Home Rule City
in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (core doh' vuh); includes Eyak
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Cordova is located at the southeastern end of Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska. The community was built on Orca Inlet at the base of Eyak Mountain. It lies 52 air miles southeast of Valdez and 150 miles southeast of Anchorage.
- Winter temperatures average from 17 to 28 °F. Summer temperatures average from 49 to 63 °F. Average annual precipitation is 167 inches, and average annual snowfall is 80 inches.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- The area has historically been home to the Alutiiq and migrating Athabascan and Tlingit Natives who called themselves Eyaks. Alaskan Natives of other descents also settled in Cordova - Eyak Natives living near the shore of the lake, and Alutiiq Natives living along the coastal areas of Prince William Sound, were guaranteed a food source with the return of the salmon each spring. Orca Inlet was originally named "Puerto Cordoba" by the Spanish explorer Don Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. By 1887 two canneries were operating in the Odiak Slough area. Soon other fisheries developed and multiplied and by the 1920s, Cordova became known as the ?Razor Clam Capital of the World.? One of the first producing oilfields in Alaska was discovered at Katalla, 47 miles southeast of Cordova, in 1902. The town of Cordova was named in 1906 by Michael Heney, builder of the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad, and the city was formed in 1909. Cordova became the railroad terminus and ocean shipping port for copper ore from the Kennecott Mine up the Copper River. The first trainload of ore was loaded onto the steamship "Northwestern," bound for a smelter in Tacoma, Washington, in April 1911. The Bonanza-Kennecott Mines operated until 1938 and yielded over $200 million in copper, silver, and gold. The Katalla oil field produced until 1933, when it was destroyed by fire. Fishing became the economic base in the early 1940s.
- Cordova has a significant Eyak Athabascan population with an active village council. Commercial fishing and subsistence are central to the community's culture.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Native Village of Eyak
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewer, Refuse Collection, Landfill, Cordova Community Medical Center, Police, Volunteer Fire/EMS/Ambulance/Search & Rescue, Jail (State Contract), Harbor/Port, Library, Schools, Roads, Swimming Pool, Bidarki Recreation Center,Coastal Management, Planning/Zoning, Animal Control, Airport Security (contract), Ski Hill, Parks & Recreation, Odiak Camper Park, Cemetery
- Cordova is accessed by plane or boat. It is linked directly to the North Pacific Ocean shipping lanes through the Gulf of Alaska. It receives year-round barge services and state ferry service. The Merle K. 'Mudhole' Smith Airport at mile 13 is state owned and operated, with an asphalt runway and a gravel crosswind runway. The state owned and city operated Cordova Municipal Airport has a gravel runway. Daily scheduled jet flights and air taxis are available. Float planes land at the Lake Eyak seaplane base or the boat harbor. Harbor facilities include a breakwater, dock, small boat harbor with 850 berths, boat launch, boat haul-out, ferry terminal, and marine repair services. A 48-mile gravel road provides access to the Copper River Delta to the east. As of 2014, the road is impassable beyond mile 36 due to a bridge across the Copper River which is washed out.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District
- Incorporation Type
- Home Rule City