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Anchorage, Alaska
Preserving the History of Alaska’s Canning Industry
The Diamond NN Cannery waterfront, 1914. APA Collection, NPS San Francisco Maritime Historic Park. Image courtesy of the NN Cannery History Project.

Established on the Naknek River in southwest Alaska in 1894 by the Alaska Packers Association, the Diamond NN Cannery operated for more than 100 years. In that time, it expanded from a four-building salting facility to a 238-acre complex hosting over 50 buildings. At its height, the cannery was the largest salmon cannery in Alaska and it fed and housed hundreds of seasonal workers each year. During its century of operation, it played home to incredibly diverse American experiences, housing Croation fisherman, Italian, Scandinavian, Filipino, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Korean, Japanese, and Mexican workers, as well as Alaska Natives, African Americans, and Hawaiians. An initial grant from the NEH to create an exhibition celebrating this community provided foundational support for the NN Cannery History Project, which is collecting and preserving the history of the Diamond NN Cannery at South Naknek, Alaska and making that history accessible to the public.

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