Ship Creek, Cook Inlet

Ship Creek flows from the Chugach Mountains through the city of Anchorage and into the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet. Dena’ina Athabascan people called the creek “Dgheyaytnu,” or “Needlefish Creek”, and a summer fish camp was at the river mouth. In 1911, two American families lived on “squatters rights” at the mouth of Ship Creek, and by 1914 two more families were living in log cabins on the nearby flats. Ships would moor in Cook Inlet, and smaller boats and barges would bring materials to shore. The area was then known as Ship Creek Landing.

The U.S. Congress passed the Alaska Railroad Act in 1914, to build a rail line from Seward to Fairbanks. The field headquarters for the project were built where Ship Creek flows into Cook Inlet. Rumors about the impending construction of a railroad brought people to the area, and a tent city started along the creek banks. By the spring of 1915, over a thousand tents were pitched on the north side of the creek. When townsite parcels were surveyed and auctioned in July 1915, the tent city folded and people moved to the bluffs above Ship Creek.

By August 1915, the U.S. Post Office had established the name “Anchorage,” and the name “Ship Creek Landing” was no longer used. Ship Creek was eventually realigned and the marshy areas and shoreline were filled in 1920. The railroad was completed in 1923, and numerous buildings were constructed to house the various functions of the railroad, as well as the city’s other industrial and warehousing needs. In 1927, the City Dock was built, and adjacent cannery docks were built in 1928. The Port of Anchorage would gradually evolve into a major shipping and cargo handling facility. Read more here and here. Download or open the CoastView app and explore more of Ship Creek here: