Ford Arm Cannery, Chichagof Island

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Ford Arm is an embayment about 0.3 miles (483 m) across and 4 miles (6.5 km) long, on the west coast of Chichagof Island, 27.5 miles (44 km) southeast of Pelican, Alaska. Ford Arm was named in 1897 by Lieutenant Commander E.K. Moore of the U.S. Navy for yeoman Harry L. Ford, a member of the ship’s crew. The name was first published by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the 1901 Coast Pilot.

Chichagof Island, or Shee Kaax in the Native Tlingit language, is 75 miles (121 km) long and 50 miles (80 km) wide, and has a land area of 2,048.61 square miles (5,305.9 sq km) and a coastline of 742 miles (1197 km), making it the fifth largest island in the United States. Chichagof Island reputedly has the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth. The principal communities are Hoonah, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, and Elfin Cove are all located on the northern half of the island where commercial fishing, guided hunting trips, charter fishing and logging are all vital economic facets of the local economies.

In 1911, T.C. McHugh of Wrangell, who was associated with Pillar Bay Packing Company, partnered with August Buschmann to build a cannery in Ford Arm. Operating exclusively with seines, they packed about 20,000 cases of salmon. The period just before and during World War I saw a rapid expansion of the salmon industry when 36 new canneries were built between 1915 and 1918. Buschmann and McHugh incorporated the Deep Sea Salmon Company in 1918 and started operating a cannery at Port Althorp. In 1921, the company leased the cannery at Ford Arm to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company and they operated the facility until 1924 when the lease was not renewed. The cannery was then sold to Pyramid Packing Company in Sitka and it was dismantled and all that remains today are remnants of the dock piles. Read more here and here. Download the latest version of the CoastView app and explore more of Ford Arm here:


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