Fanshaw, Cleveland Passage. June 16, 2011.
27 June 2011 | posted at Juneau
Photo: Nothing but a few old pilings and boilers remain of the former town of Fanshaw.
In Glaciers, Bears and Totems, I wrote about the former town of Fanshaw in Cleveland Passage. But we didn’t actually go ashore at the town-site itself, which is located on the east side of Cleveland Passage. Instead we went ashore on the west side of the Passage, the site of a former fox farm. I wanted to use the visit to the Fanshaw area as an excuse to write about the brief but unsuccessful attempt at fox farming in SE Alaska (Ch 5.2 Fanshaw. A Very Short Boom).
Fanshaw itself was first settled in 1902. Several salmon canneries and salteries were built there but they all eventually closed and by 1953 the post office closed too. A 1973 book reported finding colorful wildflowers growing among abandoned houses in 1969. Would we find any trace of those houses?
We anchored in Cleveland Passage and took the dinghy ashore to where we could see a row of pilings stretching along the beach. From the pilings, we walked through a strip of thimbleberries into the forest. Thin second-growth trees shaded the forest floor punctuated by the occasional large stump. A trail led along the edge of the beach through the forest. But the only evidence of houses was the door of a wood-burning stove lying on the ground. Nature had reclaimed her own.