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Kodiak Maritime Museum
Banner photos courtesy Kodiak Historical Society Slifer Collection, 70-167-17-2 Learn Collection, 386-66
Historic Photos of Kodiak
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Thelma C
Thelma C, mid 1990's

Thelma C, Fall 2010
Thelma C, Fall 2010

Jason Harding tapping in screw plugs
Jason Harding tapping in screw plugs

Reconstructed Thelma C
Reconstructed Thelma C, Fall 2012

Thelma C Restoration Project

Every year several old wooden boats abandoned in the Kodiak boat harbor end up as ashes on the beach, burned for unpaid moorage fees. Thanks to efforts by Kodiak Maritime Museum however, the 36 foot salmon seine vessel Thelma C was rescued from the burn pile. Now, with funding from the Alaska State Legislature, the boat will be restored it to its original condition and installed as a permanent outdoor interpretive exhibit near St. Paul Harbor in downtown Kodiak. The boat is currently inside a boat shed at Kodiak College, which has donated work space and shop facilities for the boat rebuilding effort.

Thelma C Restoration Project on KTUU Channel 2 News

In 2012, a team of volunteers led by shipwright Brian Johnson (himself a former owner of the Thelma C) and master woodworker Don Corwin, replaced ribs and planks, rebuilt the mast, and reconstructed the flying bridge from the original ship's plans. Sometime in 2013 the boat will be moved to an exhibit site near Kodiak's Small Boart Harbor, where am open-sided pavilion will be constructed over the boat to protect it from the weather. The mast and rigging will be installed once the boat is on site.

Architectural plans for the exhibit site and pavilion were received from Barnes Architecture in the fall of 2012. Besides the pavilion roof, the plans describe a two level design allowing visitors to view the deck and wheelhouse from one level, and the hull, rudder and propeller from a lower level.

The Thelma C was built in 1965 by Ken Cristoffersen, who was born in Kodiak, and went on to fish for many years out of Valdez. After Ken's original boat, the Christine, was destroyed in the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake and tsunami, he took advantage of a Federal disaster relief loan program to finance the construction of the Thelma C. The Thelma C was fished by Ken and subsequent owners until 2006, when its last working owner, fisherman Mark Thomas, donated it to Kodiak Maritime Museum.

The Thelma C was constructed by Commercial Marine on the shore of Lake Union in Seattle in early 1965, from a design by marine architect William Garden. Hundreds of boats were constructed to replace those lost in the tsunami, but KMM believes the Thelma C is the last surviving example of this historic design.

Using the boat, interpretive panels and a cell phone tour, the Thelma C exhibit will tell the story of Kodiak's salmon fishery and the boat itself through the stories of people who fished on her. The exhibit will also describe the 1964 earthquake and tsunami and how that event changed the fleet and downtown Kodiak forever.

Barring unforeseen complications, KMM hopes to complete the project by early 2014, in time for the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake. The end result will be a beautifully restored wooden vessel combined with historically relevant interpretive elements—a major cultural addition to Kodiak's downtown waterfront.

For more photos of the project, check out our Facebook page and the KMM Blog. For more information or if you'd like to participate in the project, call 907-486-0384 or email .

Exhibit Site

Transverse Section and Longitudinal Section
Transverse and Longitudinal Sections of Thelma C Exhibit
Thelma C Location in Kodiak Small Boat Harbor
Thelma C Location in Kodiak Small Boat Harbor
Aerial View of Thelma C Exhibit Site
Aerial View of Thelma C Exhibit Site

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