Ship Cove is on the southern shore of Port Conclusion, an embayment at the southern tip of Baranof Island that extends south-southwest for 3 miles (4.8 km) from Chatham Strait, about 60 miles (97 km) south-southeast of Sitka and 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Port Alexander, Alaska. The bay was named by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy because this is where he ended the British exploration of the Pacific Northwest in 1794. The rocks on Baranof Island are components of a Paleozoic to early Tertiary oceanic volcanic arc complex, including sedimentary and volcanic rocks that were deposited on and adjacent to the arc complex, then were deformed, and accreted. The southern tip of the island comprises fine-grained sandstone that developed during the Paleocene. Port Conclusion is flanked to the west and north by Mount Kolloen with a summit elevation of 2,780 feet (847 m) that provides a sheltered harbor.
George Vancouver is best known for his 1791–95 expedition which explored and charted the Pacific Northwest coast, including contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. In 1794, after overwintering in the Sandwich Islands, he first went to Cook Inlet and from there followed the coastline south. Boat parties charted the east coasts of Chichagof and Baranof Islands, circumnavigated Admiralty Island, explored to the head of Lynn Canal, and charted the rest of Kuiu Island and nearly all of Kupreanof Island. His ships were anchored in Ship Cove at the head of Port Conclusion for most of August 1794. He then set sail for Great Britain by way of Cape Horn, completing the voyage of discovery in September 1795. The first European settlement on Baranof Island was established in 1799 by Alexander Baranov, the chief manager and first governor of the Russian-American Company for whom the island is named. The island is the traditional territory of the Tlingit group called Shee Atika, and these people were subjugated and conscripted by the Russians to hunt sea otters. The island was the center of Russian activity in North America from 1804 to 1867 and was the headquarters of the Russian maritime fur trade.
In 1920, the Alaska Union Fisheries Company operated a herring saltery at the head of Port Conclusion but it closed in 1921. In 1930, the wooden barge Fort Union was beached for salvage and broken up at Ship Cove and remains visible at low tide. The barge was launched in 1918 by the Tacoma Shipbuilding Company. Fort Union was originally built as a cargo ship for service in World War I by the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation using Design 1001 by naval architect Theodore E. Ferris. This design was a wood-hulled vessel, powered by steam engines, that displaced 2,654 tons and was 270 feet (82 m) long. Over 1000 ships were contracted, but only 589 ships were completed because the contracts were canceled when the war ended. Many incomplete ships were converted to barges, many others were burned. The Fort Union was purchased by the Puget Sound Reduction Company which operated a gold and silver smelter at Everett, Washington. The barge was used to transport ore from Alaska gold mines to the Everett smelter. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ship Cove and Port Conclusion here: