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Klawock is located on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, on Klawock inlet, across from Klawock Island. It is 56 air miles from Ketchikan, 7 miles from Craig, and 24 miles from Hollis. The population has grown from about 260 recorded in the 1890 census to nearly 860 today.
Early inhabitants were from Tuxekan, a Tlingit winter village to the north. Klawock was used as a summer fishing camp, and has been known as Klawerak, Tlevak, Clevak, and Klawak. The history of Klawock is closely tied to the fishing industry. A trading post and salmon saltery were established in 1868, and the first cannery in Alaska was built here by a San Francisco firm in 1878. Between 1897 and 1917 a salmon hatchery for red salmon operated at Klawock Lake. Two more canneries opened in 1920 and 1924. In 1934 Congress passed the Wheeler Howard Act which made federal funds available to Klawock for cannery operations, but only if residents voted to keep their community free of liquor. At the same time Klawock Cooperative Association was formed as a non-profit organization to own and operate the cannery.
In 1912 Klawock residents established the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood as non-profit organizations. With donations and volunteer labor, residents built the Klawock ANB-ANS hall in 1930. The hall served as a town hall and multi-service/community center. Klawock became an incorporated city in 1929. The post office was established in 1882.
Klawock is a major center of Tlingit culture. Each year the local Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood sponsor the Elizabeth Peratrovich Celebration in February with ceremonies and a potluck. The City also sponsors a week long summer festival "Celebration by the Sea."
Klawock's Totem Park has the largest collection of authentic totem poles in Alaska. The park displays original and replica totems from the old village of Tuxekan. The City, assisted by the village corporation's donation of whole logs, recently built a carving shed to house many of the totem poles during restoration. Visitors are welcome to drop by to see the carvers at work. It is located across the street from the mall.
Klawock is also home to the second oldest hatchery in Alaska. The hatchery enhances the local salmon runs including sockeye (reds), coho (silvers), and steelhead (sea-going rainbow trout). The hatchery is open for tours. Besides fishing, the economy is supported by a local sawmill and area logging operations.
With its own boat launch and harbor, Klawock is an ideal departure point for day trips or extended boating exploration of the bays, inlets and surrounding islands.