Last updated: June 19, 2020
The Russian-American Co. in Alaska
A rare example of a Russian-American colony structure, Building No. 29 is one of the few structures extant that bears witness to Russian colonial ventures in present-day U.S. territory. A finely crafted, vernacular log building covered with siding from Sitka's first years as a seat of government in the period following the purchase of Alaska by the U.S. in 1867.
Building No. 29 was built in 1852 by The Russian American Company in order to provide living accommodations for Company employees. Its construction was typical for the Russian period with a two story hewn log structure on a stone foundation, a high attic space, and a high pitched gable roof with tiled covering and a two story entrance gallery, or seni, on the east side of the main unit. The main part of the building was nearly square, with all sides measuring approximately four sazhens (28 feet) in length. The logs were grooved on the bottoms to fit over one another, and dovetailed at the corners.
Structural changes to the Russian-American Co. Building No. 29 took place both in its historic period and in recent years. Substantial changes took place during the mid-1800s. Photographs from 1887 show that a two-story addition was constructed on the east side of the gallery. The gable roof of the original building was extended horizontally to cover the gallery and the addition. Four dormers were evenly spaced across the roof front. More contemporary alterations include a new entrance on the northern corner of the building. Today, visitors can view a section of the exterior log wall which displays the original hand hewn logs, nails, and identification markings.