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THE YES BAY FISH HATCHERY

Fifty-five years later, in 1988

 

The color photographs taken in 1988 by Diane Hack, co-owner of the Yes Bay Lodge, are a graphic indication of how the Southeast Alaskan climate reclaims wooden structures. The hatchery building itself was constructed in 1905 and the residents' housing was probably completed soon after. All the structures were well-maintained by the hatchery staff during the years the hatchery operated.

In her book, Alaska’s Salmon Hatcheries, 1891-1959, Pat Roppel described the dismantling of the fish hatchery structures:

"The order for the closure of the hatchery arrived on July 23, 1933, about six weeks after a visit from a newly appointed Commissioner of Fisheries. All fry were liberated immediately, despite the fact that a serious epidemic of disease was in progress.

"The station was left that winter in the care of Vincent Boucher, the foreman. Then, in one month during the summer of 1934, a few men were able to dismantle the station, barge the equipment the length of the lake, haul it over the tramway and load it on ships. These same tasks in the reverse direction took many men a period of a quarter of a century to accomplish.

"The last entry in the station logbook dated September 24, 1934 was truly a death knell "This station is now closed and abandoned as far as the Bureau is concerned."

"Much of the property was shipped to the Bureau' s fur seal stations on the Pribiloff Islands. Hatchery equipment such as the new yellow cedar troughs were transferred to Clackamas, Oregon and to other Bureau hatcheries. Two hundred and forty such troughs had been newly constructed in 1930-31. It took Ketchikan Spruce Mills nearly three years to gather 250 planks, 16 inches wide by 16 to 18 feet long, dressed and free of knots.

"The remainder of the property: the tramway, pipeline, launch, scow, and boats, the donkey-house on the tramway, and all buildings, were turned over to the U.S. Forest Service which put in a Civilian Conservations Corps camp. The majority of the buildings were dismantled and the lumber taken to Ketchikan."

 

 

 

Approaching one of the remaining Yes Bay fish hatchery structures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remains of what was probably the Superintendent's house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph of the Yes Bay hatchery residents' quarters, taken in the 1930's.

Al Kemmerich, Superintendent of the fish hatchery identified the house, second from the left as the" Superintendent's house"

Note the similarity in roof line to Diane Hack's photo (above)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer view of house shown in first photo above.

This may be another side of the Superintendent's house, or another structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forest has almost reclaimed this building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Float plane at Lake McDonald, site of the Yes Bay fish hatchery

 

Part Four of my "Tales of Yes Bay Alaska" describes the Yes Bay hatchery operations of 1905-1933.

All color photographs, courtesy of Diane Hack, Yes Bay Lodge