Home Rule City
in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (ket' chuh kan)
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Ketchikan is located on the southwestern coast of Revillagigedo Island, opposite Gravina Island, near the southern boundary of Alaska. It is 679 miles north of Seattle and 235 miles south of Juneau. The 2.2 million acre Misty Fiords National Monument lies 22 air miles east of Ketchikan. It is the first Alaska port of call for northbound cruise ships and state ferries.
- The area lies in a maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers, and heavy precipitation. Summer temperatures range from 51 to 65 °F; winter temperatures range from 29 to 39 °F. Ketchikan averages 162 inches (13.5 feet) of precipitation annually, with 32 inches of snowfall.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingit tribes used Ketchikan Creek as a seasonal fish camp, which they called Kichxan, referring to the story of an eagle with outstretched wings at the mouth of the Creek. The abundant fish and timber resources attracted non-Natives to Ketchikan. In 1885, Mike Martin bought 160 acres from Chief Kyan, which later became the township. The first cannery opened in 1886 near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek and four more were built by 1912. The Ketchikan Post Office was established in 1892, and the city was incorporated in 1900. By this time, nearby gold and copper discoveries had briefly brought activity to Ketchikan as a mining supply center. During 1936, seven canneries were in operation, producing 1.5 million cases of salmon. This booming fishing industry played a significant part in Ketchikan's history and economic development throughout the years. The need for lumber for new construction and salmon packing boxes spawned the Ketchikan Spruce Mills in 1903, which operated for over 70 years. Spruce was in high demand during World War II, and Ketchikan became a supply center for area logging. A $55 million pulp mill was constructed at Ward Cove near Ketchikan in 1954. Its operation fueled the continued growth of the community. The mill's 50-year contract with the U.S. Forest service for timber was canceled, and the pulp mill closed in March 1997. Since then, the tourism industry in Ketchikan has become one of the town?s largest sources of revenue, with nearly one million cruise ship visitors per year. Large cruise passenger vessels began to visit Ketchikan regularly in the 1960s, and the supporting industry has grown steadily since then.
- Ketchikan is a diverse community comprised of Caucasian, Southeast Alaska Native, and Filipino cultural groups. Most Alaska Native residents are Tlingit. Ketchikan is home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world, found at Totem Bight State Park, Saxman Native Village, the Totem Heritage Center, and throughout the downtown area. Ketchikan is known as the "Salmon Capitol of the World" with access to world-class fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities. Ketchikan is also a vibrant arts community.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Ketchikan Indian Community
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewar, Electri, Refuse Collection, Landfill/Baler, Hazardous Waste Disposal, Police, Fire, EMS, Ambulance, Harbor/Port, Telephone, Bayveiw Cemetary, Library, Museaum, Ted Ferry Civic Center, Roads, Parking, Building Permits
- Regularly-scheduled jet services offer air service transportation from the state-owned Ketchikan International Airport, which has a paved, lighted, asphalt runway. The airport lies on Gravina Island, a 10-minute ferry ride from Ketchikan's waterfront. Ketchikan is a regional transportation hub, with numerous air taxi services located along the waterfront to that service the surrounding communities. There are four major float plane landing facilities: Tongass Narrows, Peninsula Point, Ketchikan Harbor, and Murphy's. Ketchikan is the first port of call in Alaska for cruise ships and Alaska Marine Highway vessels. Harbor and docking facilities include a breakwater, a deep draft dock, port located downtown, five small boat harbors, a privately-owned dry dock and ship repair yard, boat launches, and a state ferry terminal. The shipyard is privately owned. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority operates a once-daily, year-round ferry service between Ketchikan and Hollis Prince of Wales Island.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District