed to boost mining industry By DAVE KIFFER - We often forget that Ketchikan was, in its infancy, a mining town. - More...
Friday PM - April 19, 2019
169 Famous steamer captain remembered in local landmark; Carroll Inlet named after early ship captain By DAVE KIFFER - When you live in an area for any length of time, you usually begin to ignore the place names. If the names have a particular significance, their meaning may linger awhile in the consciousness, but usually they become just part of the generally forgotten background to the community. - More...
Monday AM - February 25, 2019
168 Prohibition attempted to ban alcohol a century ago; Alaska enacted a ban two years earlier, neither one worked By DAVE KIFFER - It is hard imagine a time when the authorities tried to ban alcohol in Alaska. - More...
Saturday AM - January 26, 2019
167 2018 Year in Review By DAVE KIFFER - The youth of Ketchikan figured into several of the most prominent stories in 2018. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 08, 2019
166 The original "Salmon Capital of the World";Karluk was Alaska's original salmon boom town long before Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - Long before Ketchikan "appropriated" the title of Salmon Capital of the World in the 1920s, another Alaskan community was indeed the salmon capital of the world. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 18, 2018
165 Prince Rupert Cherry Blossom Gift Remembered with Plaque; Historic gift came to light when trees were accidentally cut down By DAVE KIFFER - It was a simple act of re-landscaping some government property in Prince Rupert earlier this year, but it brought to light the story of a pioneering Japanese family in the community and the tragic historical event that affected such families up and down the coast seven decades ago. - More...
Wednesday PM - December 05, 2018
164 An ‘Unremarkable Storm’; But Ketchikan residents remember Thanksgiving Day Storm of 1968 By DAVE KIFFER - According to the National Weather Service it wasn't even that unusual of a storm. - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2018
163 Historic plane to be NY hotel lounge; 60 year old Constellation flew in Alaska, made drug runs elsewhere By DAVE KIFFER - A Lockheed Constellation prop plane with a lengthy history in Alaska in the 1960s and 70s including at the Annette Island Airfield, is getting a second life. As a lounge at a new hotel at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 07, 2018
162 Princess Sophia Sank 100 Years Ago; 350 passengers, crew died in the waters near Juneau By DAVE KIFFER - It has been one hundred years since the worst marine disaster to ever strike the Inside Passage occurred. But even in communities that were directly affected by the disaster, there has been little to remember the sinking of the Canadian steamship Princess Sophia and the loss of her 350 passengers and crew. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 23, 2018
161 Remembering a local legend ; 40 years after his death, Ed Todd remains fresh in the mind of the minds of those that flew with him By DAVE KIFFER - It has been 40 years since legendary Ketchikan pilot Ed Todd made his final flight. But the Ketchikan-based “Cowboy of the Skies” who called everyone “partner” remains very alive in the memories of the people who knew him. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 09, 2018
160 Remembering the 'Queens' of the Alaska and BC Ferry Systems; Sister ferries went from Europe to the Northwest Coast By DAVE KIFFER - Fifty years ago, the Stena Danica and the Stena Brittanica were the newest ships in the Swedish ferry giant Stena Lines fleet. But both proved to have short lives in that busy fleet and both eventually would make their way to the Alaska/Canada northwest coast, where under different names they would make their marks. - More...
Monday PM - September 17, 2018
159 Father Duncan died 100 years ago; 'Apostle of Alaska' was 86 By DAVE KIFFER - A century ago, an 86-year-old man passed away in Metlakatla. He had been in ill health for some time, after falling several months previously. The official cause was "apoplexy" which was then what strokes and heart attacks were thought to cause. - More...
Monday PM - September 03, 2018
158 1978 Lab Bay Goose Crash was most deadly on record; After 40 years, still no explanation for crash that killed 12 By DAVE KIFFER - Forty years ago this week, one of the last Grumman Goose amphibians operating commercially in Southeast crashed just off the northern tip of Prince of Wales Island. Twelve people died in the crash, making it one of the worst aviation accidents in the history of Southeast Alaska. At the time, it was the highest loss of life in a Grumman Goose crash. - More...
Thursday PM - August 30, 2018
157 Gravina airport is 45 years old; Jet age came to Tongass Narrows in 1973, a promised bridge did not By DAVE KIFFER - Forty five years ago this weekend, the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina opened. - More...
Friday PM - August 03, 2018
156 REMEMBERING SOUTHEAST ALASKA RESIDENTS WHO DIED IN VIETNAM; 10 area residents killed 50 years ago in conflict By DAVE KIFFER - A half century ago, Alaskans were beginning to take notice of the Vietnam War, primarily because the number of local men and women serving in Southeast Asia was increasing and Alaskans were dying in the fight. A total of 58 Alaskans would die in Vietnam, more than twice the combined number of Alaskan combat deaths in World War II and Korea. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018
155 For 30 years, Ellis and Alaska Coastal were the only way to fly In Southeast; Half a century ago, regional airlines merged in AK AirBy DAVE KIFFER - Fifty years ago this spring, Southeast Alaska's most prominent home-grown airline ceased to exist. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 20, 2018
154 Effort to retake Attu and Kiska was 75 years ago; Ellis, Bartholomew, other locals, fought in the Aleutians By DAVE KIFFER - Seventy five years ago this month, the only World War II battle on incorporated American territory took place on Attu Island in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. - More...
Monday PM - May 21, 2018
153 Back When Cruising Was Real Luxury; Morgan family yacht brought well heeled visitors to Alaska in late 40s By DAVE KIFFER - Each year more than one million cruise ship passengers visit Alaska. All arrive in a manner vastly different from the thousands of people who once sailed the Inside Passage to Alaska. - More..
Thursday PM - May 03, 2018
152 Over Here: When the Canadians came to Annette to help defend Alaska during World War II By DAVE KIFFER - Visitors to Annette Island are often fascinated by the remains of what once was one of the largest airfields along the Alaskan coast. - More...
Sunday PM - March 11, 2018
151 Gillam Crash transfixed Ketchikan; Dramatic rescue of survivors occurred 75 years ago By DAVE KIFFER - Seventy five years ago this month, while most Americans were transfixed by news reports of the World War II battles at Stalingrad and Guadalcanal, Ketchikan residents were following a dramatic local story: The crash and subsequent rescue of the survivors of the crash of famed pilot Harold Gillam's Lockheed Electra in what it now called Misty Fjords. - More....
