Klawock, Alaska

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North Pacific Trading and Packing cannery in Klawak, early 20th century
North Pacific Trading and Packing cannery in Klawak, early 20th century
Official seal of Klawock
Site of the First Salmon Cannery in Alaska
Klawock is located in Alaska
Location in Alaska
Coordinates: 55°33′18″N 133°05′07″W / 55.55500°N 133.08528°W / 55.55500; -133.08528Coordinates: 55°33′18″N 133°05′07″W / 55.55500°N 133.08528°W / 55.55500; -133.08528
CountryUnited States
Census areaPrince of Wales-Hyder
IncorporatedOctober 29, 1929[1]
 • MayorDonald Nickerson, Jr. [2]
 • State senatorBert Stedman (R)
 • State rep.Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D)
 • Total0.97 sq mi (2.52 km2)
 • Land0.68 sq mi (1.76 km2)
 • Water0.29 sq mi (0.75 km2)  34.83%
79 ft (24 m)
 • Total755
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,155.65/sq mi (446.31/km2)
Time zoneUTC-9 (AKST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
Zip code
Area code907
FIPS code02-40400
GNIS feature ID1423100

Klawock (Tlingit: Láwaak) is a city in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, in the U.S. state of Alaska, on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, on Klawock Inlet, across from Klawock Island. The population was 755 at the 2010 census, down from 854 in 2000.

It is 90 km (56 mi) from Ketchikan, 11 km (seven mi) from Craig, and 39 km (24 mi) from Hollis.


Klawock's first settlers were Tlingit who came from the northern winter village of Tuxekan. They used it as a fishing camp for the summer period, and called it by several different names: Klawerak, Tlevak, Clevak, and Klawak. The name "Klawock" is derived from the Tlingit name ɬawa:k, a subgroup of the Tlingit nation. In 1853 a Russian navigator referred to the village as "Klyakkhan", and in 1855 as "Thlewakh".[5]

In 1868, European Americans opened a trading post and a salmon saltery; some years later, in 1878, a San Francisco firm opened the first cannery in Alaska. In the following decades, several others were established. A United States post office was established in 1882. The 1890 census recorded the town's population as 260.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS), nonprofit organizations working for civil rights of Alaska Natives, were established by residents in 1912. Its founders and many volunteers built the Town Hall and a community center in 1939, during the Great Depression.

In 1929 the town incorporated as a city, and in 1934 Congress awarded federal funding for the expansion of the cannery, on the condition that the community remain liquor-free. At the same time, the Klawock Cooperative Association (a nonprofit organization) was formed to manage the cannery.

Notable people[edit]

  • Frank Peratrovich, then-mayor of Klawock and later president of the ANB, became one of the 55 delegates to the Alaska Constitutional Convention in 1955.
  • Both he and his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Peratrovich, president of the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS), worked in the 1940s on anti-discrimination legislation. She is credited with gaining Senate approval in 1945 due to her passionate testimony about the effects of discrimination. The state has recognized her contribution, naming February 16 and Gallery B of the State Capitol in her honor.


Klawock is located at 55°33′18″N 133°5′7″W / 55.55500°N 133.08528°W / 55.55500; -133.08528 (55.554961, -133.085139).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), of which, 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (34.83%) is water.


Klawock has a warm summer humid continental/oceanic climate. Average temperature in January is 1.9 °C (35.5 °F), and 13.8 °C (57.5 °F) in July; yearly precipitation is 234 cm (92.4 in).

Climate data for Klawock, Alaska (averages from 1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 40
Average low °F (°C) 31
Source: https://www.weatherforyou.com/reports/index.php?forecast=pass&pass=normals&zipcode=99925&place=klawock&state=ak&country=us&hwvRMon=Jan


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)787[4]4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

Klawock first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Tlingit village of "Klawak." It continued to report as Klawak in 1890–1910, with the alternative spelling of "Klawock" first appearing in the latter census. In 1920, it was reported exclusively as Klawock. In 1929, it was officially incorporated.

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 854 people, 313 households, and 215 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,465.4 people per square mile (568.5/km2). There were 368 housing units at an average density of 631.4 per square mile (245.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 40.98% White, 50.94% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.12% from other races, and 7.38% from two or more races. 1.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 313 households, out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 30.1% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 124.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 134.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,000, and the median income for a family was $38,839. Males had a median income of $38,977 versus $23,036 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,621. About 13.6% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.

Local features and attractions[edit]

Klawock has the oldest hatchery in Alaska. This industry enhances the runs of salmon, including sockeye, coho, and steelhead. A sawmill and area logging operations are located here.

Klawock has a harbor, often used by tourists as a departure point for trips or boating exploration of the bays, inlets, and surrounding islands.

Each February 16, the ANB/ANS organizations sponsor the "Elizabeth Peratrovich Celebration" with ceremonies and a potluck, honoring the anniversary of passage of the landmark legislation. The city also sponsors a summer festival, the "Celebration by the Sea."

A Totem Park has 21 totem poles, one of the largest collections in Alaska: it displays original and replica totems from the old village of Tuxekan. The city built a carving shed to house the poles during restoration, which can be visited. In 1998 the city commissioned construction of a Long House (named Gaanì Ax Adi) with a new totem pole.

Law and government[edit]

There is a mayor and a council, but the city is not located in any borough. The local government manages the water, wastewater, refuse collection, trailer court, landfill, boat harbor, liquor store, and boat ramp utilities. There is a local sales tax of 5.5%, which 0.5% is devoted to education, and no property tax.

There are four full-time police officers. There is also a volunteer fire department with 27 members, an EMS squad of 6-8 trained volunteers, and a search and rescue office (serving all of Prince of Wales Island) with 57 members.


There is a school with grades K-6 and a high school with grades 7-12 both administered by the Klawock City School District[permanent dead link]. On average, 200 students are enrolled yearly. The Head Start school (three- to four-year-olds) is run by the Tlingit and Haida Central Council.



The 5,000 foot and paved Klawock Airport is the only airport on Prince of Wales Island and serves as the air transport gateway for nearby Craig as well. It receives charters and daily scheduled passenger service from Ketchikan from Island Air Express. Alaska Seaplanes provides flights from Juneau and Sitka.


Ferry service is available through the Inter-Island Ferry Authority from either Prince of Wales Island communities of Hollis (M/V Prince of Wales, with service to Ketchikan) or Coffman Cove (M/V Stikine, with service to Wrangell or Petersburg) which are both accessible through Prince of Wales' road system.


  1. ^ 1996 Alaska Municipal Officials Directory. Juneau: Alaska Municipal League/Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. January 1996. p. 82.
  2. ^ 2015 Alaska Municipal Officials Directory. Juneau: Alaska Municipal League. 2015. p. 88.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

External links[edit]