As we move to the middle of Second Street, the parking lot of the Federal Building, which today is home to the Cordova Ranger District Office, once housed the most “modern” hotel in early Alaska. Built in October 1908, it was called The Burke Hotel after the builder – Miss L. A. Burke.
According to an article in the Aug. 29,1908, issue of the Daily Alaskan,
“It (The Burke) is steam heated and electric lighted throughout, with suites of rooms, each furnished with baths, hot and cold water, and all of the conveniences found in the most modern up to date houses found in the largest cities. This is the 14th hotel Miss Burke will have opened, the unlucky 13th, being the one at Fairbanks that burned to the ground. She has resided in Alaska ten years and came to Cordova in the Spring of 1908.”
Miss Burke sold The Burke Hotel in October of 1910 to L. Christiansen, who renamed it The Windsor. The hotel was known for its interior lobby and dining room, and it even housed a lending library. Later the rooms were converted into apartments until its abandonment and demise in the early 1970s.
As the City of Cordova begins preparations for the revamping of Second Street, the folks at the museum have been assisting the State Office of History and Preservation as well as the Alaska Department of Transportation in researching the historic areas of Second Street. Over the next few months, the Museum will share some of the stories of those buildings we see every day and their unique history.
These photos are from the collection of the Cordova Historical Society. Much of the information for this article was gleaned from the book: From Fish and Copper Cordova’s Heritage and Buildings by Nicki Nielsen.