Tuesday PM - February 20, 2018
150 E.B. White sailed to Alaska in 1923; Famed writer visited Ketchikan as a ‘callow’ youth. By DAVE KIFFER - Alaskans are very familiar with the famous authors who have come to Alaska and used it as their literary canvas. Jack London, James Michener, John Muir, and many others have written of the north, carrying our stories – and sometimes our myths - to a broader public. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 17, 2018
149 2017 Year in Review - Wet Summer Set Local Tongues Wagging in 2017 By DAVE KIFFER - Another year in Ketchikan where “weather” was the big story. At least that’s what everyone was talking about. The summer weather that is. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 02, 2018
148 Japanese immigrant was an early Alaskan casualty of World War II; Kayamori was the “Picture Man” in Yakutat By DAVE KIFFER - Many people know the name of the first Alaskan casualty of World War II. - More...
Friday PM - December 22, 2017
147 Alaska Marine Highway Tested Jet Foils in the 1980s ; Hundreds of residents took rides during demonstrations By DAVE KIFFER - Over the past four decades the Alaska Marine Highway System has looked at a variety of ways to efficiently move passengers and vehicles over Alaska's watery expanses. - More...
Saturday PM - November 18, 2017
146 Deadly plane crash led to creation of Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad; 1947 Pan Am crash on Tamgas Mountain killed 18 By DAVE KIFFER - Seventy years ago this week (Thursday), the worst Alaskan aviation accident up to that time occurred on Annette Island when a Pan American Airways DC-4 slammed into the top of Tamgas Mountain killing all 18 passengers and crew. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2017
145 Redford movie was based on former Ketchikan resident; Tom Murton was first probation officer and Ketchikan jail manager By DAVE KIFFER - In 1980. Robert Redford starred in a movie called "Brubaker" about a crusading prison warden in Arkansas who tried to eliminate prison corruption and improve conditions for prisoners. - More...
Friday PM - October 06, 2017
144 'The 'Alaska Flag Line' served Ketchikan for two decades; Pacific Northern Airlines was a primary carrier for Southeast Alaska By DAVE KIFFER - It may seem like Alaska Airlines has been Ketchikan's main air connection to the rest of the world forever. But a little more than half a century ago, Alaska Airlines barely served the First City. The primary airlines that brought passengers to the Annette airport were Pan Am and Pacific Northern Airlines. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 13, 2017
143 Ketchikan: A town of few 'highrises'; In the First City, buildings grew outward rather than upward - Ketchikan is not a city of high rises, few Alaskan towns are. - More...
Monday PM - September 04, 2017
142 WHEN DID KETCHIKAN BECOME THE RAINFALL CAPITAL? National magazine article extolled First City Rain in 1947 By DAVE KIFFER - Ketchikan has been known in the national consciousness for a few things. - More...
Thursday PM - August 17, 2017
141 Russel Merrill's excellent Southeast Alaska Adventure; Pioneer Aviator brought the second plane into Ketchikan in 1925 - Many people know that Roy Jones brought the first airplane to Ketchikan in 1922 and that he briefly operated Alaska's first commercial aviation company with his single plane, the "Northbird." - More...
Tuesday PM - August 01, 2017
140 Alaskan cruise industry began transforming 50 years ago; Italia, Spirit of London, Island Princess were among the first of the bigger cruise ships - By 1967, visitors had been coming to southern Southeast Alaska for more than 80 years, but compared to the visitor industry of 2017, tourism was still in its infancy. - More...
Saturday PM - July 01, 2017
139 USCG CUTTER CAPE ROMAIN STILL ON PATROL; Longtime Ketchikan ship still sailing for CA Sea Scouts By DAVE KIFFER - While Ketchikan is all abuzz with the arrival this spring and summer of two brand new 154-foot United States Coast Guard cutters, there are still many local residents who remember the long history of an earlier Cutter, the Cape Romain, which spent more than two decades patrolling the Alexander Archipelago. - More...
Thursday AM - June 08, 2017
138 Coast Guard has been in Ketchikan nearly 115 years By DAVE KIFFER - This summer a major change is taking place at the Ketchikan Coast Guard base as two new 154-foot fast response Coast Guard cutters join the Alaskan fleet. - More...
Sunday PM - May 21, 2017
137 The Day that Margaret Bell saved two plane crash victims; Local author, who wrote about 'heroes', 'heroines,' was also one in real life By DAVE KIFFER - The most successful author to have called the Ketchikan area home was Margaret Bell, who published a dozen novels in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Focusing on their younger protagonists, Bell's novels - published by major companies like Morrow - are what would now be called "young adult" novels and featured many stories that she had lived in her decades in Alaska. - More...
Monday PM - May 08, 2017
136 Remembering Operation Magic Carpet; 70 years ago, Alaska Airlines airlifted nearly 50,000 Yemenite Jewish refugees to the new state of Israel By DAVE KIFFER - In an era in which airlines tend to trumpet their public goods works with great enthusiasm, it is interesting that very few people, even in Alaska, are aware of Alaska Airline’s efforts to rescue nearly 50,000 Yemenite Jews from danger on the Arabian Peninsula and relocate them to the newly created state of Israel in 1948. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 19, 2017
135 Did a ‘deadhead’ in Funter Bay cause the air crash death of Will Rogers? After 80 years still no clear cause to Alaska’s most famous plane crash By DAVE KIFFER - Could there be a connection between a floating log in Admiralty Island’s Funter Bay and the most famous plane crash in Alaska’s history, which took place more than 1,000 miles away near Point Barrow? - More...
Wednesday PM - March 29, 2017
134 KETCHIKAN PULP MILL CLOSED 20 YEARS AGO By DAVE KIFFER - Twenty years ago this week, the hammer fell on the community of Ketchikan. - More...
Wednesday PM - March 22, 2017
133 The Silent City of Alaska: Was it hoax? Or a mirage? By DAVE KIFFER - One hundred and thirty years ago, the residents of the Outside world knew very little about Alaska. They knew it had glaciers and giant polar bears and not much else. America's purchase of Alaska in 1867 was derided in some quarters as $7.2 million for a giant icebox, or Seward's Ice Box, after the US Secretary of State who had made the deal. - More...
