Downtown Ketchikan Walking Tour

Welcome to Ketchikan. Here is a walking tour created by Experience Ketchikan.

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Walking Tour Points

Vis­it the vis­i­tor infor­ma­tion cen­ter on the dock for infor­ma­tion on vis­i­tor relat­ed activ­i­ties and facil­i­ties around Ketchikan. Beside the build­ing are a His­toric Ketchikan Inc.history kiosk and the rain gauge’.

The first arch was erect­ed in the ear­ly 1920s to wel­come steamship vis­i­tors. An arch using neon light­ing was put up by the Cham­ber of Com­merce in the 1950s. This arch was erect­ed by His­toric Ketchikan lnc. in 1996

Built in 1902, St. John’s is the old­est church build­ing stand­ing in Ketchikan. The sanc­tu­ary, fin­ished with cedar from a Sax­man mill, stood on pil­ings along the water; fill moved the shore hun­dreds of feet back. St. John’s has a gift shop. The Yates Build­ing was built as a hos­pi­tal in 1904 and lat­er housed Alas­ka Sports­man magazine. 

A repli­ca of a pole raised here in 1901 by Tlin­git Chief John­son in hon­or of the Kad­juk House of the Raven Clan; that pole is now at Totem Her­itage Cen­ter. Carv­er Israel Shotridge raised the repli­ca in 1989.

The arts coun­cil main­tains a gallery and aids Ketchikan’s artists and art-relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions. Main­stay Gallery’s month­ly exhibits fea­ture visu­al artists, most of them local. 

Found­ed in 1976 as a part-time, 10-watt com­mu­ni­ty sta­tion, KRBD is now a 24-hour, Alas­ka-style mix of vol­un­teers’ music shows and pro­grams from NPR and PRl. Repeaters out of town and on Prince of Wales Island reach most of south­ern Southeast.The build­ing was a Pres­by­ter­ian Church, then a con­trac­tor’s shop.

In the muse­um are artifacts,text and pho­tos telling of Alaska’s spir­it­ed First City as a Native fish camp, min­ing hub, salmon can­ning cap­i­tal, fish­ing port and tim­ber town. The Cen­ten­ni­al Build­ing com­mem­o­rates the pur­chase of Alas­ka from Rus­sia in 1867. In front is the Raven Steal­ing the Sun pole, carved by Dempsey Bob and raised in 1983.

This land­mark shows how Ketchikan con­quers ter­rain with inge­nu­ity and lumber.

Built in 1912, the ware­house is one of Ketchikan’s old­est remain­ing com­mer­cial structures.The view plat­form has a great van­tage on the creek and salmon school­ing for a run up the falls.

See salmon strug­gle back to their native streambed fight­ing low­er falls.

In the town that boasts of being the Alaskan salmon cap­i­tal of the world, here’s where you can see the salmon in action — hun­dreds of thou­sands come through every sum­mer. This spot, right next the library and at the end of Creek Street, offers a prime view of the crowds of salmon on their way to spawn.

An excel­lent over­look for salmon in season.

Small ponds in the park go back to the ear­ly 1900s, when they were hold­ing ponds for salmon in the city’s first hatchery.The light­ed foun­tain, orig­i­nal­ly built in the 1930s, was restored to for­mer glo­ry by vol­un­teers in 1989.

List­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places, this col­lec­tion of 19th cen­tu­ry totem poles is the biggest in the world. Sal­vaged from aban­doned Hai­da and Tlin­git vil­lages, some are as old as 160 years — no small feat, since totem poles usu­al­ly dete­ri­o­rate in less than a cen­tu­ry. You can take a quick, free tour, or check out the cur­rent exhibits of con­tem­po­rary Tlin­git art.

This Epis­co­pal church was built by Ketchikan Native Epis­co­pal Com­mu­ni­ty around 1927, when church­es in Ketchikan were seg­re­gat­ed. It remained a church until 1962 and now serves as the Ketchikan Mortuary.

K.l.C. is a fed­er­al­ly rec­og­nized trib­al gov­ern­ment orga­nized in 1939 under terms of the Indi­an Reor­ga­ni­za­tion Act of 1934. K.l.C. is involved in health, edu­ca­tion and cul­ture issues for Tlin­git, Hai­da and Tsimshi­an peo­ple, along with oth­er Alas­ka Natives. North­west Coast-style eagle and raven pan­els out­side the build­ing were pro­duced by Tlin­git artist Ernie Smeltzer in 1983 with high school students.

