Fri, September 18, 2015

Chronological History of Cannery Locations in the Petersburg Area

Compiled by Karen Hofstad


Petersburg was named after Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant who arrived in the late 1890s and homesteaded on the north end of Mitkof Island. He built a cannery, a sawmill, and a dock between 1890 and 1900. His family’s homesteads grew into Petersburg, which was populated largely by people of Scandinavian origin. The cannery has operated continuously since its completion. Petersburg is now one of Alaska’s major fishing communities.  

─City of Petersburg, Alaska

Start of Pacific canned salmon industry:
            1852 first cannery in North America – Wm Hume, Sacramento River, CA
            1866 – Astoria Oregon, Columbia River
            1870 – Fraser River, British Columbia
            1882 – Semiahmoo, Washington
            1878 – Klawock, SE Alaska    North to Alaska. The Rush Is On!
  1898-1901 Icy Strait Packing Co. owned by shareholders of Quadra Packing          Co., manager Peter Buschmann, 1899 – first pack 32,750 cases             (Brand: Niagara & Cape Horn) Government requires processors to           build salmon hatcheries and Icy Strait complied with a hatchery at Sitkoh Bay, Peril Straits.  
1901 Icy Strait Packing Co. sold to Pacific Packing & Navigation Co.                         who went bankrupt.   
  1903 Reorganized as Northwestern Fisheries, Christian Buschmann,
             General Manager.   Sold to Pacific Coast & Norway Packing Co.
  1906 Pacific Coast & Norway Packing Co., which had a cannery built in         1901 at Tonka (Brand: Tonka) Wrangell Narrows, moved operation to             Petersburg.   
1914  Pacific Coast & Norway Packing Co. goes bankrupt. (Brands:  Meadow        Lark, Holly Time, Pink of Perfection, Little Boy Blue, Pride of Dixie,         Belle of Alaska)
            1915 Petersburg Packing Co.  President E.Schoenwald took over Pacific                                    Coast & Norway Packing, including brand, labels, and Washington                             Bay plant. New Iron Chink Installed.
            1921  Mitkof Island Packing Co. leased and operated Petersburg Packing for               1 year.
            1922  Trading Union operated the Petersburg Packing cannery for two                             seasons. Closed in 1923.
            1929  Pacific American Fisheries (PAF) incorporated in 1899, bought                                                 Petersburg Packing.
            1933 Dean C. Kayler and Jacob Otness, leased space from Public Dock for                               crab & canned salmon. In 1936 the partnership ended.
            1937-41  Dean C. Kayler leased space, processed salmon (brand: Polar Star)
            1965  Pacific American Fisheries sold to Petersburg Fisheries, Inc. local                           fishermen owned.  
            1977 Icicle Seafoods, Inc.  corporate umbrella for PFI(Icicle brand,                                                 purchased name from Pacific Coast Codfish Co., Seattle)
            1916 Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Co. Inc. founded by Earl N. Ohmer and Karl I.             Sifferman, processed primarily clams, shrimp, and crab.
                        (1931 Salmon Packers Register lists under Clam Packers)                            1922   Alaskan Glacier Sea Foods bought H.VanVlack & Co.,Thomas Bay                              shrimp processor incorporated into Petersburg facility. (V Brand) 
             1925  Alaskan Glacier partnered with Wrangell Shellfish Co shrimp                                                 plant.
            1928 Northern Seafood Co., John Isom closed due to crab market                                                 conditions (sales handled by Alaskan Glacier). 
            1928 Northern Seafood Co. Joe & Manuel Isom, took their crab operation
                        to Cordova to partner with Alaskan Glacier Seafood. 
            1928  Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Co., had 6 trawlers and 85 hand pickers
1932 405,000 lbs of shrimp packed in Petersburg; principal supplier                     on West Coast; 90,000 lbs. of crab from Cordova thru Northern                                  Seafood subsidiary.
            1940  Alaska Glacier Sea Food Co. canned salmon to 1942
            1943  Fire, plant a total loss. Relocated and rebuilt at Main and Excel.    
            1946-1969 Kayler-Dahl Fish Co. (Chris Dahl & Dean C.Kayler) built new dock                           and buildings including a cold storage.  Salmon, shrimp, crab (brands;                       Polar  Star, Kay-Dee, Honey Boy) In 1956 formed partnership with                             Berman Packing Co. Ninilchik, Cook Inlet; 1954 Chris Dahl, Kayler-                            Dahl started shrimp plant in Juneau Cold Storage.
            1946-49  Specialty Processors, Inc., Eilert Holbeck, President. Leased a small                       salmon cannery midway down the Dock. Went broke, reorganized                           and moved.
            1969  Whitney Fidalgo  Seafoods; closed 1985, assets sold                               
            1985  Ocean Beauty Seafoods, LLC    
 1943  Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Co. (Earl Ohmer & Karl Sifferman) relocated
            after the fire; bought warehouse and built cannery. Product cold-   pack shrimp and crab. Earl Ohmer died 1955 and son Dave P. Ohmer           continued the business.
