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)
CITIZEN WHARF/OCEAN BEAUTY
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
NORDIC DR (MAIN) & EXCEL STREET
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.
DOYHOF/SCOW BAY, WRANGELL NARROWS, SOUTH OF PETERSBURG
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.
PETERSBURG PROCESSORS/NORDIC DRIVE SOUTH
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.