Birth of Alaska Tourism

Juneau was only a few years old when Eliza Scidmore first saw it in 1883. (1887 photo, W.H. Partridge Collection, Southern Methodist University)

Steamer "Idaho" in Juneau, 1887

Eliza Scidmore traveled to Alaska in 1883 on the Idaho. Its detour into upper Glacier Bay paved the way to tourism. (1887 photo, Alaska State Library)

Steamer "Idaho" in Juneau, 1887

Captain James Carroll, the Idaho’s commander, named Muir Glacier and became a great booster of Alaska tourism. (Alaska State Library)

Alaska’s dramatic scenery drew camera buffs like these passengers on the Queen. (By I.W. Taber; Bancroft Library, University of California-Berkeley)

Tourists from the City of Topeka go ashore at Muir Glacier. (By Winter and Pond; Alaska State Library)

John Muir, who inspired Eliza Scidmore’s Alaska travels, built a cabin at Muir Glacier as a base for field studies. (By J.F. Morse; National Park Service)

Muir Glacier as seen from an elevation of 1,800 feet. John Muir’s cabin is at lower left. (By Frank LaRoche; National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Co.)

An earthquake in 1899 filled Glacier Bay with ice, bringing tourist stops to a halt for half a century. (E.J. Partridge Collection, University of Washington Libraries)

This mural of Alaska travelers, modeled on a photo, overlooks the present-day wharf in Juneau. (By Diana Parsell)

At the wharf in Juneau, the Alaska cruise industry is very different today. (By Diana Parsell)

In this map of Glacier Bay National Park, Scidmore Bay is at center left, near Reid Glacier. (National Park Service map)

Scidmore Bay kayakers

Kayakers paddle in a shallow tidal channel into Scidmore Bay. (By QT Luong/TerraGalleria)

Scidmore Bay kayakers

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”