OHMERs in Petersburg, Alaska
Earl Nicholas OHMER was born in Dayton, Ohio 17 Nov, 1882. In the early 1900s, he worked on a ranch breaking horses in eastern Oregon. He was the first Ohmer to call Petersburg home in 1914 when the town was in its infancy. In 1916 Earl Ohmer established the Alaskan Glacier Sea Food Company – the first and last remaining shrimp processing plant in the state of Alaska.
Earl arrived in Alaska with the aim of starting the first shore-based shrimp processing plant. His future investments included: additional fish processing plants, gold mines, mink and fox farms, and extensive real estate.
Earl also gave his time to public service as a multi-term mayor of Petersburg and over 20 years as the chairman of Alaska Territorial Fish and Wildlife Commission. His mark remains in many ways with conservation laws he passed still protecting Alaska’s natural resources, and regional water ways bearing his name. The original shrimp plant he established is the last remaining shrimp producer in the state, more than 85 years after it began.
Through the Depression, World War II, and the transition of Alaska from a territory into statehood the Ohmers contributed to a growing Petersburg. When Earl died in 1955, his son Dave took over as President of Alaska Glacier Sea Food. Dave also served on the hospital board for 25 years and as a multi-term President of the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.
Dave’s wife, Gloria collaborated with Patti Ohmer-Norheim to form “The Cache” a general merchandise store that had everything needed to raise a family, run a business, or have a hobby in a small Alaskan town. Patti and Gloria’s successful association at “The Cache” continued after the business sold when they focused their efforts on property management.
Gloria became the center of the Ohmer family business when her husband, Dave, died in 1979. She later purchased the Tides Inn Motel as a partner and within a few years became its sole proprietor. The Tides Inn grew and expanded under Gloria’s leadership. Her warm personality and gracious hospitality has become legend with Tides Inn guests, many of whom have become close friends.
The Ohmer family history reflects their love of the local environment, great pride of community, and the desire to share the beauty and uniqueness of Petersburg with those who have interest in the area.