Ouzinkie features prominently in this detail from a 1941 Alaska Steamship Company routes map.  Not only is it the only Kodiak area village listed, but the map erroneously makes it appear that Kodiak is not on the route!

Miss Lund’s Journey on the SS Cordova Continues

Link to part one of this journey: “How to Get to Kodiak: The Grand Old Steamships.”

“As we docked two hours early, there was no one there to greet me. I found a ticket master, who directed me toward the Baptist parsonage. As I was on my way there, Rev. Morony found me and took me out to the Mission.  There I was introduced to Mary Setzekorn, the missionary from Ouzinkie that I am going to replace. She had come in to town earlier with a sick baby.  She is due a vacation, since she has not seen her family or friends Stateside in over six years!" (Continued below…)

A steamship (probably the SS Cordova from its tubby shape and long superstructure) arrives in Kodiak channel in this portion of a tinted panoramic postcard fold out from the early 1940’s.

A young man disembarks (perhaps from the SS Denali) as crewmembers look on, in this photo from the Jean Lund scrapbook, taken in the fall of 1945.

The SS Cordova is docked at the Standard Oil / Erskine dock in Kodiak in this rare 1940’s Helsel postcard.

Miss Lund’s Impressions of Kodiak in October, 1945

“I found out that the Cordova was not due to sail to Ouzinkie until the next day (it actually stayed in Kodiak almost two days) so I got to explore Kodiak a little. I had much time to get acquainted with the people at Kodiak, and also toured the stores many times. Always one would find something new.  You’d be surprised at the fine stores they have there.  Streets are like the old cow paths.  They turn every so often.  

“Here are some prices you might be interested in: Ice Cream $1 a quart, butter $1 a pound, eggs dollar a dozen for storage eggs.  But clothes prices are not too bad. There are two big department stores where you can get most anything you want. They had just unloaded a washing machine, a steam ironing machine and a mangler, something I had not seen for a long time.”

I believe the “big department stores” Miss Lund is referring to (she was from a small farming town) are what I knew as Donnelley and Acheson, then called W. J. Erskine (out on the dock below the Baranof House) and O. Kraft and Son, in the center of town.  In reference to Jean Lund’s account, I wrote originally that I had no idea what a “mangler” was. Then I got an email from Zelanna Copsey, daughter of Bill and Zelma Stone, Superintendents of the Kodiak Baptist Mission from the mid-1940’s to 1970. She told me the item is a "mangle," and is used to press clothes after they have been washed. She saw one in the basement of Doane Cottage when she was a kid. Mystery solved...any other inaccuracies or incomplete details that you spot in these articles will be cheerfully corrected! (Continued below…)

Some Photos of Kodiak from The 1940’s

What people disembarking from an Alaska Steamship vessel would have seen when they disembarked in Kodiak in 1945.

Top: W. J. Erskine (later to be named Donnelley and Acheson), a major store in Kodiak from the war days to the tidal wave, when it was destroyed along with the cannery and the dock it shared. The Erskine store is the building in the top center left with the covered porch, next to the dirt road (portion of a 1941 Helsel photo). Middle: a Helsel photo from Near Island. The dock to the right is where the SS Cordova tied up. Bottom Left: An unpublished Helsel photo of fishing boats tied up in the Kodiak channel. Bottom Right: The Erskine House, which became the Baranof Museum, is just up the hill overlooking the docks (Jean Lund snapshot).

Top: a snapshot from Jean Lund’s scrapbook of the cannery across the bay from the ramp leading to the Orthodox Church.  Above: two ships are tied to the Grimes dock in Ouzinkie.

About the unusual lower photo: Two steamships at once are tied up at the Grimes Packing Company dock in Ouzinkie in this rare photo from Miss Rold’s scrapbook, courtesy the KBM collection.  The ship in the foreground is the SS Cordova, and the ship in the background, with only its bow, a bit of the superstructure, its taller stack and its masts visible, can’t be positively identified, but appears to be a freighter similar to the Alaska Steamship Company’s SS Derblay. Notice that it is high tide; perhaps the larger, dockside ship needed the extra draft.

How to Get to Ouzinkie (Part Two of a Voyage on the SS Cordova)

By Timothy Smith, Originally posted in 2005, latest revision in 2020

Based on the Letters of Miss Jean O. Lund, 1945-46

How to Get to Ouzinkie: The SS Cordova Connection

Part of the “How to Get to Kodiak” series of articles


This short article (as with its companion pieces about civil and military transportation to Kodiak) makes use of rare photos, postcards and memorabilia to chronicle the story of the great old ships of the Alaska Steamship Company, which were the main method of reaching Kodiak and other outlying areas in the years before regular airline traffic.  This photo essay features pictures taken in Kodiak and Ouzinkie when the SS Cordova regularly docked there. Most of the photos are from the 1940’s, but shots from other areas and time periods are used when they fill in the gaps of the story, and are identified as such.  

