Images of ago are a historical feast

Fishermen rafted up waiting for high tide c. 1920s. This photograph shows the tent that fishermen set up in the bow to provide some reprieve from the usually wet weather of Bristol Bay. Image from San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.

(PNAN-AK)  – “Sailing for Salmon: The Early Years of Commercial Fishing in Alaska’s Bristol Bay” exhibition will take visitors on a trip down memory lane, to a time when Bristol Bay’s salmon were harvested from sailboats with the images that graces the walls of the Anchorage Museum through October 2.Through historical photographs and eyewitness recollections, the exhibition tells the tales of one of the world’s great fisheries and where more than half the planet’s sockeye salmon return to the bay annually. “I look back on the sailboats as foolish, hateful and dangerous, romantic and beautiful,” said Al Andree, who fished Bristol Bay under sail. “Nothing will ever compare with the lovely sight of those great-winged, graceful boats scudding with the wind across Bristol Bay.”

    Commercial fishing began in Bristol Bay in 1884 and over the next 125 years, more than 50 industrial cannery complexes came to dominate the area’s remote shorelines and wild rivers. Prior to the 1950s, government regulation prohibited using motorized boats, instead fishermen used Bristol Bay double-enders, well-crafted and picturesque sailboats. These boats were challenging to operate and considered out-of-date after motorized boats became popular in the 1920s.

Star of India, anchored off Snag Point, Nushagak River, c. 1908. The Star of India is one of two surviving iron-sided ships of the Alaska Packers Association Star Fleet. It is now restored to sailing condition and part of San Diego's maritime museum. Built in England, the Star of India spent most of its time in salmon trade sailing the waters between San Franciso and the Nushagak. Its last trip was in 1928. Image courtesy the Samuel K. Fox Museum, Dillingham

     The show is curated by Tim Troll and John Branson for the Pratt Museum (Homer).

Published by on April 2011. Filed under Archives, Bugle Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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