A boatload of razor clams, dug by hard-working Cordovans, is unloaded at the cannery. These photos are from the collection of the Cordova Historical Society.

Continuing on with some clamming history: The first two Cordova plants prepared a total pack of 11,176 standard cases of 48 ten-ounce cans, thus heralding the commencement of the Alaska razor clam industry.

In 1919, the Surf Packing Company began operations at Snug Harbor on the west side of Cook Inlet, followed in 1923 by the Hemrick Packing Company at Kukak Bay on the Alaska Peninsula and the Alitak Packing Company on Kodiak Island. 

In Cordova, records were being established. In 1916, 35 diggers dug 429,846 pounds of clams, and in the following year – which was the peak for the industry – 3.5 million pounds of razor clams were dug up by 135 diggers.

By 1930, Alaska razor clam production continued to gain steadily. However, the digging was so heavy in the Cordova district that the season closed June 25 instead of July 15. Despite the early closure, the market remained firm and Cordova was known as the “Razor Clam Capital of the World” and generated over half the clam pack produced for the entire United States.