Hollis, Prince of Wales

Hollis, Prince of Wales

by | Oct 12, 2018

Hollis is located about 29 miles (47 km) from Craig by road and 35 miles (56 km) west of Ketchikan by water, on the east side of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. Prince of Wales is the 4th largest island in the U.S., at 135 miles (217 km) long, 45 miles (72 km) wide, and an area of 2,577 square miles (6,674 sq km). The island is almost entirely federal land managed as part of the Tongass National Forest. Historically, logging was the mainstay of the island economy through most of the 20th century, and today an increase in tourism is facilitated by the extensive road network, originally built for the logging companies, that now enable access to different parts of the island for hiking and camping.

The island is a traditional Tlingit territory, and the Tlingit name for the island is Taan, meaning “sea lion”. The Haida migrated into the area in the late 18th century and the island is now the homeland of the Kaigani Haida people. In 1741, Aleksei Chirikov, on Vitus Bering’s second voyage of exploration out of Kamchatka, made the first recorded European landfall on the northwest coast of North America at Baker Island on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. The next European arrival was in 1774 when the Spaniard Juan Pérez led an expedition from La Paz, Mexico in a sailboat only 39 feet (12 m) long. In 1779, a British expedition under Captain James Cook passed Prince of Wales Island, followed in 1786 by Comte de La Perouse leading a French expedition to the area.

Communities on Prince of Wales include Craig that was founded as a saltery in the early 20th century, and Klawock that grew with the fishing industry, and Hollis that was founded in the 1890s as a mining town with a population of over 1,000. Gold and silver were mined nearby from 1900 until about 1915. In 1953, Hollis was a floating logging camp for the Ketchikan Pulp Company, and the town served as the base for timber operations until 1962 when the camp was moved 45 miles north to Thorne Bay. The area was permanently settled through state land sales, and the community now has a population of about 120. Hollis has a ferry terminal connecting the island communities, via an extensive island road network, with Ketchikan. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hollis and Prince of Wales here:

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