in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 Department of Labor Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- McCarthy lies 61 miles east of Chitina off the Edgerton Highway. It is on the Kennicott River at the mouth of McCarthy Creek, 12 miles northeast of the junction of the Nizina and Chitina Rivers, in the heart of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
- It is located in the continental climate zone. Temperature extremes range from -58 to 91 °F. Annual snowfall averages 52 inches, with total precipitation of 12 inches per year.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- The Kennecott copper mines and camp were established about 1908 across from the Kennicott Glacier, 4.5 miles up the mountain from McCarthy. An early misspelling named the mine and mining company Kennecott, while the town, river, and glacier are spelled Kennicott. In 1911, the Copper River & Northwestern Railway carried its first car load of ore from Kennecott to Cordova. Since no gambling or drinking were allowed at the town of Kennicott, nearby McCarthy developed as a colorful diversion for the miners. Housing over 800 residents, it provided a newspaper, stores, hotels, restaurants, saloons, and a red light district. Kennicott became a company town with homes, a school, hospital, gym, tennis court and silent movie theater. Over its 30-year operation, $200 million in ore was extracted from Kennecott, the richest concentration of copper ore known in the world. In 1938, the mines closed and both towns were abandoned.
- The old mine buildings, artifacts, and colorful history attract visitors during the summer months. The area ranks as one of the nation's most endangered landmarks by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Emergency stabilization of the old buildings has been required, and future work will be necessary.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- McCarthy is accessible from the Richardson via Edgerton Highways. The 58-mile McCarthy Road starts in Chitina and continues into the Wrangell-St. Elias Park. A footbridge is used to cross the Kennicott River. There are two gravel airstrips in the vicinity, one is owned privately and the other is state owned. DOT performs irregular winter maintenance of the McCarthy airport.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
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