Prince of Wales Locations

What Happened in Craig

The Investor murders and their aftermath took place across ten distinct locations on Prince of Wales Island. With the exception of Ben’s Cove, which is accessible only by boat, and the Hollis Ferry, which is best reached by road, these locations are centered within a few square miles, and all within walking distance. We start with the village of Craig which, in 1982, had a population of about 500.

Craig Downtown: Downtown Craig is really small. Really, really, small. The landmarks are all very close together. Today there are three of them. In 1982, there were four, counting Ruth Ann’s restaurant. The restaurant is gone now, taken by fire.

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Craig Downtown
left to right: JT Brown (left of photo); Hill Bar (brown bldg) and The Craig Inn (pink)
(copyright Leland E. Hale)

Hill Bar: One of two bars popular with commercial fishermen. Downtown Craig is visible from the bar. The pedestrian walkway in front of the bar is where troopers first interviewed John Peel, later one of several suspects in the murders.

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Hill Bar & Liquor, with updated sign (copyright Leland E. Hale)

JT Brown: The dry-goods store that serves both sport and commercial fishing in Craig. It’s living testimony to the importance of fishing in Craig.

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JT Brown dry goods (copyright Leland E. Hale)

Floatplane dock: At the time of the murders, there were only two ways out of Craig — by floatplane or by boat. Checking these locations was critical. There’s now a third option, that being wheeled planes out of the Klawock airport.

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Old & New Floatplane docks (copyright Leland E. Hale)

Craig North Cove: On the night of the homicides, the Investor was rafted up to two other seiners at North Cove. This photo shows just how close these boats are when they’re rafted up. The killer(s) would have to cross two boats to get to the Investor, which was the third boat out. How does that happen and no one notices? 

Purse Seiners rafted up in Craig (w/ four boats)
(copyright Leland E. Hale)

Cold Storage dock: The Investor skiff was seen coming toward the Cold Storage dock on the day before — and the day of — the fire. Multiple witnesses saw the skiff operator at the Cold Storage dock. At the time, they weren’t looking for a killer. That came later.

Cold Storage dock from North Cove (copyright Leland E. Hale)

Craig South Cove: South Cove dock is where Trooper Bob Anderson parked his personal boat. It’s the boat he took to the fire. It is significant because it did not provide a direct route to Ben’s Cove. Anderson had to take a circuitous route around Craig instead.

South Cove near entrance (copyright Leland E. Hale)

Fish Egg Island: Witnesses could see smoke coming from the vicinity of Fish Egg Island, but they couldn’t see into Ben’s Cove where the Investor was moored. There’s a small sliver of daylight between Fish Egg Island and the smaller Cole Island, but that’s all.

Fish Egg Inland from Craig (with Cole Island)
(copyright Leland E. Hale)

Ben’s Cove Viewpoint: The killer(s) had to determine whether the attempt to sink the Investor was successful. With it anchored at Ben’s Cove, it was not visible from Craig. Instead, one has to travel about two miles toward Klawock to get a straight-on view into Ben’s Cove. The bad news: it hadn’t sunk [1].

Ben’s Cove viewpoint, two miles from Craig
(copyright Leland E. Hale)

Hollis Ferry Landing: In 1982, one could also leave Prince of Wales via the ferry from Hollis. It’s thirty miles or so across the island from Craig. [Note that the boat, and the service, have changed since then, with the advent of the Interisland Ferry Service. But the dock is in the same place.]

Hollis Ferry Dock (copyright Leland E. Hale)

[1] I say “bad news” because had the vessel sunk instead of burned, the crime scene would likely be more intact. At the very least, investigators would quickly learn the number and identity of victims. With the fire, they instead spent many years trying to account for everyone.

BONUS LOCATIONS: Hollis Anchorage, the location of the Domenowske-Page house. And video highlights of our recent journey to Prince of Wales. Props to head librarian Angela Matthews at the Craig Library.



Copyright Leland E. Hale, all rights reserved (2019)


Craig

Order “What Happened In Craig,” HERE and HERE. True crime from Epicenter Press about Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder.

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