Cordova Rose is a landlocked barge that was converted to a guest lodge on the southern shore of Odiak Slough, a tidal embayment on Orca Inlet in Prince William Sound and adjacent to Eyak Lake, about 46 miles (74 km) south-southeast of Valdez and 0.5 miles (0.8 km) south of Cordova, Alaska. The mudflats surrounding the lodge were filled and a lighthouse named ‘Odiak Pharos‘ was added in the 1970s. Odiak is a local name that was first published in 1897 by Lieutenant Commander Jefferson F. Moser on the Albatross while collecting hydrographic data and making harbor sketches along the coast of Alaska. Odiak Slough is formed by a natural constriction of the surrounding bedrock that is part of the Orca Group, a rock formation consisting mostly of sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone that developed from turbidites in a deep water trench and were subsequently metamorphosed to greywacke. The lowland between Odiak Slough to the west and Eyak Lake to the east in the bedrock constriction is composed principally of sand and clay and discontinuous lenses of glacial till which is only a few feet above sea level. This lowland historically was a high water overflow of Eyak Lake prior to being filled in the early 20th century during railroad construction.
The area surrounding Eyak Lake was historically the traditional territory of the Eyak people, and the lowland between Odiak Slough and Eyak Lake was the site of a village. In 1887, the Pacific Packing Company owned by Louis Sloss and Co. of San Francisco built a cannery in Odiak Slough and a small tramway carried fish from Eyak Lake to the cannery. Eyak people relocated to the cannery for employment and a settlement of 200 people developed into a town called Eyak or Old Town. In 1888, a second cannery was built at Odiak by the Pacific Steam Whaling Company but was destroyed by a fire the same year. In 1893, the remaining cannery at Odiak Slough joined the Alaska Packers Association that operated the cannery through the 1905 season. In 1906, the property and all the buildings were sold to Michael J. Heney who had overseen the construction of the White Pass and Yukon Railway and planned to build a railroad from Prince William Sound up the Copper River to the Kennecott copper mines. A townsite was laid out at the head of Odiak Slough, and Heney named the reborn town ‘Cordova’ after the historical name for Orca Inlet. Businesses sprang up around Heney’s railroad operations and soon another townsite was established on the north shore of the slough with more room for railroad facilities. The dock facilities at the new Cordova townsite became the southern terminus of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway that operated from 1911 to 1938.
Cordova Rose was originally built in 1924 as a rigged scow in Kodiak and named Berry #1. The scow worked in the Gulf of Alaska as a pile driver for fish traps and salmon canneries. In 1964, it was towed to its present location and used as a machine shop and a houseboat. In the 1970s, it was owned by Bob and Rose Arvidson who landlocked the barge by adding fill to create the property. Bob was a commercial fisherman and built the lighthouse to help him navigate through Odiak Slough, and he later convinced the U.S. Coast Guard to recognize the structure as an official aid to navigation and the northernmost lighthouse in the United States. Eldon and Jan Glein purchased the property in 1992 and subsequently renovated the buildings and created the present Cordova Rose Lodge which since 1998 has been owned and operated by Gary McDowell. Read more here and here. Explore more of Cordova Rose and Odiak Slough here: