Chatham Cannery, Sitkoh Bay

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Chatham Cannery, Sitkoh Bay

by | Jul 24, 2019

Chatham is a cannery village on the west shore of Sitkoh Bay, on Chichagof Island, about 22 miles (35.5 km) southeast of Tenakee Springs, Alaska. Sitkoh Bay is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 7 miles (11.3 km) long, located at the southeast tip of Chichagof Island.

Sitkoh Bay was historically an important area for the Angoon Tlingit. The name is from the Tlingit language meaning “among the glaciers” and first published by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the 1883 Coast Pilot. About 0.75 miles (1.2 km) above the cannery was the site of a former Tlingit village called “sit’qo” or possibly “sit’xo”. The village was on a terraced knoll just south of the mouth of Sitkoh River, a sockeye salmon stream that drains Sitkoh Lake about 4 miles (6.5 km) inland.

The Sitkoh Bay cannery was built in 1900 by August Buschmann and was located about 6 miles (9.7 km) east of the Todd Cannery. The cannery employed many of the Angoon Tlingit, and cabins to house the workers were scattered between the cannery buildings and a stream about 1800 feet (550 m) farther up the bay. The workers could buy winter supplies from the cannery store when prices are reduced at the end of the fishing season. The community that developed around the cannery was named for Chatham Strait that in turn was named in 1794 by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy for the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt Chatham, a notable English statesman. The Chatham post office was established in 1906 and discontinued in 1963. Chatham Straits Packing Company sold the Sitkoh Bay cannery to Pacific Packing & Navigation Company in 1901, and they sold to George T. Myers in 1904. Myers sold the cannery to New England Fish Company in 1929. Read more here and here. Explore more of Chatham here:

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