Ketchikan Gateway Borough
2nd Class Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (ket' chuh kan)
- Community's Judicial District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
Geography and Climate
- The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is located near the southernmost boundary of Alaska, in the Southeast Panhandle. It is comprised of the Cities of Ketchikan and Saxman.
- The area lies in the maritime climate zone noted for its warm winters, cool summers, and heavy precipitation. Average summer temperatures range from 46 to 59 °F; winter temperatures range from 29 to 48 °F.
- 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 multiple ethnic origins including Caucasian, Southeast Alaska Native (most Alaska Native residents are Tlingit), and Filipino cultural groups. Ketchikan is home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world and can be found at the 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
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Water, Sewer, Sewage Treatment Facility, Airport, EMS, Fire & Fire Halls, Parks & Recreation, Swimming Pool, Schools, Animal Control, Planning, Economic Development, Child Care, Roads, Transit
- Regularly-scheduled jet services offer air service. The state-owned Ketchikan International Airport 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 to 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, five small boat harbors, a dry dock and ship repair yard, boat launch, 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.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection