Ketchikan, Alaska

We boarded the ferry at Hollis on Prince of Wales Island to make the 3 hour journey back to Ketchikan and find ourselves a room @ Eagle View Hostel before our our following day's performance at the Ketchikan Library.

Ketchikan is at the most southern point of the Alaska Marine Highways System in Alaska.
Ketchikan rains more than most SE Alaskan communities, about 162 inches of rain per year, but in some years, even topping 200 inches of rain.
We noticed that locals do not use umbrellas, and this seems to be true for all of SE Alaska.

Ketchikan is humming with tourists off the cruise ships.
When we were there, there were 5 ocean liners in town, and some say there are as many as 10,000 visitors daily from the Ocean Liners.
They pull up right downtown and totally block the views looking across the Tongass Narrows.
Most folks in town are happy for the business.

The largest collection of Native American totem poles in the world is in Ketchikan!

Ketchikan is also busy with many fishing & commercial boats, & float planes coming into and out of  the waterway.

In fact, Ketchikan seemed about the busiest place we've seen so far in the inside passage.

We walked and climbed stairs up from the downtown area as there is only one way to go if heading east, and that is UP!
Creek Street is built along the shores of Ketchikan Creek.
It was built over the water because it was simply too difficult to blast away the rocky hills surrounding the creek.
This is a common theme with Ketchikan as a large percentage of the town was built ‘over the water’.

The History of Creek Street can be summed up by fishermen, bootleggers, & prostitutes.
Creek Street is known as Ketchikan’s old red-light district. In the mid 1920’s there were over 20 bawdy houses on Creek Street alone!

Read more:

Ocean Liner dwarfs the Alaskan Gypsy
Hardy young people of Ketchikan.
It's not particularly warm out this day and the temperature of the water is about 50 degrees - brrrr!
We went to the library early to set up, and wow, what a beautiful library Ketchikan has. 

The new library is up the hill away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and has beautiful views of the mountains out the windows looking east.  The windows seem to cover the whole eastern wall of the library, from floor to ceiling.

An impressive, colorful & whimsical fabric covered tree sculpture fills a good portion of the children's library.

According to our librarian Lisa and written info fabric sculpture took hundreds of hours to make with commonly available materials.
The chicken wire base was covered with scraps of every imaginable fabric custom sewn in strips to fit tree shapes, embroidered and embellished.
Once installed, the artists used huge circular needles to “sew” the fabric to the wire base to give it shape.

The words on the tree are sayings about books, reading and libraries in many languages. The leaves are pressed newsprint shaped with wire and hand painted by artists and local school children. The branches to which the leaves are attached are covered with yarn. 

At the end of the branches are soft sculptures, dolls and paper mache figures of characters from popular books such as Charlotte’s Web, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and My Father’s Dragon.

It feels great to hug this tree because it is so soft and comfortable and our librarian assured us that this is encouraged and the children love their library tree. We also noticed a poem by Shel Sliverstein on the Poet Tree.

The community room we played in also had fabulous views and floor to ceiling windows on the east side.
Our librarian Lisa Pierson.We had a really nice time performing at the Ketchikan Library and meeting Lisa & the folks who came out!

After the performance, we were ready to relax with dinner and local music at a place recommended to us by Lisa, The New York Cafe.
The ambiance, food, beer and wine choices were very good and the local musicians were great!
In fact, we went back 2 other times as their coffee &  breakfasts are excellent!
The New York Cafe is a Primal Mates Pick for best place for coffee, food, ambiance & music.

Besides, the locals hang out here and a good way to tell they are locals is by the number of people who wear Rubber Boots.  (also known as "Sitka Sneakers" )

Next Stop, Sitka!