IMG_2569 Ketchikan is Alaska’s First City, the first city along the Inside Passage and our first stop on the cruise. A lovely town, wet though, they get an average of 200 inches of rain a year! Their record rainfall was 202.55 inches in 1949! Can you imagine that much rain!? Their average low in January is 32.6* and high in July 57.5*. In the 2010 census the population was at 8,050 and it is the fifth-most populated town in Alaska. Flat near the harbor the land slowly starts raising up and a lot of homes are built going up the side of a hill or mountain. Everyone parks on the street in front of their house and most of them have several sets of steps up to the house from the road. The houses seemed crowded into each other. We noticed that because it is so wet there the houses and even old cars that haven’t moved in awhile were covered with green algae or something. The roofs of houses had thick moss like growth on them. You would have to be ‘on top’ of that I would think to keep your roof in good condition! I took several pictures of neighborhoods as we walked around outside of the ‘touristy’ area… IMG_2546

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I thought you might find that more interesting than the usual pictures you see in the tourist brochures! The downtown tourist shopping area, we found out quickly, is mostly jewelry stores! Very geared towards the cruise line ships. All of the towns along the Inside Passage were like that. A local jeweler in Skagway told us the cruise lines get kickbacks from the jewelry stores. On board they give a ‘shopping’ event where a gal tells you about all the jewelry stores and which stones are hot right now and gives coupons for free items to get you in. In a tiny town like Ketchikan there were multiple stores of the same brand of jewelers! We were a little disappointed.  We walked the back town streets and observed local life as best we could. Here are the photos from ‘downtown’… IMG_2530


Creek Street




Gilmore building and hotel. built in 1927 oldest hotel in Ketchikan

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We went in a small museum, Tongass Museum. It had some lovely exhibits of Tlingit native clothing and baskets etc. There was also a museum about totem poles which we didn’t go in.


This is all tiny beadwork!


An interesting day in all. They did have one small bookstore, Parnassus Books & Gifts. I picked up a free bookmark, that was all. There is a museum of Dolly’s house, she was the notorious ‘madame’ in town. She willed her house to be shown as a museum and it is just as she left it. It’s in bad repair, water stains on the walls and ceiling, but it was really like walking back in time. There are many personal photos scattered around and some stories the guide told us about. There are so many photos already in this post, I’ll do a post just on Dolly’s House.

I’ll leave you with a picture of a couple of Ketchikan natives!


5 thoughts on “Ketchikan

  1. I like the houses by the waterside. The museum in Stromness has very similar items in it, brought back from – Alaska via the Hudson Bay ships that called in there. Is that the hat you got in Scotland that you are wearing? standing beside that amazing amethyst!


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