Friday PM - March 03, 2017
132 Only two sitting presidents have visited Southeast Alaska A feature story By DAVE KIFFER - Since the advent of intercontinental air travel, just about every President of the United States has visited Alaska, at least briefly, with Anchorage and Elmendorf Air Force Base serving as hosts for several carefully choreographed speeches in hangers and elsewhere. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 22, 2017
131 Offbeat stories, a 2016 highlight; No major local stories dominated year By DAVE KIFFER - It was a year, in which no major story dominated the news in Ketchikan, but as usual there were several smaller, offbeat, bits of news that reminded us what a unique place Ketchikan is. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 18, 2017
130 Ketchikan's 'railroads' have faded into history By DAVE KIFFER - For decades, Ketchikan residents have been amused by questions on the state driver's test dealing with railroad crossings. Because, like nearly all the other towns in Southeast Alaska, there are no railroads: Except for Skagway which has the famed White Pass and Yukon railroad, which takes tens of thousands of visitors each summer from tidewater to the top of the nearby White Pass. - More...
Tuesday PM - December 27, 2016
129 Trump’s grandfather took part in the Gold Rush; Entrepreneur had hotels in Bennett, Whitehorse By DAVE KIFFER - We know that Donald Trump’s grandfather was involved the Klondike Gold Rush. But like many other stories from that time, some of the details are a little fuzzy.- More...
Friday PM - November 25, 2016
128 Canadians search for lost 'nuke' near Prince Rupert; Two ton 'dummy' bomb was dropped in 1950By DAVE KIFFER - The Canadian Department of National Defence announced recently that it would like to find the remains of a long-lost relic of the Cold War in the waters off Banks Island, south of Prince Rupert. - More...
Friday PM - November 25, 2016
127 Classy Kassie' Took Southeast Alaska to War; Escort Carrier named after Kasaan Bay By DAVE KIFFER - During World War II, the American military machine was cranking out warships almost faster than it could name them and several of the ships ended up bearing the names of Alaskan cities or places. - More...
November 10, 2016
126 Kasaan celebrates Son-I-Hat longhouse restoration By DAVE KIFFER - Nearly 800 people attended a September 3rd ceremony marking the restoration of the Son-I-Hat longhouse in Kasaan, a village of 64 people on the east side of Prince of Wales Island. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 14, 2016
125 Debate over Deer Mountain Logging began more than 20 years ago By DAVE KIFFER - Recent newspaper headlines trumpeting the possibility of the Alaska Mental Health Lands Trust logging land it owns on Deer Mountain behind Ketchikan have stirred up significant community ire. - More...
Monday PM - August 29, 2016
124 Rezanov: Russian 'Romeo' foresaw an empire in Alaska, California and Hawaii By DAVE KIFFER - Most Alaskans are very aware of the history of Russian America and names like Baranov, Shelikov and Wrangell are as a familiar as the names of the Americans in Alaska’s early history. - More...
Monday AM - August 01, 2016
123 The names on the walls; 29 Ketchikan facilities have been named after prominent people, families By DAVE KIFFER - One of the ways that a community honors its important people is by naming buildings and facilities after them. - More...
Monday AM - June 27, 2016
122 Tatsuda's grocery celebrates centennial; Family's 4th generation operates Stedman landmark By DAVE KIFFER - In 1904, Yawatahama, Japan was a bustling town on the western edge of Shikoku Island, the smallest of Japan’s main islands. - More...
Thursday PM - May 19, 2016
121 June Allen: Collector of Characters and the Character of Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - It was a rainy night in late August 1964, when June Allen arrived in Ketchikan. With her were her husband, who was taking a job as an English teacher at Ketchikan Community College, her five “tired and whiny” children and the children’s grandfather. - More...
Thursday PM - April 07, 2016
120 - MV Sustina finally leaves Ketchikan but its fate remains uncertain; Ambitious goals eventually led to the $80 million ferry that could not meet its civilian, military objectives By DAVE KIFFER - After nearly a decade, the MV Susitna left Ketchikan in mid-February, under decidedly less pomp and circumstances than accompanied its construction at what was then Ketchikan Ship and Drydock. - More...
Sunday PM - February 28, 2016
119 - Group hopes for information on Alaskans sent to Morningside; Portland mental health facility housed 3,500 Alaskans prior to statehood By DAVE KIFFER - For more than half a century, the territory of Alaska had no facility to deal with mental illness or developmental disabilities. - More...
Thursday AM - February 11, 2016
118 Plane Crash, Gravina Bridge Top local stories in 2015 By DAVE KIFFER - A deadly plane crash and another chapter in “The Bridge to Nowhere” saga were the major stories in Southern Southeast in 2015. - More...
Monday PM - January 04, 2016
117 - Visiting and Revisiting Ketchikan; Two writers record their impressions of the First City, 16 years apart By DAVE KIFFER - Long before “The Bridge to Nowhere” caught the national eye, Ketchikan had already curried favor with one of America’s most famous television journalists. In fact, Charles Kuralt was so enamored with Ketchikan, he gave it a whole chapter in his 1995 best-selling book “Charles Kuralt’s America.” - More...
Tuesday AM - November 24, 2015
116 A Cruise Ship Goes Down; Sinking of the Prinsendam in 1980 led to One of history’s greatest maritime rescues By DAVE KIFFER - At the beginning of most cruise ship sailings, the passengers gather for a safety lecture. It's not really a drill because they don't get into lifeboats or rafts that are then cast off. What takes place is a muster drill in which passengers are told where to gather in an emergency and how to don a life vest. - More...
Saturday AM - October 10, 2015
115 Steinbeck’s famous boat hopes to sail again; The Western Flyer spent decades in SE; nearly sank here By DAVE KIFFER
- One of the most famous fishing boats is American history is currently sitting on dry land in Port Townsend waiting for yet another attempt to preserve it to begin.- More...
Saturday - September 05, 2015
114 Ketchikan’s only Presidential visitor back in the news; Even if Harding did have a love child, it doesn’t change local history By DAVE KIFFER - For a President who spent barely two years in office and is regarded by most historians as one of the least important in U.S. history, Warren G. Harding has a lot of staying power in the public consciousness. - More...
Sunday PM - August 16, 2015
113 Vitus Bering Discovered Alaska, or did he? Some evidence points toward an earlier Russian explorer By DAVE KIFFER - Every Alaskan school child knows that Vitus Bering "discovered" Alaska in 1741. - More...
Thursday - July 16, 2015
112 Fifty years ago, 26 died in the Granduc Avalanch - Fifty years ago, an unimaginable tragedy swept the twin mining towns of Hyder and Stewart, 70 miles east of Ketchikan, at the head of Portland Canal. - More...
