Port William is an embayment about 0.2 miles (.32 km) across on the southern coast of Shuyak Island, between Port Lawrence to the west and Daylight Harbor to the east, 88 miles (142 km) southwest of Homer and 50 miles (81 km) north of Kodiak, Alaska. The local name was published by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the 1920’s.
Port William was a herring saltery prior to 1930, operated by S. Sklaroff and Sons. In 1930, it began salmon canning operations as the Port William Packing Company. Fish traps and purse seines were prohibited in the Shuyak Island area, and the fish were caught from beach seines and gillnets operated by local fishermen. After a poor season, the facility sat idle until 1934 when the Washington Fish and Oyster Company leased the cannery. In 1935, Washington Fish and Oyster purchased the cannery at a U.S. Marshal’s sale and in 1940, a cold-storage facility was installed. In 1941, coho salmon, herring, and halibut were frozen there. Washington Fish and Oyster stopped canning after the 1966 season but continued operating as a cold storage facility. After the 1976 season some of the equipment was salvaged and the cannery was sold to Kodiak area commercial fishermen.
Today, Port William operates as the Port William Wilderness Lodge. Remnants of the nearly 100 year old cannery remain and one building houses the lodge fish and game cleaning facilities. On February 28, 2018, the dock was damaged during a storm resulting in an oil spill. Read more here and here. Explore more of Port William here: