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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

24 September 2017

❖ WATERFALL CANNERY ❖ ALASKA

Waterfall Cannery,
 Prince of Wales Island, AK.

Click image to enlarge.
Scan of original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
Waterfall Cannery,
This slightly different view with some descriptive text
added by the previous owner.
Click image to enlarge.
Scan from an original from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"Commercial fishing pioneers founded Waterfall Cannery near a natural waterfall amid 52 acres of rugged wilderness on Prince of Wales Island, AK. They chose this location, on the island's craggy western shore, because the surrounding waters were known for phenomenal fishing and epic salmon runs.
      The cannery went on to make a major name for itself in seafood production. Salmon were caught in fish traps or aboard seiners, brine-cured, packed in handmade cans, and shipped off to New York and throughout Europe. Like most canneries in Alaska of the day, this frontier outpost was a self-sufficient community of seasonal workers.
    At season's end, the bulk of the crew departed and Waterfall Cannery shut down until the next summer's salmon migration. 
1911:
Alaska Fish Co, the first to pack salmon on a ship, starts a floating cannery aboard the 42-year old clipper Glory of the Seas. The venture proved so successful that the company tows the vessel to the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, where Seattle-based Oceanic Packing Co builds a shoreside facility.
1912: Alaska Fish and Oceanic Packing merge, establishing Waterfall Cannery.
1923: Waterfall Cannery is sold to Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co, owner of the nationwide chain of A & P stores.
1925: Nakat Packing Corp, a subsidiary of A&P, is formed to operate the cannery for the next half-century.
1932: A major expansion begins that adds a warehouse, marine way, oil dock, dam, power lines, cable house, machine shop, storage room, mess hall, bunkhouses, four seiners, and the fish tender Quaker Maid. 
1936: Waterfall Cannery produces 220,000 cases of silver salmon for the year, setting a record for a single Alaska cannery.
1937: The cannery's new $145,000 outbuildings are considered the finest in SE Alaska. The company adds five additional canning lines.
1939-1945: During WW II, Waterfall Cannery supplies canned salmon to support the Allied forces.
1946: Waterfall Cannery's output is 80% silver salmon, 20% halibut and lingcod.
'At Ketchikan, we chartered a plane and flew here to Waterfall. It is one of the most beautiful trips I have ever been on, and I hope you will have an opportunity to make it.' C.F. Bradford, bookkeeper, Waterfall Cannery, 23 June 1946.
1969: New England Fish purchases the assets of Nakat Packing Co, including Waterfall Cannery. 
1971: Restrictions on commercial fishing techniques cause the harvest to become too unpredictable to gear up for the summer pack and Waterfall Cannery closes its doors.
1973: New England Fish sells Waterfall Cannery's buildings and land to Edward 'Des' Moore and family, who convert the bygone operation into a sport-fishing lodge.
1980: The Ketchikan-based Waterfall Group purchases the property. The historic clapboard buildings and cabins that once housed cannery crew are carefully renovated to host sport-fishing fans from around the world." From the Waterfall Resort

The Waterfall Cannery connections to the PNW would have been many but this day let us honor Capt. Clayton R. Shaw, a descendant of a pioneer family in the San Juan Archipelago. The gentle giant was committed to the fishing industry his whole career.
Captain Clayton R. Shaw (1908-2001)
Fleet Captain for Nakat Packing Co.
The highly regarded Capt. Shaw is
  documented as fishing summers in 
Alaska from 1928 to 1970.
When he retired––he got married and 
lived on the Shaw family farm
 on Broken Point,
Shaw Island, WA.
Photo dated 1958 at Broken Pt., Shaw Island.  
HAZEL ROBB, Capt. Clayton Shaw,
at winter haulout, Seattle, WA. Dated 1935.
The tender (210409) was built in Ketchikan in 1912.
50 G.t. 34 N.t.
67.4' x 16.4' x 5.8'
 Photographer unknown.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

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