Friday - April 17, 2015
111 Hyder border crossing debate: Is Canada still miffed over 1903 decision? - Is Hyder a bit of Alaska isolated by Canada? Or is it a piece of Canada, geographically isolated in Alaska? - More...
Monday - April 06, 2015
110 110 died when Star of Bengal grounded on Coronation Island By DAVE KIFFER - From just about every direction, Coronation Island is a foreboding place. - More...
Saturday AM - March 07, 2015
109 German POWs helped dismantle SE Alaska’s ‘White Elephant’ By DAVE KIFFER - Most of the stories about Alaska’s involvement in World War II deal with the Japanese attack on the Aleutians and the tragic relocation of hundreds of Aleuts from their homeland to camps in Southeast Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 17, 2015
108 WHETHER OR NOT THE WEATHER RECORDS ARE ACCURATE, KETCHIKAN HAS HAD SOME SPECTACULAR WEATHER OVER THE YEARS By DAVE KIFFER - When it gets a little wetter, or colder, or hotter than usual, Ketchikan residents immediately head to the historical records. - More....
Saturday PM - January 17, 2015
107 2014 Year in Review: Alaska, Ketchikan declare their ‘independence’ By DAVE KIFFER - 2014 was a year of political independency both statewide and locally in 2014. - More...
Saturday PM - January 03, 2015
106 New airline brings echoes of former Ketchikan carriers By DAVE KIFFER - The recent news that Delta Airlines is planning seasonal service to Ketchikan in the summer of 2015, means that the airline DNA of three former Ketchikan air carriers is returning to the First City. - More...
Saturday PM - December 20, 2014
105 CRY VENGEANCE: A video post card from Ketchikan in the 1950s By DAVE KIFFER
- Ketchikan has been the subject in a handful of movies and television shows over the years. In the late 1920s and 1930s, two “major” motion pictures, “Spawn of the North” and “The Silver Horde” were partially filmed here. It is always a bit of a shock to see a young Henry Fonda strolling along the Ketchikan waterfront on the silver screen. - More...
Wednesday PM - November 26, 2014
104 20 years ago, 'Banishment' was in the news By DAVE KIFFER - Twenty years ago this summer, Tlingits from Southern Southeast were at the center of a world-wide media frenzy after a Washington Superior Court Judge chose to agree that two young men were to be “banished” into the wilderness as the penalty for beating a pizza delivery man. - More...
Saturday - August 16, 2014
103 Ketchikan's Iconic Tunnel Turns 60 By DAVE KIFFER - To some Ketchikan’s downtown tunnel seems redundant. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 17, 2014
102 WW II Bomber honored the First City By DAVE KIFFER - Nearly seventy years ago, the City of Ketchikan was taking the war to the Japanese in the Pacific. - More...
Tuesday - April 15, 2014
101 100 Years Ago Grand Trunk Railroad Came to Northwest BC By DAVE KIFFER - A century ago, this week, the railroad came to Northwestern British Columbia. - More..
Tuesday - April 01, 2014
100 Ketchikan Schools Partially Desegregated in 1929 - A quarter century before Brown v. The Board of Education ended separate but equal schools country wide, a case in Ketchikan determined that Alaskan schools shouldn’t be completely segregated. - More...
Thursday - February 06, 2014
99 Ketchikan 2013: A year of moderation in most things By DAVE KIFFER -
In a year in which there was no single overriding story to dominate local interest, it makes sense that a most “moderate” summer weather year would be what people are talking about the most. Indeed, one of the most pleasant summers in the past twenty years seemed to give locals at least a taste of what summer is like elsewhere. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 07, 2014
98 Cable TV came to Ketchikan 60 years ago; KATV was first station in Alaska By DAVE KIFFER - Sixty years ago this Fall, long before digital cable and large screen televisions, the residents of Ketchikan were just beginning to experience the first cable television operation in Alaska and one of the first cable stations in the country. - More...
Saturday PM - December 14, 2013
97 Did Sir Francis Drake visit Southeast Alaska? Author/historian contends Drake was here long before Bering By DAVE KIFFER -
History tells us that Vitus Bering “discovered” Alaska in 1741. - More...
Monday PM - November 11, 2013
96 Ketchikan Borough Celebrates 50th Birthday By DAVE KIFFER - When the Ketchikan Gateway Borough was created in September of 1963, as one of the first boroughs in the state it was big news, right? - More..
Friday - October 11, 2013
95 Anyox: Once Ketchikan’s Rival; Now just another ghost town By DAVE KIFFER - Most longtime residents of Ketchikan have seen the familiar scenes of Ketchikan baseball players playing on the tide flats, now the Thomas Basin harbor, in the early decades of Ketchikan’s existence. - More...
Saturday - August 24, 2013
Fifty years ago, two DC 7 crash in Southeast Alaska eight months apart; Had different outcomes A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER - A half century ago, two identical passenger planes performing identical missions crashed in the waters off Southeast Alaska. - More...
Saturday - July 27, 2013
93 First State Ferry Arrived 50 Years Ago By DAVE KIFFER - Fifty years ago today, transportation in Southeast Alaska changed dramatically.
Tuesday AM - January 23, 2013
92 SHIPYARD STORIES BIG NEWS IN 2012 By DAVE KIFFER - Much of the significant news in 2012 revolved around Alaska Ship and Drydock, one of the community’s largest employers. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 15, 2013
91 Firsthand Account of Ketchikan's Early Days A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER - It has been more than a century since Ketchikan was carved out of the Revillagigedo hillside and the mudflats of what was then called Fish Creek. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 12, 2012
90 Infamous ‘Tarp Murders’ were twenty years ago A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER - Two decades ago, Ketchikan residents were shocked by two murders that were unrelated, except for the fact that they both involved the victims’ bodies being disposed of in blue and green tarps. - More...
Monday PM - October 15, 2012
89 Baranovich: Alaska’s First ‘Industrialist A feature article By DAVE KIFFER - For the past 150 years of American rule, Alaska has been seen as a “land of opportunity” by many people. One of the first was Charles Vincent Baranovich, a European immigrant who came north chasing gold and decided to stay to trade and build a future. - More...
September 06, 2012
88 30 years ago, it was Time for a debate A feature story By DAVE KIFFER - Alaskans are a fractious bunch. - More...
Friday - June 29, 2012
87 Long Lasting Pilot Bread Has a Long History By DAVE KIFFER Pilot Bread, which is also known as hardtack or seabiscuit, may be one of the staples of village life in Alaska, but its history – or the history of a hard baked, long lasting biscuit made mostly of flour and water – goes back thousands of years. - More...
