Despite having to come to Petersburg to fix our electrical woes, we greatly enjoyed exploring this little town. Petersburg was settled by a Norwegian, first name of Peter, to develop a fishing community just before the turn of the 20th century. Of course, it had been the site of a native fishing community for long before that.
In the early years Petersburg had its ups and downs but has been thriving for decades and has had a stable population of about 3600 focused on commercial fishing and fish processing. We moored at the North Harbor, right next to the Petersburg cannery and on a dock with many working fishing boats of various types. It was quite entertaining to see the fishing boats come and go, hear the discussions on the fishing activity and see a bit more of a cannery in action. Here the fishing boats were quite a bit larger than we saw in Point Baker and focused on purse seining rather than trolling.
We enjoyed walking the various trails and paths to see some of the historic buildings, neighborhood houses – some of which have amazing views of the water and glaciers – and a nature walk through the muskeg – which is Alaska equivalent for wetlands in my understanding.
We visited the local museum which had a small but dense collection of items from the last 100 years and lots of photographs. I found a couple of facts particularly interesting or amusing. Petersburg incorporated as a town and formed its’ first government in the early 1900s and their very first act was to impose a $2 tax per dog. Apparently, feelings that dogs have too much liberty is not just a 21st century urban issue. The streets were paved with wood planks until the 1950s which must have made for some challenging driving at times. Japanese, Chinese and Philipino immigrants played just a big a role in Petersburg as we have observed in other Alaskan towns, along with the strong Norwegian history.
The weather was rain alternating with sun when we arrived but turned sunny. On our final morning the clouds were gone and we were treated to stunning views of mountains and our first sighting of a glacier.