The Story of Icy Strait Point, Hoonah Alaska
The Tlingit people settled Hoonah two thousand years ago when they were forced to abandon their original village because of advancing glaciers. Translated, it means, “Where the north wind doesn’t blow”.
The Tlingit – always respectful of their environment -- lived a subsistence life, surviving off the bountiful waters and lush forest. Many also became very accomplished as weavers, carvers and artists -- developing the unique stylized designs you see throughout Tlingit communities today.
Fur traders arrived on Hoonah shores in the 1880’s. Schools, churches, and stores were soon to follow.
In 1912, the Hoonah Packing Company built the first cannery in the area. Ownership traded hands several times before the Icy Strait Salmon Company purchased the property in 1932. When a fire destroyed the town on June 14, 1944, many residents made the cannery their home while the city was rebuilt.
In the mid 1990’s the Huna Totem Corporation bought the cannery and created what you see today.
Currently 85% of the staff at ISP are local Tlingit from Hoonah.
Icy Strait Point was originally built as a Salmon Cannery and has been an important part of the community for many years serving many functions. Below is a timeline explaining the many incarnations of these historic buildings.
1912 Hoonah Packing Company Cannery opens. The Hoonah packing Company was built a mile and a half north of town, establishing a cornerstone for the local economy. Operating as a salmon cannery, ownership was transferred several times and by 1934 had become the Icy Strait Salmon Company.
1914 Hoonah Packing Company cans an amazing 2,367,072 cans of Salmon.
1917 The Hoonah Cannery put up what was to date the largest pack ever by any cannery in Alaska - 152,505 cases. Each case contained 48 one pound cans of salmon.
1923 The Hoonah Cannery was shuttered and remained so until purchased by the independently owned Icy Strait Salmon Company.
1933 Hoonah Packing Company transfers ownership to Pacific American Fisheries.
1934 Pacific American Fisheries transfers ownership to Peter J Andrae and finally to Icy Strait Salmon Company. The new owners installed new, high-speed canning machinery and began canning operations once again.
1938 The Icy Strait Salmon Company paid 97 cannery workers a total of $12,157.09, an average of $123.33 each. Some 185 fishermen were paid $34,513.17, an average of $186.56 each.
1940 The National Park Service's Frank Been visited Hoonah during the canning season. He reported that about 150 men were working on 19 seine boats that were owned by Hoonah men. About 60 people from Hoonah were working at the cannery. Minimum wage was 65 cents per hour.
1943 The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reported that the most successful seine boat in three Juneau fisheries regulatory districts was the Clarice, which caught 72,000 fish. The crew share was $1085.00. The Clarice was operated by William Johnson of Hoonah, who fished for the Icy Strait Salmon Company.
1944 The City of Hoonah burned on June 14h. Many of Hoonah’s residents made the Icy Strait Salmon Cannery their home until Hoonah was rebuilt.
1953 Last year that Icy Strait Salmon Company operated as a full fledged canning operation. From this point until 1999 the property functioned as a maintenance and support facility for the seine boat fishing fleet.
1954 Fish caught by the Icy Strait Canning Company fleet were transported by Icy Strait Salmon Co. fish tenders to Pelican, Alaska and canned by the Pelican Packing Company.
1956 Ownership transferred from Icy Strait Salmon Company to a partnership composed of the Pelican Packing Company, Pelican Cold Storage and the Alaska Transportation Company.
1959 Purchased by the Alaska Transportation Company.
1962 Excursion Inlet Packing Co. (XIP) purchased Pelican Packing Co.'s cannery equipment as well as the mortgages of the Hoonah seine boat fleet. The purchase of the seine fleet mortgages guaranteed that Hoonah fishermen would sell their production to XIP, at least until their mortgages were paid off.
1996 Cannery was purchased by the current owners Huna Totem Corporation and leased back to Ward's Cove Packing Co. for a period of three years.
1999 This was the last year the cannery served as a maintenance and support facility for the seine boat fishing fleet.
2001 July 8th Groundbreaking ceremony for Icy Strait Point, America's only private cruise ship destination.
2004 - May 23rd Celebrity Mercury makes the inaugural call at Icy Strait Point!
2004 - 32 ships visited.
2005 - 36 Ships visit Icy Strait Point.
2006 - 71 Ships visit Icy Strait Point.
2007 - 80 Ships visit Icy Strait Point,
2007 - May 14th ZipRider! The world's largest zipline opens at Icy Strait Point.
2008 - 58 Ships visit Icy Strait Point.
2009 - 69 Ships visit Icy Strait Point.
2010 - 64 Ships visit Icy Strait Point.
2011 - 73 Ships visit Icy Strait Point.
2012 - 63 Ships visit Icy Strait Point
2013 - 69 Ships are scheduled to stop at Icy Strait Point