Monday - June 18, 2012
86 Founder of Prince Rupert died on the Titanic 100 years ago By DAVE KIFFER - A century ago, Charles Melville Hays had big plans for the tiny city of Prince Rupert. - More...
Monday - April 09, 2012
85 Battle Between Sheldon Jackson, Father Duncan Played Out In Life of Rev. Edward Marsden A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - In the later part of the 19th century two of the most powerful people in Alaska were missionaries, the Rev. Sheldon Jackson, the federal education agent for the unorganized territory; and Father William Duncan, the leader of one of the largest communities in the region, New Metlakatla on Annette Island. The two men often clashed both spiritually and politically. One of their biggest tussles was over one of the first Native Americans to be ordained as a minister, Edward Marsden, who eventually became a prominent spriritual/political leader like his two mentors. - More...
Monday - March 19, 2012
84 2011 Year In Review By DAVE KIFFER - A political shocker and some of the wettest weather on record dominated the year 2011 in Ketchikan. - More....
Monday AM - January 09, 2012
83 Sincerely, Igloo…” Letter, yearbooks, former shipmate recall the life of Ketchikan man who died 70 years ago at Pearl Harbor By DAVE KIFFER - For Ketchikan residents, the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 came very close to home even though it happened more than 2700 miles away. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 07, 2011
82 Seventy Years Ago, Bodding Survived Crash in Canada; Death of other flyers helped him and passenger survive A feature story By DAVE KIFFER -
Despite the fact that the north country has vast expanses of nearly unexplored territory, it is not unheard of for airplanes to crash not far from other downed planes. - More...
Monday PM - October 31, 2011
81 THE LITUYA BAY LYNCHING OF 1899; Miners Create “Justice System” In Order To Execute Accused Murderer A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER - There is a history of “rough justice” at the many mining camps and towns in the American West. With trouble often so close and the law frequently far away, there are numerous instances of the inhabitants taking the law “into their own hands.” - More...
Monday - September 26, 2011
80 40 Years ago, 111 died in Alaska Airlines Crash Near Juneau; Company blamed faulty locator beacons, NTSB unable to come up specific crash ‘cause.’ A Feature Article By DAVE KIFFER - Forty years ago on September 4, 1971, the unthinkable happened to Alaska Airlines.
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011
79 Spanish Explored Alaska in late 1700s; Left numerous place names including Malaspina and Caamano - Nearly all Alaskans are aware that the first Europeans to come to the “Great Land” were the Russians in the 1740s. And most Alaskans also know that English explorers such as James Cook and George Vancouver began mapping large expanses of coastal Alaska in the 1770s. - More...
Monday - July 25, 2011
78 Canadian Liners Once Served Ketchikan; ‘Pat’ and ‘George’ were the Prince and Princess of the Alaska Cruise Industry - Once upon a time, there were no great fleets of gargantuan cruise ships plying the Inside Passage and disgorging thousands of visitors each day onto the streets of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. - More...
Monday - May 23, 2011
77 Airport Jet Crash was 35 years ago; One died when Alaska Airlines 727 careened off Ketchikan runway A feature article By DAVE KIFFER
- Airplane crashes are not an uncommon occurrence around Ketchikan, but the one that happened on April 5, 1976, 35 years ago this week, was one of the most spectacular. As shocked local residents watched, an Alaska Airlines 727 landed in inclement weather and then went careening off the end of the runway and exploded into flames in a ravine near Government Creek. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 05, 2011
76 Native Rights Leader Turns 102; Dr. Soboleff was longtime preacher, teacher and broadcaster By DAVE KIFFER
- On February 16 of each year, Alaskans pause to remember the great leaders in the fight for Alaskan Native Civil Rights, specifically Elizabeth Peratrovich and the other great leaders of the past. - More...
Wednesday PM - February 16, 2011
75 2010 Year in Review - Elections Get Locals Up On Step By DAVE KIFFER -
The year 2010 was a year in which elections, local and statewide, caught the interest of the Ketchikan populace. - More...
Friday PM - January 21, 2011
74 HISTORY OF ALASKA TOURISM, PART 3: A Steady ‘Boom’ In Tourism Post World War II A Feature Article By
DAVE KIFFER - World War II brought the growing Alaskan tourism industry to a complete halt as nearly all discretionary travel to the Last Frontier ended from 1940 to 1946. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 29, 2010
73 SHAY: Fifty Years of Politics, Plays, And Puns A Feature Story By
DAVE KIFFER - It’s hard to imagine Ketchikan public life without Jack Shay. - More...
Tuesday PM - November 23, 2010
72 The Burning of the S.S. Prince George;
One Crewman died when fire destroyed liner at Ketchikan Dock
in 1945 A Feature Story
By DAVE KIFFER - Sixty five years ago, this week, Ketchikan experienced
one of its most spectacular fires when the Canadian National
steamship Prince George was destroyed after it caught fire at
the Heckman Dock on September 22, 1945. - More...
Monday - September 20, 2010
Celebrates Milestone By DAVE KIFFER - Ketchikan turns 110
years old this week. - More...
Monday - August 23, 2010
of Alaska Tourism, Part 2; Tourism Grew Significantly From Goldrush
To World War II; Alaska Benefited Twice From Uncertainty In Europe
A feature article By DAVE KIFFER - Just as the Klondike Gold
Rush was beginning to wear down, and Alaska was becoming a little
less prominent in the national media, another event took place
that boosted Alaska's national profile and helped boost tourism
to the district. - More...
Monday - August 16, 2010
Hagiwara dies at 91; Former Resident Was Member of Most Decorated
Military Unit in World War II By DAVE KIFFER - Hagiwara was
born and raised in Ketchikan and served in the military in World
War II. Like all local Japanese American residents he was swept
up in the controversy over the World War internment of Japanese
American citizens. - More...
Saturday - July 24, 2010
was one of Alaska's First 'Tourists (A History of Alaska Tourism,
Part One) - It can be argued that the first "tourist"
to visit Alaska was the man who was most responsible for the
purchase of the territory, U.S. Secretary of State William H.
Seward. -- More...
Monday - July 12, 2010
Island Hot Springs was 'good for what ails you'; Local resort
has been private club for the last three decades A Feature
Article By DAVE KIFFER - Oral tradition indicates that the hot
springs on what is now called Bell Island, 40 miles north of
Ketchikan on Behm Canal, have been used for centuries by the
local Native tribes, who recognized the medicinal qualities of
the springs and the mineral water.- More...
