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History at work in the 21st century

The mouth of the Kenai River has a history of commerce and transportation as long as the area’s history of human habitation, from the regional Dena’ina Native population to the early Russian fur traders and on through American occupation. Industry transformed the economy of Kenai as the commercial fishing boom took hold in Southcentral Alaska. The Libby, McNeill and Libby cannery was constructed on a bluff above the south bank of the river mouth and began operation in 1912.

It was robust, rugged work, but the cannery grew and endured, despite being rebuilt after a fire in 1921. It was sold to Columbia Wards in 1950, becoming Wards Cove Packing in the 1980s. In its heyday, the site was a village unto itself during fishing season — with housing, cooking and laundry facilities for workers, as well as all the warehouse and work spaces, dock facilities, machinery and equipment necessary for cannery operations.

The site’s profitability as a cannery waxed and waned, with the cannery closing in 1998, its inherent potential as a transportation and logistics hub has never faded. When Ron Hyde, founder and CEO of PRL Logistics, saw the old cannery, he knew he’d found the perfect place to expand PRL’s services to the Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet, where he could build on the location’s history of connectivity and the literal, century-old historic cannery facility.

As with anything worth doing, the project took some doing — a year of intensive design, preservation and restoration work to renovate the old cannery administration building and surrounding site into a facility built to exceed modern expectations, yet retain its authenticity. The result is The Cannery Lodge, where historic style meets modern performance. Salvaged dock planks became stairs and desktops, wood gutters have new life as railings, metal roofing lines interior walls as wainscoting, industrial cannery pulleys wired with 1920s fixtures serve as chandeliers, the original cannery store counter is now a full-service bar. Every old window, dock footing or scrap of original wood that could be salvaged was repurposed and incorporated into the finished product. The Cannery Lodge is like no other Kenai lodging establishment.

That attention to detail is the hallmark of design at The Cannery Lodge, just as it is the cornerstone of PRL’s approach to logistical planning and project support. At The Cannery Lodge, historic style meets modern performance to facilitate future success and your Kenai lodging needs.

Come work with the best and stay in the best location for innovation in Kenai, Alaska.

Click here for the Redoubt Reporter article about the cannery.