Ketchikan, Alaska, US
The southeastern-most town in Alaska is also arguably its most colorful. Ketchikan’s early history is forever tied to the rollicking brothels lining the raised wooden catwalks that snake along Creek Street. Here a pioneering population of enterprising women provided rest and recreation for the predominantly male workforce powering the timber and fishing industries of the Southeast. Founded in 1885, the town is the state’s oldest continuously governed municipality, having been incorporated in 1900. But Ketchikan also celebrates its earlier heritage. The city is a treasury of Native American culture, with the largest collection of Native totem poles in the world. The Totem Bight State Park, Potlatch Park, Saxman native village and the Totem Heritage Center display both originals and reproductions created over the years by carvers trained in the traditional symbolism and craft. A restored salmon cannery shows how the city became the Salmon Capital of the World, and a visit to a hatchery reveals contemporary efforts to ensure the continuation of this vital resource. Tours of the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument are available by air or sea, and sport fishing is also popular with visitors. A visit to the Native American village of Metlakatla on Annette Island provides an in-depth look at the local Tsimshian and Haida-Tlingit cultures both past and present.