Wednesday - June 09, 2010
Rupert Turns 100 By DAVE KIFFER - On March 10, The City of
Prince Rupert is celebrating the centennial of its incorporation
in 1910. - More...
Monday - March 08, 2010
Tsimshian Was A Leader For Alaska Native Rights; Peter Simpson
Also Owned Alaska's First Native Business A Feature Article
By DAVE KIFFER - Although the vast majority of the leaders in
the Alaska Native civil rights movement were Tlingits, one of
the founders and early leaders was a Tsimshian, originally from
Canada, named Peter Simpson. - More...
Thursday - February 18, 2010
64 2009 Year In Review; Some Times No
Big News is Good News By
DAVE KIFFER - Unlike some other years in recent memory, there
was no single story that dominated Ketchikan and set local tongues
to wagging in 2009. - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010
Prest Was First To Fly Into SE; Famous Air Daredevil Nearly Beat
Roy Jones To Ketchikan in 1921 A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER
- Most locals are aware that Roy Jones flew the seaplane Northbird
into Ketchikan the summer of 1922 and brought air flight to Southern
Southeast. - More...
Wednesday - December 23, 2009
Accident Led To The Founding of Saxman; Tribes had hoped to locate
new village on Annette Island A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER
- An ill-fated winter canoe trip in Tongass Narrows more than
120 years ago eventually led to the founding of Saxman, and also,
indirectly, to the founding of Metlakatla as well.- More...
Thursday AM - November 26, 2009
War Hero Honored at UW; Van Winkle one of eight UW Medal of Honor
Recipients A Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - A Ketchikan war
hero was honored at the University of Washington on Veterans'
Day along seven other winners of the nation's highest military
Monday PM - November 23, 2009
Lighthouses Lit The Way; For Safer Southeast Maritime Travel
By DAVE KIFFER - There are few places darker than the waters
of Alaska on overcast nights. Over the centuries, hundreds of
ships and thousands of mariners have come to grief on the rugged,
unforgiving coast line. - More...
Friday - November 06, 2009
a Can in Ketchikan; A History of the 'Canned Salmon Capital of
the World' - In the Spring of 1900, Ketchikan was rife with
rumors of war, a salmon war.-
Wednesday - September 23, 2009
Hoped to Eclipse Ketchikan; Ward Cove Community Sought to Be
"The Town of SE Alaska" - Most Ketchikan residents
are aware that at in 1900 both Ketchikan and Loring were locked
in battle to be the "big town" in southern Southeast
Alaska. - More...
Friday - July 31, 2009
of Creek Street Has Always Been Commerce a feature
story By DAVE KIFFER - In many ways, the true history
of Ketchikan's "infamous" Creek Street is lost in the
fog shrouded mists that often covered the dozens of small bawdy
houses that lined both sides of the Ketchikan Creek boardwalk
for more than half a century. - More....
Wednesday - June 10, 2009
Major Industries Built Ketchikan By DAVE KIFFER - The history
of Ketchikan can be easily summed up in the history of four industries:
Mining, Fishing, Timber and Tourism. - More...
Wednesday - May 06, 2009
Cliff Reopens; Building was West End School for nearly 80 years
- With the reopening of the old White Cliff school as a new office
building housing the Ketchikan Gateway Borough offices and other
commercial tenants this month, a building that has been an important
part of the community's history now has an opportunity to be
an important part of its future. - More...
Friday - April 10, 2009
Inga Brinck Recalls Ketchikan's Early Days - When
Inga (Hanson) Brinck was born, Ketchikan itself was just a child.Brinck was born on March 9,
1909 and recently turned 100, probably the first person to reach
the century mark after spending her entire life in the city of
Ketchikan. - More...
Tuesday - March 17, 2009
53 William Paul Was The "Father of
Native Land Claims"; And A Pretty Fair College Football
- Although Elizabeth
Peratrovich is probably the most honored of the Alaska Native
leaders who fought for civil rights in the first half of the
20th Century, there were other prominent leaders, including William
Paul Sr. of Ketchikan. - More...
Monday AM - January 16, 2009
52 2008 - Top
Bridge, Gas Prices, Weather were Top Stories; Ketchikan's Bridge
Returns To The National Stage - It's Baaaaaaack!!!Ketchikan's "Bridge to
Nowhere" made a big return to the national spotlight in
the Fall of 2008 when Alaska Governor Sarah Palin used her action
"canceling" the bridge project as a major plank in
her "reformist maverick" agenda in seeking the Vice
Presidency of the United States. - More...
Monday - January 12, 2009
Supported Alaska Statehood, Eventually; Chronicle, Daily News
Fought The Battle Locally - Ketchikan, Alaska - When legislation
creating the state of Alaska passed the US Congress on June 30,
1958, several hundred residents of Ketchikan gathered at the
corner of Mission and Front Streets for an impromptu celebration.
Saturday - January 03, 2009
Thompson Reburied In California; Ketchikan War Hero's Remains
Were Identified After 60 Years - A Ketchikan man, who was
Alaska's first casualty in World War II, is a little closer to
home after being reburied last month in a veteran's cemetery
in California.- More...
Thursday - December 18, 2008
'The Great Influenza' Shut Down Ketchikan; More than a dozen
residents died, but Ketchikan had a milder strain than other
communities in 1918... A Feature Story by DAVE KIFFER - Ninety
years ago on November 23rd, the city of Ketchikan let out a collective
sigh of relief. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 26, 2008
48 The Killer Storm of October, 1918; Hundreds died when 'hurricane" raked the North Coast
- Like most of the
world, the eyes of the residents of the Northern British Columbia
and Southeastern Alaska coast were on Europe in October of 1918.
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008
USS Alaska Saw Action In World War II - Part 2 By DAVE KIFFER
- The third USS Alaska was a battle cruiser, a hybrid vessel
that had much of the weaponry of the 1930s era battleships, but
the also the speed of the smaller cruisers because they were
narrower and carried much less armor protection. - More...
Monday - August 04, 2008
THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER; 50 Years Ago, 1,700 Foot Wave Devastated
Lituya Bay - Alaska is a land of geological superlatives:
Big mountains, vast spaces, huge earthquakes. - More...
