It was a transportation “hub” connecting the Kennicott copper mine with Seattle smelters via train from Kennicott to Cordova; then barge to Seattle. It also connected to Fairbanks via road. The railroad arrived in 1910 and Chitina thrived until 1938 when the railroad pulled out. It quickly became a ghost town, and eventually even had ‘ghosts’ painted on several of the abandoned buildings. Work is currently underway to have Chitina declared an historical district. It is a treasure trove of old buildings, cars, and stories.
Chitina is at the confluence of the Copper and Chitina Rivers. It is a hot spot for Alaskan dip-net fishing for the world re-known Copper River Red Salmon. It is also along the road into the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park… the largest park in the nation, containing five of the ten largest peaks in the nation. The road into the park is gravel and a slow drive; so many choose to overnight in Chitina.