Alaska’s Historic Canneries
During the early twentieth century, the most visible signs of human settlement in most of coastal Alaska were dozens of isolated canneries. These industrial processing facilities were mini-towns in their own right, with their own stores, metal shops, and carpenters, in addition to port facilities and housing. Alaskan canneries were the most ethnically diverse enclaves in the territory, with Asians, Natives, Latinos, and Europeans rubbing shoulders as they sauntered down the docks. After all, it was the riches of the sea that brought the bulk of the then new immigrants to our coastal communities, just as it is the riches of the sea that sustain our ports today.