Ketchikan was our last sightseeing port of call before heading south through the rest of the inside passage to disembark in Vancouver. As we made our approach to the dock, there were sights everywhere which indicated how important the aviation and marine modes of transportation are to the life of these Alaskan cities and towns. Today the city relies on the fishing and tourist industries for its economic survival. It is called the Salmon Capital of the world. As in the other ports of call, the cruise ship docks were fully occupied.
After reviewing the things to see and do in Ketchikan, we decided that we would see this city on our own without any guides. The area is relatively small and is the most densely populated city in Alaska. One of the must see attractions is the standing totem poles, Ketchikan has the most of these poles in the entire world. A quick stop at the visitor's center on the pier confirmed that we could take a city bus for one dollar to the state totem park about ten miles out of town. The state park is actually located in a rain forest with examples of many types of totem poles and a native Indian Tingit clan house. The house is supported in the corners by totem poles.
Upon returning to town, we visited one of the more colorful historic districts of town -Creek Street. The early settlement of Ketchikan was centered on the fishing and lumber industry. In order to keep the less savory elements of adult entertainment under control, the city mandated that all of the designated businesses be located along the creek. Today there are still reminders of those wild years to be seen. The Creek District today is all tourist attractions, including Dolly's house. Dolly is the most well know of the "sporting ladies" who made their living here. After working her trade in several other towns, Dolly settled here in 1919 and continued to work out of her Creek Street home until the late 1940's. She continued to live in her house until 1973, when she became too ill to live alone. She died at the ripe old age of 88.
We then took a walking tour of the downtown area and a final stop at the federal discovery center where there was displays of the native cultures and the early years of European settlement efforts in fishing and lumber.