Tuesday - July 08, 2008
"Alaskas" Have Sailed In US Fleets - Part 1 - A
Feature Story By DAVE KIFFER - Over the past 140 years,
four American naval vessels have borne the name USS Alaska.,
ranging from a 19th Century war sloop to a 21st century nuclear
Wednesday - June 18, 2008
Photos Show Ketchikan in Pioneer Days - Of the handful
of people who helped Ketchikan grow from a collection of beach
shacks to a city in the early 1900s, one would be hard pressed
to find a more crucial family than the Hunt family, which not
only established one of the earliest businesses, but also documented
the founding of Ketchikan with an extensive photo collection.
Saturday - March 22, 2008
Celebrates Civil Rights Pioneer; Peratrovich's Efforts Pre-Dated
Martin Luther King - Elizabeth Jean Wanamaker Peratrovich
is often referred to as the Martin Luther King of Alaska, but
the truth is she was fighting for equal rights for Alaska Natives
a decade before Martin Luther King gained fame during the Civil
Rights movement. - More...
Monday - February 18, 2008
Year In Review: Plane Crashes, Fires Top 2007 Stories By
DAVE KIFFER - 2007 was a year in which tragedies struck during
the summer visitor season and again right before Christmas. -
Thursday AM - January 03, 2008
Ketchikan's Home Grown Utility; Water, Power and Telephone for
more than 7 Decades By DAVE KIFFER - For more than 70 years,
KPU - or Ketchikan Public Utilities as it is officially known
- has been a constant, and sometimes controversial, presence
in the lives of local residents. - More...
Wednesday AM - December 19, 2007
Building Celebrates 40th Birthday - The Centennial Building
has been the home of the Ketchikan Public Library and the Tongass
Historical Museum for nearly four decades, yet the building itself
and the "urban renewal" project that changed the face
of the area near Ketchikan Creek that it was part of nearly didn't
happen at all. - More...
Wednesday AM - November 21, 2007
Navy Bombed Angoon 125 Years Ago; Attack was later called a 'misunderstanding'
- One hundred and twenty-five years ago , the United States Navy
- then the only governmental authority in Alaska - shelled and
burned the village of Angoon after a dispute and an alleged hostage
situation. - More...
Monday AM - October 29, 2007
Family: From Europe to Ketchikan - When a new Ketchikan library
is eventually built, a big thank you will be owed to a family
that may have had its roots in the upper class circles of Europe
but made its home in our small working class Alaskan town. -
Friday AM - September 28, 2007
Plane Crashes Average One a Year; Changing weather is the frequent
cause - By DAVE KIFFER - The fatal crashes of two floatplanes
in the Ketchikan area this summer is a sad reminder that local
air travel can be a hazardous business. - More...
Saturday - August 25, 2007
to Alaska, Circa 1887"; A Journal of a Trip on the Ancon
and An Eyewitness to the Founding of Metlakatla - A century
ago, "cruise" travel in Alaska was much different from
today. - More...
Tuesday AM - August 07, 2007
Salmon 'War' Was 10 Years Ago - Last fall, a delegation of
Ketchikan officials visited Prince Rupert to get an update on
the Canadian city's new $200 million dollar container port and
to learn how Ketchikan shippers could use the port to send products
abroad. - More...
Thursday - July 19, 2007
Sad Chapter of World War II in Alaska; Aleuts Relocated for Safety,
Yet Many Died At Ward Lake a feature story By DAVE KIFFER
- Sixty Five years ago this month, the Japanese invaded Alaska's
Aleutian Islands.In the grand scheme of World
War II, it was only a feint. The idea was to attack American
"home" territory to draw attention away from the central
Pacific where the Japanese hoped to deal a crippling blow to
U.S. forces at Midway and drive the US Navy back to Pearl Harbor
or even San Francisco. - More...
Saturday - June 23, 2007
Tale of Two Cruise Ships; Whatever Happened to the Rotterdam
and the Polar Star? - In the twenty-first century, nothing
becomes obsolete faster than old cruise ships.In earlier days of "cruising"
it was not unusual for venerable liners like the Queen Mary and
Queen Elizabeth to sail the oceans for decades. Now - in an time
of on board climbing walls and ship-wide wi-fi - passenger liners
seem to be outdated the minute their keels hit the water. - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007
When Ketchikan was the Largest City in Alaska; 80 year old article
catches Ketchikan's boom time - Even in 1927, Ketchikan was
thought of by other Alaskan communities as a "suburb"
of Seattle. - More...
Monday - April 30, 2007
took shape 120 years ago - One hundred and twenty years ago
in March, the quiet of Tongass Narrows was broken by the sound
of hammers and saws. - More...
Saturday - April 07, 2007
Rupert: Hays' 'Orphan' Looks To The Future - When the Titanic
sank in 1912 and more than 1,500 people drowned in the North
Atlantic there were many left orphan on both sides of the Atlantic.
But Charles Melville Hays left the biggest orphan of all: The
nascent city of Prince Rupert. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 28, 2007
Famous Artist Runs Aground In Loring - On August 28,
1889, the side-wheel steamer Ancon made one of its regular stops
in the small village on Loring in Naha Bay on Revillagigedo Island,
20 miles north of what would later become Ketchikan. It was heading
back south after a run up the Inside Passage from Port Townsend,
Washington to Sitka, Juneau, Fort Wrangell and Chilcat (Klukwan).
Tuesday PM - February 13, 2007
Am: Once Ketchikan's Link to the Outside World - In 1991,
the original Pan American World Airways ceased operations. After
going under in December of 1991, Pan American World Airways'
name was purchased out of bankruptcy court. - More...
Friday - December 29, 2006
Longest Serving Ketchikan Mayor - When Bob Weinstein completes
his current term as Ketchikan City Mayor in 2009, he will be
the longest serving mayor in Ketchikan's history with 12 years
in office. - More...
Wednesday - November 29, 2006
50 Years, The Shamrock's Luck Finally Ran Out - Taxes
helped spell the death of one Ketchikan's most infamous watering
holes in the early 1980s, but not without a little a help from
undercover cops, religious leaders and a "Modern Day Queen
of the Nile." - More...
Wednesday - November 15, 2006
Shuttered: Ketchikan Photo Shop was nearly 80 years old. Feature
story By DAVE KIFFER - One of longest lasting businesses in Ketchikan
history is ending its run this winter according to current owner
Joe Shinn, but at least there will be plenty of photographs to
remember it by. - More...
Wednesday PM - October 18, 2006
'Wickersham' sailed on after leaving Alaska - Although the
MV Wickersham was only part of the Alaska Marine Highway System
for five years, many locals still fondly recall its stately figure
cruising the Inside Passage. - More...
