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Ketchikan began as a fish camp called “kitschk-hin” meaning “thundering wings of an eagle” by the Tongass and Tlingits. Mike Martin bought land from Dhief Kyan in 1885. The land he purchased later became the township. In 1886, the first cannery opened near Ketchikan Creek. In the late 1890s, Ketchikan’s economy received a temporary boost as gold and copper discoveries were made nearby. In 1903, the first lumberyard was constructed. Spruce Mills supplied much of the lumber needed during World War II. N 1954, a pulp mill was constructed and this operation fueled the growth of Ketchikan. The pulp mill closed in 1997 when its contract ended.
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