Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Russian Bishop's House

rbh8.gif The Russian Bishop's House is one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. Imperial Russia was the dominant power in the North Pacific for over 125 years. Sitka (known as New Archangel at the time) was the Russian colonial capital. The Bishop's House was completed in 1842 and was the center of Russian Orthodox church authority in a diocese that stretched from California to Siberian Kamchatka. The Church closed the Bishop's House in 1969. The spruce walls had rotted, the roof leaked, and the floors and doorways tilted. It was in danger of collapse. In 1973, the National Park Service obtained the property and began a 16 year project to restore the building to its 1853 appearance. The restored Russian Bishop's House offers visitors a chance to step back into history and feel and understand what it was like to live in Sitka during the Russian-American period. For more information on the Russian Bishop's House, refer to the Alaska Natural History Association's 1992 publication: "The Russian Bishop's House, Sitka, Alaska: Legacy of An Empire, 1842."

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  Slideshow                                                                      House Tour

Go to Gene Ervine's interview to hear him talk about the architecture and resotration of the Russian Bishop's House.