This article is part two of a steamship voyage from Seattle to Alaska. It starts in Kodiak, ends in Ouzinkie, and then recounts a return voyage to Seattle on a different vessel. Most of the text in these two articles is from a first-hand account of a journey from Seattle to Kodiak and then on to Ouzinkie on the SS Cordova in October of 1945, chronicled by Miss Jean O. Lund, a Baptist missionary traveling to Ouzinkie to work at Baker Cottage.  She was a prolific letter writer, and her colorful account (found in the civil transportation article linked above) gives us a vivid glimpse of a journey aboard the Alaska Steamships.

We are fortunate that Miss Lund kept a scrapbook of her journey, including a collection of maps, brochures, and even ticket stubs, all reproduced here, to take us back to a bygone era, not of cruise ships and luxury, but of aging and austere steamships, plying dangerous waters without modern conveniences like radar and GPS.

Some of the specific company information and data on specific ships comes from the “A Pictorial History of the Alaska Steamship Company” issue of the Alaska Geographic magazine, Vol. 11 No. 4, published in 1984 (although no magazine photos were used).

About the photo: A tiny cachet postcard photograph, barely an inch high, of the SS Cordova in Ouzinkie in the 1940’s  

The SS Cordova, launched in 1912, was the oldest ship in the Alaska Steamship Company’s fleet at the time this remarkable photo was taken. Here she is pictured tied up at the Grimes Packing Company dock in Ouzinkie in this very rare World War II era photo. When I found this item on eBay, I purchased it because it featured a cachet postcard and mail cancellation stamp from the SS Cordova, and I was working on this article about the ship after discovering Miss Lund’s accounts.

The photo, glued to the lower right hand corner of the card, was too small to see when I bid on it (the photo is less than an inch high). Only after I got it under the scanner did I notice the unmistakable mountain outline and the angles of the cannery buildings and realize that it was actually a photo of the SS Cordova at the dock in Ouzinkie, and therefore the perfect lead photo for this article!

The town of Kodiak in 1945

Top: a low view of the town from part way up Pillar Mountain. It is low tide.  Middle photo: A high tide view from the bay looking back towards town. The small boat harbor would not be constructed there until the late 1950’s. Bottom Right: the “cow path” that Miss Lund describes is now near where Rezanoff Drive splits off from Mill Bay Road. Some of the houses up on the side of Pillar Mountain in this early 1940’s are still there! Bottom Left: Same street, but opposite direction. In this photo, the photographer’s position is closer to the Mill Bay / Rezanof split, with the gas station to the far left in today’s time.

Left: Miss Jean O. Lund, the source of most of the photos and artifacts, and also the first-hand voyage account featured in these articles, relaxes at the famous Otherside Beach rock near Ouzinkie in the fall of 1945.  This photo is from the scrapbook of Miss Rold, a Baptist missionary who served as a houseparent at Baker Cottage in Ouzinkie for many years.

Below: Relatives of passengers and staff from the Mission gather on the Erskine dock as the SS Cordova departs. Bottom: The SS Cordova heads out the Kodiak channel to turn around in Saint Paul Harbor and head to Ouzinkie, and Miss Lund’s ticket, with the old spelling of Ouzinkie.

Three prominent Kodiak buildings in 1945:

Top: the newly-constructed Russian Orthodox Church, its front section lacking siding, in a colorized winter shot. Middle Left: one of Miss Lund’s snapshots, Upper Mill Bay Road with the Community Baptist Church at the top of the hill. Middle Right: the church surrounded by vacant land (all houses now). Left: the schoolhouse and a muddy playground.

Miss Lund Departs for Ouzinkie

“The evening before the boat left Kodiak, we boarded the boat where it had been moved, out at the Army base. Going through Kodiak for the last time about 8:00 PM the night before departing, I witnessed a sight I had heard and read about. Five destroyers had docked at the base, and the boys had been allowed shore leave in Kodiak. And did they celebrate! It looked like an invasion of young men, with none too good behavior. Drunks were all over the streets, and when I came through, the officers were herding them into busses and back to the boats.  Such a sight, all those young men out on the town. I shudder to think of it even yet.” This section is one of the few in which Miss Lund seems like an old missionary lady. On the other hand, having seen Kodiak a decade or so later when the fishing fleet was in town “celebrating,” I can vouch for the town’s wild and wooly character in those days!

Miss Lund Arrives in Ouzinkie

“The next morning at 6:00 AM we departed for Ouzinkie.  It took about two hours, and I finally arrived on Spruce Island. The Cordova stayed tied up at the dock until the following morning. There to greet me at the cannery dock was Miss Rold and all twelve of the children who live in Baker Cottage.  They paraded me up the hill to the orphanage, but not before I was introduced to the school teacher, the postmaster, the storekeeper and many of the local native folks. I’m on the island now, but I will have to introduce my family individually in a later letter.  Yours Because His, Jean O. Lund, October 23, 1945.