1954-56   Seattle Seafoods, Ray Wood leased portion for salmon canning
1985   Plant burned to the ground; filled tideland, rebuilt over water.
1986   Alaskan Glacier reopened.
1990   Silver Lining Seafoods and Alaskan Glacier merged under Silver Lining              name.
1992   Silver Lining Seafoods and Lafayette Fisheries merged to form 
            NorQuest Seafoods, Inc.
2003  Trident Seafoods Inc. purchased NorQuest Seafoods, Inc. 
1915  Doyhof Fish Products Co. President L.V.Peek, include shareholders                         I.Myre Hofstad and J.E.Doyen (brand: Oona)
1918  Doyhof Fish Products Co., Inc. sold to G.W.Hume Co., John S. Hume             President, and operated until 1922 (brands:  Hume, Aviator, Star of        Alaska, Compass, Marathon)
1920  Mountain Point Packing Company of Petersburg, President P. F. 
            Harley of Seattle, (salmon brand; Golden Shore & clams) burned in                   1920,rebuilt 1922. 
1920  E.R.Strand, Wrangell Narrows operated for one year
1922  Petersburg By-Products plant at Mountain Point, Scow Bay,             processed salmon offal secured at Wrangell’s two    canneries.
1922   G.W.Hume Co. Scow Bay. C.E.Hume President (brands: Hume,             Spread Eagle, Aviator, Star of Alaska, Marathon, Nakat)
1923   A&P Products leased 3 fish traps and cannery used for storage. 
1924   P.E.Harris leased the G.W. Hume plant. In 1924 it burned down.
1927  Mountain Point Packing Company leased to P.F.Harley, two new traps                  and prepared for 20,000 cases.   
1928  Mountain Point Packing Co:  Bank of Petersburg announced             “foreclosure on Wrangell Narrows plant, no equity left over             mortgage for other creditors.” 1928 closed
1929  Wrangell Narrows Packing Co. purchased Mountain Point Packing          plant.Organized by J.T. Tenneson and Capt. C.P.Haugen.
1929   Wrangell Narrows Packing Co. 1933 under lease by Hanseth Bros.
1931-1932 Wrangell Narrows Packing Co. operated by Oscar Nicholson.
1934   Scow Bay Packing Co., Oscar Nicholson President/lease, Secretary                   H.L. Simonds
1940  Scow Bay Packing not operated. Joint agreement for PAF to can for       them in 1940.
1942  Oscar Nicholson individual changed ownership from Scow Bay                                     Packing.
1942-1946  Dean C. Kayler leased operation from Oscar Nicholson              (Nicholson’s trap fish were canned for his account at PAF) 
1943, 44 & 46 – Dean C. Kayler processed salmon for Alaskan Glacier                         Seafood Co.  
1947-1950 Northern Pacific Canning Co. leased Scow Bay Packing plant.
1948  Oscar Nicholson died. 
1951- 1952  Scow Bay Packing Co. plant sold to Scow Bay Canning Co.,                 owners A.L.Rogers and Gerald Oaksmith.
1953-1955   Libby, McNeill & Libby leased and after not operated again.
1955  Property reverted to Oscar Nicholson’s widow Alma who started                       the Beachcomber Inn at Scow Bay Canning Co. cook house location.
1960 Scow Bay Packing Co. cannery building collapsed on the beach.
1954  Petersburg Processors, Inc. (A.L.Rogers President, Eilert Holbeck VP)  
1954  Petersburg Seafoods, Inc., Ray Wood. 
           1955  Petersburg Processors and Petersburg Seafoods merged and                                                 operated under Petersburg Processors – Ray Wood and Eilert                                          Holbeck. 
1982  Nelbro Packing Co. purchases Petersburg Processors, Inc.  
1999  NorQuest Seafoods, Inc. purchases Nelbro Packing property.                
2003  Trident Seafoods, Inc., purchases NorQuest Seafoods, Inc.     
 2012 Tonka Seafoods, Inc., purchases cannery and cookhouse buildings       from Trident Seafoods, Inc.           
1900   Royer-Warnock Packing Co. Beecher Pass, Wrangell Narrows.            Cannery closed after first season. “1,500 case pack was truly made by        hand” (primarily Mongolian workers). Moser 1900
1905  Alaska Mutual Fisheries Co., Pybus Bay, processing halibut and             herring.
1915   Cape Fanshaw Fishing & Packing Co. closed
1918  H.VanVlack & Co, salmon processing shrimp and saltery in Thomas         Bay; (V brand label) 1920 purchased Gardiner Cannery, Thomas         Bay.
1919 Marathon Fishing & Packing Co., Petersburg floating cannery, moved           to Cape Fanshaw built cannery 1919. (brands: Seacomeo,Loyal,                             Papoose, Norwest)  Bankrupt in 1923.  
1919   Pybus Bay Fishing & Packing Co., cannery in Pybus Bay (brand: Pybus) 
1919 -Alaska Sanitary Packing Co. – canneries Wrangell and Fanshaw, built    1918; president James Spencer, manager W.O.Barnes  (brands:             Alesco, Boy Soldier, Diamond S, Sanco, Cute Boy, Southern)   
1920  Beauclaire Packing Co. builds new cannery, Kuiu Island (brands:                                     Bepco,Beaucaska, Blanchard, Beauclaire)
1922   Admiralty Packing Co. purchased Pybus Bay Fishing & Packing Co.
1922   Ness Fish Co., Eric Ness founder. Floating cannery, packed 500 cases of salmon first year, then entered shrimp fishery (brands: Everitt,           Bantam,) closed 1925.
1925   Alaska Sanitary Sanitary Packing Co. closes at Fanshaw
©2015 Karen Hofstad

 Karen Hofstad makes her home in Petersburg where she was a commercial fisher for more than 30 years. Her goal in compiling this list was to make a map of the areas canneries for use in Petersburg’s ‘Pocket Park’. She has collected hundreds of cannery labels and tins, and not a little bit of Southeast lore, along the way.