You are here

Wards Cove Packing Company Cannery

-A A +A
c. 1914. Cannery Rd.

Built about 1914 for Libby McNeil and Libby, the Wards Cove cannery at Kenai is still operating. Most of the machinery is fairly new, but the plant has been updated piece by piece, so the machinery still defines individual tasks.

The buildings are large, plain, and gable-roofed, most of them with gable ends toward the water. Most of the work takes place in the cannery building. Fish are brought in either by conveyor or forklift from the boats, which dock just outside. Inside, the fish are moved by conveyor belts, with different processes being accomplished by machine, aided by hands. The fish are gutted, deslimed, loaded into cans, cooked, and taken outside to cool. Neighboring buildings include the can warehouse, where cans were once manufactured (although they are now purchased ready-made); the egg house, where fish roe is canned; the ice house; the freezer plant (much of the business is now frozen fish); and the power plant.

Additional buildings house workers and administration. The company provides beds for a work force of about two hundred, a unionized group of college students and Japanese. Bunkhouses and the mess hall accommodate these workers. This cannery, like most, is an agglomeration of old and new buildings, most covered with corrugated metal. They comprise an easily identifiable, distinctive form on the landscape.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Wards Cove Packing Company Cannery", [Kenai, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 122-122.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,