Many Alaska towns have totem poles on display, and Petersburg is no exception. There are two located in the downtown area, paying homage to Tlingit ancestors who settled in the area. Alaska natives now comprise about 10% of the local population.
The sky was overcast on the day we visited, so the background was a very unattractive grey color. I performed a little Photoshop magic and added a texture background on this image to make it more interesting.
Each of the totems is 35 feet high and made from red cedar. Tlingit master carver Tommy Joseph completed them in 2000. Mr. Joseph actively works at the Sitka National Historic Park and more of his creations are on display at that location. Here are some of the close-up details of these remarkable pieces of folk art.
When it comes to photography, it is best to expect the unexpected. When I walk along sidewalks, I have a habit of constantly looking down. I have a healthy fear of tripping and falling. So it was a delightful surprise to see something that compelled me to photograph a sidewalk. You read that correctly – a sidewalk!
As a beautification project, the Petersburg city council and arts council installed decorative brass inlays several years ago in their downtown sidewalks. They are very attractive, but some of the residents don't like them because they can be slippery in the winter and have caused some falls. Twenty new medallions (costing $37,000!) with a non-slip finish are currently being installed to replace the older ones.
As I tourist, I’m not mired in the controversy. So I was able to simply walk around and marveled at the designs. It would have been a fun project to go around and photograph a lot of them. But this one will have to suffice. It certainly reflects the Alaska Native heritage!