Miss Lund’s time in Ouzinkie for the winter of 1945 — 46, and many of her photos, are in the Ouzinkie Articles Index called, “The Untold Story of the Fourth Mission,” about some of  the history of Baker Cottage, my parents’ home from 1958 to 2006.

Some Photos of Ouzinkie from The 1940’s

Top: a panorama of the bay at Ouzinkie, in the mid-1950’s, with Ouzinkie Packing Corp. Cannery to the left. Middle: the GPC dock from a boat.

In 1945, the cannery was still the “Grimes Packing Company.” All their seiners had GPC plus a number, and many survived into the 1960’s with those designations.  This cannery existed until destroyed completely in the Tidal Wave of 1964 (See “Tidal Wave Memories of 1964” at the Ouzinkie Articles Index page).

Bottom: a blurry but rare photo of Baker Cottage without its 1951 chapel addition to the left, and its enclosed back porch, which was there by 1958 when we moved in.

Left Photo: Jean O. Lund (left), Mary Setzekorn and Miss Rold on the dock in Ouzinkie, next to a steamship. Miss Lund replaced “Setze” as houseparent at Baker Cottage in Ouzinkie from October 1945 to June 1946.  Most of the photos and memorabilia of the two articles about the SS Cordova are from her collection.

Top Right: Arthur Haakanson is in the foreground, with the store and the superintendent’s house behind him.

Bottom Right: Three young girls, Claudia Laschinsky, Betty Smith, and Tiny Walkoff greet the SS Cordova at the Grimes Packing Company dock in Ouzinkie in 1946 in this photo from Miss Lund’s scrapbook.

For much more of Ouzinkie and of Baker Cottage orphanage, see the combined article: “A Rare Photo Gallery of Old Ouzinkie (1910 — 1950’s),” including “The Untold Story of the Fourth Mission,” at the Ouzinkie Articles Page.

One of Jean Lund’s baggage tags from her 1946 voyage home from Ouzinkie to Powers Lake, North Dakota.


Miss Jean Lund traveled to Alaska in the “wild and wooly” period between the war and Statehood.  She was an open and outgoing soul, and her accounts of interactions aboard ship indicate she could make friends easily. She certainly seems a sweeter person than her severe-looking portrait on Otherside Rock would indicate. Her diary records picnics and playtimes with the kids at the Mission, and she was always doing some fun activity with them. But it had to have been difficult for her to travel from the sedate, prison-like environment of her work with the Japanese-American detainees in the internment camps to take on the responsibilities of running a large orphanage in a remote village in 1940’s Alaska. She was an excellent observer, as per her appreciative 1945 visit with Father Gerasim in Monk's Lagoon. She was also generally more accepting of new cultures and ways than we usually give “old school” missionaries credit for being, except for maybe her Midwestern shock at seeing whole streets full of drunk sailors when she was in Kodiak! In rereading her letters to friends and supporters back home, I was also impressed with her natural Christian witness, whether on board a steamship in the middle of the North Pacific getting to know her shipmates, or “on the mission field” at Baker Cottage in Ouzinkie. Her life seemed to emulate what she said in her typical sign-off line at the end of her many letters: “Yours because His!”

Jean Lund’s letters are a real boon to our understanding of those times, and it’s a pity I never got to meet her. Likewise, it is sad that I never saw one of those rusty old Alaska Steamships, much less had a chance to travel on one. The last passenger vessel under the ASC banner sailed in 1954 to ports in the Southeastern, and by the time I was old enough to be aware of ships and travel, they were long gone. All we have now are accounts from passengers such as Miss Lund, and artifacts, such as those featured in these articles, from her wonderful scrapbooks. But her accounts help to fill in a piece of the history of the Kodiak Island area, and Ouzinkie in particular. Those funky old vessels like the SS Cordova were once the only regularly-scheduled way to get from here to there (Seattle to Kodiak or Ouzinkie to “Outside”).  I hope you have enjoyed these pages, and I welcome any additions or corrections you may have.    

–Timothy Smith, Tanignak.com,

Originally posted 4/2005

Revised and re-posted 2/2020

For more on Kodiak transportation, including much more information on old planes and ships, plus many more historic photos, please follow the links  in the photos below.

To Find Out More About Tanignak.com, Click HERE

To Visit My “About Me” Page, Click HERE

To Return to Tanignak “Home,” Click the Logo Below:

Information from this site can be used for non-commercial purposes with attribution. The text of all the articles on Tanignak.com and TruthTexts.com are copyright 2020 by Timothy L. Smith (see the “About Tanignak.com” link). The photographs are copyright the estate of Rev. Norman L. Smith, or are copyright Timothy L. Smith unless otherwise attributed. Many thanks to the people who have shared their stories and those who have allowed me to use their photographs on Tanignak.com!

Below: an original Alaska Steamship Company mileage map from a 1940’s brochure found in Miss Jean Lund’s scrapbook.