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Bristol Bay sailboat added to National Register of Historic Places


Libby’s No. 23, a Bristol Bay double-ender

PHOTO: Courtesy of the National Park Service

(Anchorage, AK) – State Historic Preservation Officer Judy Bittner welcomes the announcement that Libby’s No. 23, a Bristol Bay double-ender sailboat at Port Alsworth, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Double-ender sailboats, used from the late 1800s until motorized boats were permitted in 1951, symbolize the legendary Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery.  Starting in 1914, Libby’s No. 23 was one of the 1,200 double-enders with two-man crews annually fishing at the mouths of the five large rivers that enter the waters of Bristol Bay, which were often perilous for these small boats. Libby’s No. 23 is one of just three museum quality double-ender fishing boats known to exist in the region.  It was part of the Libby, McNeil & Libby, Graveyard Koggiung cannery fishing fleet.  Each cannery had a unique paint scheme and Libby’s Graveyard boats were “Libby’s orange.”

In 1953 the cannery sold the boat and it was used to move freight on Lake Clark.  Restoration of the boat to its appearance while used for fishing in Bristol Bay began in 1997 and was completed in 2005. The boat is now on display outside the visitor center at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Port Alsworth.

The boat was added to the National Register, the nation’s catalog of more than 85,000 historic properties worthy of preservation, on June 14.

For information about listing an Alaska property in the National Register, please contact the Office of History and Archaeology by calling 907-269-8721 or by writing to 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1310, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3565.

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