King Cove Marks 100th Anniversary of Salmon Cannery

The commercial fishing community of King Cove, on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula, is celebrating on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 the 100th anniversary of a salmon cannery around which the community was built. Visiting dignitaries and other out-of-town guests will take a tour of the Peter Pan Seafoods plant, to see king crab processed, meet with many of the community’s more than 900 residents and attend a banquet where they will hear a narrative and see a photo review of King Cove’s first 100 years. A boat exhibit, basketball tournament, community barbeque and fireworks display are also on the agenda.

King Cove was founded back in 1911 when Pacific American Fisheries built a salmon cannery there. A steamship loaded with lumber, cannery equipment and 50 men to build and operate the plant left Bellingham, Wash., for King Cove on April 9 of that year and arrived in King Cove on April 21. After unloading men and cargo, the ship went south and returned again to King Cove in late May with more men and supplies. The cannery building was completed by June 1, 1911.

Photographs, letters and logbooks of those first years of the King Cove Cannery, by cannery superintendent Harold H. Smith, are now entrusted to the University of Washington Library.

During the first year alone, the King Cove cannery put up 45,000 cases of canned salmon. The city was incorporated in 1949. The cannery operated continuously between 1911 and 1976, when it was partially destroyed by fire. Adoption of the 200-mile fisheries limit spurred rebuilding and King Cove’s economy today is rooted in year-round fish harvesting and processing.