Creek Street, Ketchikan, Alaska’s Historic Red-Light District

Ketchikan is one of those Alaskan coastal towns where rain is abundant and a steady wave of cruise ships dock. It is nestled at the base of Deer Mountain and the Tongass National Forest.

One popular tourist attraction is Creek Street, a narrow strip of vintage buildings that have been preserved and painted colors brighter than the gray skies that hover over the town. There is no road for cars on this “street,” whose buildings and boardwalk were built atop pilings over Ketchikan Creek.

In July through early September, myriads of salmon can be seen spawning in the creek, and the fish ladder is a must see.

Creek Street was the town’s red-light district where men could buy liquor and companionship. Today, it is lined with gift shops and restaurants.

Dolly's House
Dolly’s House Museum

Dolly’s House museum was the home and of Dolly Arthur, a woman of the night who bought the house in 1919 and used it as her place of business into the 1940s. She lived there until 1973. Visitors can view artifacts and view a secret closet in her bedroom where she stored liquor during Prohibition.

“I guess men thought I was fun and attractive, because I always seemed to have more friends than the other girls on Creek Street,” she said at 88.

Other nearby historic spots include the New York Hotel & Café, 20 Creek Street brothel, Ketchikan Shingle Mill, and more.

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