Wednesday - October 11, 2006
Family Returns to Guard Island - From the time it was built
in the early 1900s to the time it was automated in the 1970s,
dozens of people lived on tiny Guard Island at the northern end
of Tongass Narrows near Vallenar Point on Gravina Island. Last
year, a family that had lived on the island in 1950s came back
for a visit. - More...
Tuesday - September 19, 2006
First State Election Was All Tied Up - Once upon a time,
Alaska was a very Democratic state, politically speaking. - More...
Monday - September 18, 2006
Look Back At Alaska's Worst Unsolved Mass Murder - A morning
fog blanketed Craig on Sept. 7, 1982.The nearly 75 boats in the
District 4 seine fleet had left port for a next-day opening in
the waters west of Craig near Noyes Island. A few boats were
still at the dock awaiting the inevitable repairs that are needed
during the hectic, brief summer openings. - More...
Wednesday - September 06, 2006
Iwo Jima to Icy Strait, the long, colorful history of the Acushnet
- The Ketchikan based cutter Acushnet celebrates its 60th
birthday in the US Coast Guard this week, but it faces an uncertain
future. - More...
Wednesday - August 23, 2006
Founding of Metlakatla By DAVE KIFFER - Nearly 120 years
ago today, an American coastal steamer pulled into Port Chester
on the west side of Annette Island. On board the "Ancon"
was the federal commissioner of education Nathaniel H.R. Dawson
who was on a tour of educational facilities in the territory.
Monday AM - August 07, 2006
ONCE KETCHIKAN'S PRINCIPAL INDUSTRY By DAVE KIFFER - These
days, when millions of dollars worth of non-native gemstones
are sold each summer in Ketchikan, it pays to remember that once
upon a time mining was the principal industry in town.- More...
Friday - July 28, 2006
GRAND SHIPS OF THE ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY SYSTEM By DAVE KIFFER
- By all accounts, it was one of the largest traffic jams in
Ketchikan's history. - More...
Friday - July 07, 2006
Federal Building Added to National Register of Historic Places - To some locals it is the "Big Pink."The workers within its walls
often call it the "Pepto (Bismo) Palace." - More...
Wednesday - June 15, 2006
Sparhawk Young: Woman Pioneer By DAVE KIFFER - The history
of Ketchikan is full of stories of the pioneering men who built
the community out of the rainforest. But little is known about
the pioneer women who also made Ketchikan what it is today. -
Wednesday - May 31, 2006
Long Day's Journey into Behm Canal - It takes a special event
to get nearly 400 Ketchikan residents out of bed and standing
in line at 7 in the morning. - More...
Tuesday - April 25, 2006
Heckman, Captain Sayles and the San Francisco Earthquake
- A century ago today, a massive earthquake devastated San Francisco
area. It - and the fires that followed - wiped out more than
half of the city of 400,000 people. More than 28,000 buildings
and 500 city blocks were destroyed. Contemporary accounts downplayed
the loss of life, but modern estimates place the death toll at
nearly 4,000 people. - More...
Tuesday - April 18, 2006
Erwicks of Ketchikan - In the first two decades of the 20th
Century several hundred Norwegian families migrated to Southeast
Alaska, primarily to take part in the fishing industry. - More...
Tuesday - March 21, 2006
Town, Ketchikan in the 1950s - The years immediately after
World War II were lean ones in Ketchikan.While the Depression had had
less of an effect here than elsewhere in the country, the economic
boost of the war years had artificially supported the local economy.
With the end of the war, it became obvious that the dominant
industry - the canned salmon industry - was in sharp decline
and as the fishing industry waned so did Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - February 20, 2006
Village of Port Gravina By DAVE KIFFER - Every so often Ketchikan
residents - squeezed between Tongass Narrows and the mountains
- look over at the relatively flat bench land of Gravina Island
and wonder "why didn't someone build a town over there?"
Saturday - February 04, 2006
IN REVIEW: 2005 - Gravina Bridge story spans country2005 was the year in which
Ketchikan and its "bridge to nowhere" were national
news. - More....
Friday - December 30, 2006
Grounding of the Princess Sophia - There was a light dusting
of snow on downtown Juneau as John Fraser "Jack" Pugh
waited at the steamship wharf for the arrival of the Canadian
Pacific steamship Princess Sophia shortly after dark of Oct.
22, 1918. - More...
Monday - December 05, 2005
Ferries To Gravina - While the "Bridge to Nowhere"
steals all the headlines, Ketchikan's airport ferries continue
to chug back and forth to the Ketchikan International Airport
as they have a dozen or more times a day for the past 30 years.
Thursday - November 17, 2005
of Alaska's Death Penalty - In 1938, a Native woman was murdered
on a hillside above what is now Tatsuda Way in Ketchikan. Her
killer - her son-in-law - became the only Ketchikan man to ever
be executed for first degree murder. And the execution - along
with a handful of others in the territory - helped convinced
officials to ban the death penalty when Alaska became a state
20 years later. - More...
Saturday - October 15, 2005
RIPPLE ROCK - Half a century ago, sailing the Inside Passage
from Seattle to Alaska wasn't as safe as it is today. A pair
of dangerous underwater peaks jointly called Ripple Rock created
severe whirlpools in the waters near Vancouver Island, sinking
numerous ships and claiming more than 100 lives. It took the
largest non-nuclear explosion in history to finally end the threat.
Friday - September 23, 2005
HEIGHTS, TODAY'S DEERMOUNT - Only the truly old-timers remember
when the neighborhood now called Deermount was known as Mahoney
Heights. - More...
Wednesday - September 07, 2005
Over A Century Old - In the mid 1890s, Ketchikan was a still
a collection of rough shacks gathered around Clark and Martin's
mercantile store just north of the Ketchikan Creek mudflats.
The town population was somewhere between 100 and 200 people,
but less than half of that were year round residents. - More...
Thursday - August 18, 2005
War II: 60th Anniversary - Sixty years ago this week World
War II was about to come a sudden end, but like most other Americans,
Ketchikan residents were preparing for many more months of sacrifice. - More...
Thursday - August 04, 2005
Giegers in them thar hills; Bokan Mountain and the Alaska uranium
"Boom" - Fifty years ago this month, Mrs. John
Thomas of Ballston Spa, New York performed a historic act. According
to the Associated Press, she turned on her electric stove and
cooked a hamburger. -
Copyright 2005-2018 Dave Kiffer
Sunday - July 10, 2005
All Rights Reserved