Chomly, Cholmondeley Sound

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Chomly, Cholmondeley Sound

by | Jun 12, 2020

Chomly is an abandoned cannery and settlement on the south shore of West Arm Cholmondeley Sound on Prince of Wales Island, 28 miles (45 km) west-southwest of Ketchikan and 20 miles (32 km) east-northeast of Hydaburg, Alaska. The name was shortened from “Cholmondeley” to “Chomly” when the post office was established in 1900. Cholmondeley Sound is a deep fjord on the east coast of Prince of Wales Island, that extends west from Clarence Strait for 11 miles (18 km). The bay was named by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy on August 21, 1793, for Hugh, Earl of Cholmondeley.

The cannery was built in 1912 by Alaska Pacific Fisheries who were operating 80 purse seines in Cholmondeley Sound by 1914. In 1922 was taken over by Alaska Consolidated Canneries, and in 1929 was sold to Alaska Pacific Salmon Corp. The cannery closed in 1930. A video of Alaska Salmon Canneries in the 1930s is here.

The burgeoning salmon industry in the Pacific Northwest created a demand for labor that was supplied mostly by immigrants. By the 1920s, the Filipino American community was well developed and one notable characteristic was the heavy use of journalism to strengthened their community, and organize to overcome obstacles. A central figure was Victorio A. Velasco, who immigrated to the United States in 1924. Velasco edited, wrote, and published a number of different Filipino community newspapers including the Chomly Spectator. The cannery newsletter was written and edited by Asian cannery workers and published roughly every two weeks. The format was a stack of loose-leaf sheets of paper often featuring a hand-drawn cover. The Chomly Spectator discussed a variety of topics, including relations with white foremen and the expected fish harvest. Read more here and here. Explore more of Chomly and Cholmondeley Sound here:

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