the inlet in front of the current townsite was named in 1790 by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo. he called the inlet puerto cordova after Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova. the land that is present-day cordova was purchased by michael james heney after copper ore was found in nearby areas. In 11906 it became a town after a small ceremony held by heney and his crewmembers. a week later from its foundation, the railroad began to bolster the community. upon completion of the railroad, cordova became a transportation hub for copper ore. between 1915 and the 1950s it became known as the "razor clam capital of the world" until the 1964 earthquake decimated the industry. in 1989 a recession of the fishing industry followed the crash of the exxon valdez.