Area: 45.3 square miles
Population: 2,308 (2000 census)
Copper was discovered in Kennecott Mountain near neighboring Kennicott in 1900. McCarthy has a "black sheep" past. Alcohol and prostitution were forbidden in Kennicott, and McCarthy provided those services to the miners.
It grew quickly into a major town with a gymnasium, a hospital, a school, a bar and a brothel. The Copper River and Northwestern Railway reached McCarthy in 1911.
In 1938 the copper deposits in Kennicott Mountain were mostly gone, the railroad discontinued service and the and the town was abandoned. Over its 30-year operation, U.S. $200 million in ore was extracted from the mine, making it the richest concentration of copper ore in the world.
The population of McCarthy and Kennicott fell to zero until the 1970s, when the area began to be developed as a tourist destination and a few people moved to McCarthy to provide tourist services. There was always at least one family living in the McCarthy area from 1953 to the present day.
The old mine buildings, artifacts, and colorful history attract visitors during the summer months. The Kennicott and McCarthy area ranks as one of the United States's most endangered landmarks by the National Trust for Historic Places. Emergency stabilization of the old buildings has been done and more will be required.
Wrangell Mountain AirPO Box MXY, #25 · McCarthy · Alaska · 99588 · 907-554-4411
Alaska air taxi, backcountry trips, Alaska flightseeing and base camping trips, Alaska backpacking trips and scheduled flights between Chitina and McCarthy.