Tlin­git artist lsrael Shotridge in 2003 raised this repli­ca of a pole that had stood in the ear­ly 1900s on Ton­gass Island, ances­tral home of the Ton­gass Tribe of Tlin­git Indi­ans. Anoth­er Sun Raven repli­ca, carved in 1939, still stands in Sax­man. The carv­er gave this new pole to the Ton­gass Tribe and the com­mu­ni­ty. It stands at the tech­ni­cal cen­ter for Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka South­east Ketchikan campus.

This wood plank street fronts the site of an ear­ly Ketchikan dock; in the 1890s it was a makeshift log raft. Thomas Street has been home to boat yards, car­pen­ters, machine shops, bars and bor­del­los. The Sted­man-Thomas area was list­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places in 1996.

The Ketchikan Creek mouth was a broad tidal flat that served until the 1920s as a base­ball field; local teams and those from South­east Alas­ka and Cana­da lined out a dia­mond at low tide. In 1 922, a small sea­plane tax­ied onto the silt with pio­neer pilot Roy Jones, first to fly from Seat­tle to Ketchikan non-stop.The Corps of Engi­neers dredged the creek mouth in the 1930s to cre­ate a har­bor. His­toric busi­ness­es and res­i­dences still face the…  ...more

In sea­son, see thou­sands of salmon gath­er­ing to run up the creek. Anglers fish from the wide side­walk on the seawadside

Near­ly a cen­tu­ry ago in 1903, this was the small min­ing and fish­ing town’s red-light dis­trict but today the board­walk street, propped up over Ketchikan Creek on wood­en pil­ings, teems with gift shops, muse­ums and well-pre­served homes.

Dol­ly Arthur was Ketchikan’s most famous madam in the hey­day of Creek Street. Her house, pre­served much as she left it, fea­tures antiques caches and gar­ish décor. Tours are pro­vid­ed for a fee.

A good place to observe the unique­ness of Creek Street: the con­stant, cool stream and flank­ing his­toric build­ings on long pil­ings. See the his­tor­i­cal kiosk at the head of the bridge

The lone sur­vivor of more than a dozen papers pub­lished here since 1900, the Dai­ly News was found­ed in 1935.

Our steep ter­rain chal­lenges engi­neer­ing and nomen­cla­ture alike. This street is real­ly a long set of stairs to a great hill­side view of low­er down­town, the boat har­bor and Ton­gass Narrows.

Ketchikan’s his­toric busi­ness center.The Heck­man Build­ing (1912) is one of the old­est con­crete struc­tures in Alaska.

Found­ed by vol­un­teers around 1900 to pro­tect prop­er­ty and lives in a wood­en city built on wood pil­ings. About 20 career per­son­nel and dozens of vol­un­teers staff two sta­tions. The Main Street facil­i­ty hous­es a mint 1927 Sea­grave pumper nick­named Grand­ma.” K.F.D. sells patch­es and sou­venir apparel.

Ketchikan’s first fra­ter­nal orga­ni­za­tion dates to 1900 and fea­tured many Ketchikan civic lead­ers. It was all-white until the 1960s. The orig­i­nal lodge build­ing was at the cor­ner of Mis­sion and Main streets.

This tur­ret­ed Vic­to­ri­an was built in 1904 for H.Z. Burkhardt,a founder of Ketchikan Pow­er Co., pre­de­ces­sor of Ketchikan Spruce Mill. It’s among our last exam­ples of the Queen Anne style pop­u­lar in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. List­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places in 1982.

This walk­way along the steep hill offers a sen­sa­tion­al view of New­town, the water­front and First Luther­an Church. Your walk takes you past Nob Hill homes of our pros­per­ous pio­neers, dat­ing as ear­ly as 1901.

Thun­der­ing Wings eagle was carved by world-renowned Tlin­git mas­ter carv­er Nathan Jack­son of Ketchikan. Across Front Street is the Gilmore Hotel, built in 1927 and list­ed on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places.

Our tun­nel is said to be the only one in the world that can be dri­ven through, around and over (on upper Front Street). The tun­nel, com­plet­ed in 1954, eased access to New­town; before it, a nanow plank street on pil­ings skirt­ed the rock.

This wood pock­et park offers bench­es, tables and a close-up look at fish­ing boats, com­mer­cial boats, plea­sure craft and some­times fresh seafood sales.

Used by com­mer­cial fish­ers, vis­i­tors and the local recre­ation­al fleet. In the ear­ly 1900s, the home for what was believed to be the world’s largest fleet of hal­ibut boats.