Alaska Life

A marine state park in Southeast Alaska features historic cannery ruins

A rusted boiler lies among piles at the site of the San Juan Fishing & Packing Co. cannery, built in 1901. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Twenty-two miles southeast of downtown Juneau is little Taku Harbor, on the eastern shore of Stephens Passage. The harbor lies in the City and Borough of Juneau.

Old piles frame the cement structure holding a large electric generator at the old San Juan Fishing & Packing Co. cannery. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

The harbor has a dock built by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Sport Fish and maintained by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors Department. Commercial fishing boats, tour ships and recreational boaters use the harbor and dock.

A large piece of machinery rests on piles that remain from the San Juan Fishing & Packing Co. cannery. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Taku Harbor State Marine Park, which encompasses most of the harbor, is the site of the remains of a cannery built in 1901.

Popweed grows out of a hole in rusty metal. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

The San Juan Fishing & Packing Co. built a cannery and cold-storage facility that was the first of its kind in Alaska. It changed hands several times and in 1918 was sold to Libby, McNeill & Libby, which operated it until 1947.

Paint peels off the walls and ceiling in a cannery outbuilding. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

All that remains of the main cannery building are piles, rusting metal pieces and a huge cement base with a large electric generator on top. The piles are topped with a variety of vegetation. Some of the lower piles have rusting metal parts from the cannery placed there by visitors.

Visitors have placed rusted machinery parts among the old piles at the cannery. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)
Rusty metal on an old pile. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Some of the small outbuildings, including the sauna, still remain. The sauna has been used as storage shed and emergency shelter by fishers.

The old sauna building is used for storage. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)
A handwritten notice is tacked to the wall of the old sauna building. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources maintains the Tiger Olson public-use cabin at Taku Harbor.

Vegetation tops the piles that remain from the San Juan Fishing & Packing Co. cannery. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)
Ferns grow around an old boiler. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)
A wringer washing machine in one of the outbuildings. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)
Old piles frame the cement structure holding a large electric generator at the cannery. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)
A rusted boiler lies among piles at the San Juan Fishing & Packing Co. cannery. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)