Anything you want to know about Cordova you can find out at the Cordova Chamber of Commerce (404 1st St., 907/424-7260, www.cordovachamber.com, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. year-round). Also stop by the Chugach National Forest Cordova Ranger District office (2nd Ave., 907/424-7661, www.fs.fed.us/r10/chugach) for local maps, handouts, and info on cabins and trails.
The Cordova Historical Museum (622 1st St., 907/424-6665, www.cordovamuseum.org, Thurs.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 1–5 p.m. summer, Tues.–Sat. 1–5 p.m. the rest of the year, $1) is in the Centennial Building. This museum is small but packed with artifacts, including an old Linotype, an ancient slot machine, a three-seat baidarka, and an amusing exhibit on Cordova’s famous Iceworm Festival. Look for the aerial views of earthquake damage to the Million Dollar Bridge. The 30-minute Cordova Story is shown daily.
Next door is the Cordova Library (907/424-6667, www.cordovalibrary.org, Tues.–Fri. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sat. 1–5 p.m.), a good place to read, rest, check your email (free Wi-Fi), and meet fellow travelers.
Many buildings around town were built during Cordova’s original construction in 1908, including, on 1st Street, the Alaskan Hotel and Cordova House, as well as the Red Dragon, the oldest building in town, which served weekdays as a rowdy clubhouse but on Sundays became a church when the altar was let down by ropes from the beams. Pick up the historic walking-tour map at the museum for a complete list of the old buildings.
Adjacent to the harbor, the Ilanka Cultural Center (110 Nicholoff Way, 907/424-7903, www.ilankacenter.org, Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. summer, Tues.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. winter, donation) houses a small collection of Eyak Native pieces—both prehistoric and modern—as well as a fine gift shop and a workshop space; but the real attraction is the killer whale skeleton that hangs along the entryway, one of just five in the world.
Located at the harbor entrance, the Prince William Sound Science Center (907/424-5800, www.pwssc.org, Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) is a scientific facility for research and education on the regional ecosystem. There are no exhibits to speak of, but you may want to stop by with questions about the Exxon Valdez spill and how it has affected Prince William Sound, or just to enjoy the view from the waterfront deck.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition