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The History of Thorne Bay, Alaska


Thorne Bay, Alaska - a Community Guide

    Thorne Bay is 38 air miles northwest of Ketchikan on the eastern side of Prince of Wales Island. On the Island road system, it lies 59 miles from Hollis and 36 miles east of the Klawock Junction. It lies at approximately 54 41' N Latitude, 132 31' W Longitude (Sec. 12, T071S, R084E, Copper River Meridian). The community is located in the Ketchikan Recording District. The area encompasses 19 sq. miles of land and 5 sq. miles of water.

    The Bay was named after Frank Manley Thorn, superintendent of the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey from 1885 through 1889. The name was misspelled when published. Thorne Bay was developed as a result of a long-term timber sales contract between the U.S. Forest Service and the Ketchikan Pulp Company. In 1960, a floating logging camp was built in Thorne Bay, and in 1962 a shop, barge terminal, log sort yard and camp were built to replace facilities at Hollis. Roads were then constructed to connect Thorne Bay with Hollis, Craig and Klawock. During this time, it was considered the largest logging camp in North America. Thorne Bay evolved from a company-owned logging camp to an incorporated city by 1982, due in part to the land selection program provided for in the Alaska Statehood Act.


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History and map graphic used with permission from the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development