History & Culture
Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska's oldest federally designated park, was established as a federal park in 1890. It became a national monument in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka fought between the Tlingits and the Russians. All that remains of this last major conflict between Europeans and natives of the Northwest Coast is a clearing at the site of a Kiks.ádi Fort.
A classic combination of Northwest Coast totem poles and temperate rain forest are combined on the scenic coastal trail within the park. Alaska's District Governor John G. Brady brought a collection of totem poles to Sitka in 1905. These histories carved in cedar were donated by Native leaders from villages in southeast Alaska. Many poles exhibited along the park's two miles of wooded pathways are replicas of the original totem poles.
The visitor center contains ethnographic exhibits and houses the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, where visitors can watch Native artists at work.
The park's story continues at the Russian Bishop's House, one of the last surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. This original 1843 log structure conveys the legacy of Russian America through exhibits, refurbished living quarters and the Chapel of the Annunciation.
Did You Know?
The transfer of Alaska from Russia took place in Sitka. On October 18, 1867, the Russian flag was lowered on Castle Hill, home of Alaska's Russian governors, the American flag was raised, and a brief exchange of statements completed the transfer of Alaska to the United States.