SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Historical Ketchikan... Historical Alaska

Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer

 

Dave Kiffer

Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

A freelance writer is an uncommitted independent writer who produces and sells articles to a publisher such as SitNews.

Contact Dave at
dave@sitnews.us

Copyright 2005-2015
Dave Kiffer
All Rights Reserved


arrow gif 138 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif109 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

arrow gif108 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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif106 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

arrow gif105 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

arrow gif104 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

arrow gif103 Ketchikan's Iconic Tunnel Turns 60 By DAVE KIFFER - To some Ketchikan’s downtown tunnel seems redundant. - More...
Tuesday PM - June 17, 2014

arrow gif102 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

arrow gif101 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

arrow gif100 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

arrow gif99 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

arrow gif98 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

arrow gif97 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


arrow gif96 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


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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


arrow gif94 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


arrow gif93 First State Ferry Arrived 50 Years Ago By DAVE KIFFER - Fifty years ago today, transportation in Southeast Alaska changed dramatically. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 23, 2013


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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


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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


arrow gif90 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


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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

arrow gif 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

arrow gif87 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


arrow gif86 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


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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

arrow gif84 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

arrow gif83 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


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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


arrow gif81 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


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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. - More...
Wednesday AM - September 07, 2011

arrow gif79 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


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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


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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


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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

arrow gif75 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

arrow gif74 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

arrow gif73 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

arrow gif72 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


arrow gif 71 Ketchikan Celebrates Milestone By DAVE KIFFER - Ketchikan turns 110 years old this week. - More...
Monday - August 23, 2010


arrow gif70 History 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

arrow gif69 Pat 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

arrow gif 68 Seward 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


arrow gif67 Bell 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

arrow gif 66 Prince 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

arrow gif 65 Canadian 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

arrow gif64 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

arrow gif63 'Ollie' 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

arrow gif62 Canoe 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

arrow gif 61 Ketchikan 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 honor. More...
Monday PM - November 23, 2009

arrow gif60 Alaskan 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

arrow gif 59 Catching 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.- More...
Wednesday - September 23, 2009

arrow gif58 Revilla 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

arrow gif 57 History 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

arrow gif56 Four 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

arrow gif55 White 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

arrow gif54 Centenarian 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

arrow gif53 William Paul Was The "Father of Native Land Claims"; And A Pretty Fair College Football Player, Too - 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

arrow gif 52 2008 - Top Stories: 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

arrow gif51 Ketchikan 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. - More...
Saturday - January 03, 2009

arrow gif 50 Irvin 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

arrow gif49 When '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

arrow gif48 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. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2008

arrow gif47 Third 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

arrow gif46 SURVIVING 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

arrow gif45 Four "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 submarine.- More...
Wednesday - June 18, 2008

arrow gif44 Hunt 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. - More...
Saturday - March 22, 2008

arrow gif43 Alaska 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

arrow gif42 2007 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. - More...
Thursday AM - January 03, 2008

arrow gif41 KPU: 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

arrow gif40 Centennial 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

arrow gif39 US 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

arrow gif38 Voss 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. - More...
Friday AM - September 28, 2007

arrow gif37 Fatal 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

arrow gif36 "Cruising 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

arrow gif 35 Alaska/Canada 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

arrow gif 34 A 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

arrow gif33 A 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

arrow gif32 1927: 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

arrow gif31 Ketchikan 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

arrow gif30 Prince 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

arrow gif29 A 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). - More...
Tuesday PM - February 13, 2007

arrow gif 28 Pan 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

arrow gif27 Weinstein 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

arrow gif 26 After 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

arrow gif 25 Schallerer's 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

arrow gif24 The '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

arrow gif23 Lighthouse 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

arrow gif22 Ketchikan's First State Election Was All Tied Up - Once upon a time, Alaska was a very Democratic state, politically speaking. - More...
Monday - September 18, 2006

arrow gif21 A 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

arrow gif20 From 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

arrow gif19 The 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. - More...
Monday AM - August 07, 2006

arrow gif 18 MINING, 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

arrow gif 17 THE 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

arrow gif16 Ketchikan 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

arrow gif 15 Adah 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. - More...
Wednesday - May 31, 2006

arrow gif 14 A 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

arrow gif13 J.R. 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

arrow gif12 The 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

arrow gif11 Boom 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

arrow gif 10 The 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?" - More...
Saturday - February 04, 2006

arrow gif09 YEAR 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

arrow gif 08 The 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

arrow gif 07 The 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. - More...
Thursday - November 17, 2005

arrow gif06 Abolition 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

arrow gif05 TAMING 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. - More...
Friday - September 23, 2005

arrow gif04 MAHONEY 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

arrow gif 03 Newtown, 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

arrow gif02 World 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

arrow gif01 There's 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. - More...
Sunday - July 10, 2005

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