The first cannery in Anacortes was opened in 1896, and by 1915 eleven canneries were built along the Guemes Channel on the north shore of FidalgoIsland. Through the years many canneries have come and gone. While the seafood industry continues its local harvest, the last cannery closed its doors in Anacortes in 1999. What remains of the history are colorful canning labels, authentic cannery records, hundreds of fishing photographs, and intriguing oral histories that document this central part of our collective heritage and enduring tradition.
John Tursi made a documentary film in 1953 which follows the path of salmon from the Skagit River spawning to the fishing in Burrows Bay, then from the cannery dock to the cannery floor. He narrated this film in the 1980s as it was converted from film to video, and the results are a valuable glimpse of mid-century Anacortes.
The Carnegie Gallery features the original office once serving the Fidalgo Island Packing Company, which was among the first salmon canneries built in Anacortes, near where the Washington State Ferry now docks. It was located at Ship Harbor and operated between 1894 and 1925.