McCarthy, Alaska was not the first town established to support the mining town of Kennicott. The settlement of Blackburn was a town of hopeful workers and businessmen. Because its location was not on the direct route of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway (CRNR), Blackburn did not endure.
McCarthy became the site of the CRNR turnaround station and businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and stores quickly developed.
McCarthy has a very colorful history. Since no gambling or drinking were allowed in the mining town of Kennicott, McCarthy evolved as a diversion for the miners, providing saloons and a red light district. At its peak, McCarthy provided services to the area’s 800 residents. When the mine closed in 1938, McCarthy, like Kennicott, became a ghost town. Unlike Kennicott, however, McCarthy has always had a few hardy souls who have made it their home.
Today, in McCarthy, there is a Historical Museum, two restaurants, a hotel, several guiding companies, a general store, and a gift shop.
The Kennicott Glacier Lodge shuttle van provides complimentary transportation between McCarthy and Kennicott when you arrive and depart. If you want to visit McCarthy during your stay, there is a free shuttle service between the two towns. Information and schedules will be available at the Front Desk.