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Hotel and Main Street, Chitina, Alaska
Alaska

The town of Chitina (pronounced "Chit-na" by most Alaskans) came into existence as a railroad junction when the Copper River and Northwestern Railway was built between 1907 and 1911. The rail road ran north from Cordova on the Gulf of Alaska, along the Copper River to Chitina where one branch running east, went to McCarthy and Kennicott. This is where vast amounts of copper ore was mined, loaded on trains and taken to the port of Cordova. The other branch was to proceed north from Chitina to Fairbanks but that branch was never built.

Athabaskan Indians have occupied the Chitina area for more than 5,000 years. When new people came to the area bringing disease and conflict, the native population shrank. But with the building of the rail road, Chitina became a thriving town by 1914. The community included retail stores, a tinsmith, bars, restaurants, stables, dance halls, and five hotels among other businesses. When the mines closed in 1938 however, most of the town was abandoned. For years ghosts that had been painted on the sides of buildings by locals could be seen about town.

Today there are about 120 residents in Chitina, half Alaska Natives, who make a living through a combination of subsistence activities and jobs relating mostly to tourism or government.

The Chitina Hotel is a building with a rich history. Built in 1904, it served as a meeting place, community hall and movie theater. Converted to a hotel in the 1950's, it operated for 20 years and then was abandoned for 30 years. After much detailed renovation, the hotel -and restaurant- reopened in 2006. Information about this building can be found at http://www.hotelchitina.com/

Copyright: Tom sadowski
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 10496x5248
Uploaded: 01/08/2010
Updated: 02/03/2012
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Tags: hotel; ghost town; chitina emporium; main street; spirit mountain; gilpatrick's hotel chitina; frontier town; edgerton highway
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