Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tenakee Springs

Community of Tenakee Springs
We departed June 30th from Auke Bay and headed west around the north end of Admiralty Island then south along Chatham Strait.  Several whales were spotted just west of Auke Bay along with the typical whale watching boats, often seen in the area.  After rounding Pt. Retreat Lighthouse, we made our way to Funter Bay on the east side of Admiralty Island on Mansfield Peninsula.  This large bay has a public float located in front of some cannery ruins where we moored for the night.  

The Bakery, Tenakee Springs
The following morning we continued south along Chatham Strait, then turned west into Tenakee Inlet, arriving at the village of Tenakee Springs around 3:30pm.  Tenakee Springs is a charming village with homes on pilings lining the waterfront; a 6-foot wide gravel pathway serves as Main Street.  Local transportation is by foot, bicycle, or ATV. 
A Lift for Homes on the Hillside
The Juneau-Sitka ferry service makes stops at Tenakee Springs, which has an attractive well-stocked grocery store housed in the original 1899 Ed Snyder Mercantile building, a 1903 Post Office, a Library, and an excellent Bakery.  Most of the homes in this quaint village have lovely gardens with flowers that line the pathways.  
Marina at Tenakee Springs
There are 60 year-round residents but the town grows in the summer with seasonal workers plus visitors who come to enjoy the natural hot springs at the bathhouse in town.  
Main Street, Tenakee Springs
The current bathhouse was constructed in 1940 which replaced the original building dating back to the late 1800’s.  In the morning we visited the Bakery and enjoyed delicious fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.  We also visited the tiny Post Office, which displays archival photos of Tenakee from the early days.  
The Charm of Tenakee Springs
These photos will be part of a new museum in town currently under construction.  
Early Cabins of Tenakee Springs
During the early 1900’s a boardwalk covered the current gravel pathway to accommodate the ladies long skirts and dresses as well as to protect  men’s suits and shoes from puddles of mud. 
Archival Photo, Tenakee Springs 1911
Beautiful Flowers and Scenery at Tenakee Springs
The word Tenakee is from the Tlingit word “tinaghu,” meaning “Coppery Shield Bay” in reference to three copper shields that were lost overboard in a storm.  The Native Tlingit’s used Tenakee as their winter home because of its milder south exposure and because of the inviting hot springs.  
Peaceful Tenakee Springs
Apparently the highly prized copper shields, similar to European family crests, were carried with them while making their way to Tenakee and unfortunately lost at sea.  Today, Tenakee Springs is mainly a retirement community; most Native residents have since passed away.

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