The nomadic Eyak people were the first to settle in the Cordova area. It served as a trade center for the various tribes of the region. From then to now, a lot has changed in Cordova, but its location has always been key. In 1889, commercial fishermen built the first cannery in Cordova. The city really boomed when It was chosen as the end of the railway line to connect Kennecott copper mines to the north. All of this history and more can be experienced at the Cordova Historical Museum and the Ilanka Cultural Center Museum. The Cordova Historical Museum covers local marine life, early history from the railroad days and a three-seat bidarka (kayak) made from spruce pine and sealskin. There is also an exhibit dedicated to the beloved ice worm.
The Ilanka Cultural Center exhibits all the prehistoric, historic and contemporary indigenous history of the area with artifacts found around Prince William Sound and Copper River Delta, including a whale skeleton hanging in the lobby.
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