Alaska’s historical monuments can provide education, understanding, and an intimate experience of Alaska as a living heritage. From archaeological sites to historic buildings, there are endless opportunities for discovery!
These 114 beach ridges provide an intriguing chronological account of human habitation over more than 5,000 years and are designated a National Historic Landmark.
Baranof Castle State Historic Site, both a National Historic Landmark and state park, can be found atop Castle Hill in Sitka’s charming little town, one of the best historical monuments in Alaska. This rugged outcrop has served as home for both Tlingit and Russian forts; Alaska was officially handed over to the US at this point in 1867. Additionally, this park contains totem poles made from native Sitka spruce trees carved with intricate patterns.
Castle Hill was initially called Noow Tlein by the Tlingit people before its colonization by the Russian-American Company and their settlers. Because its high point made it ideal as the headquarters and seat of government in Russian America. A two-story Governor’s House was even constructed there in 1836.
As part of its acquisition of Russia in the 1850s, the United States assumed control of the Alaska administration including military posts in Sitka. At this point in time, Castle Hill saw its inaugural 49-star American flag raised to represent Alaska and America.
There are multiple ways to reach Castle Hill & Totem Square (Castle Hills (Sitka, Alaska)). Over 1.5 million users trust Moovit as their go-to transit app. Use its route planner feature to quickly find bus, train, or ferry times leading directly to Castle Hill & Totem Square (Castle Hills (Sitka, Alaska). Plan ahead and save money with transportation costs!
Kennecott Mines and Mill Town are an iconic National Historic Landmark located within Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park & Preserve that tells America’s copper story. These incredible abandoned copper mining operations and ghost towns serve as testaments to our nation’s ingenuity and resilience during a time when America needed copper desperately for industry growth.
Kennecott Mill Town was constructed by Kennecott Copper Corporation. Originally, these massive barn-red structures served to process ore transported via aerial tramway from further up in the mountains; later they also housed mining operations, power plants, and general offices of their company. Their colors weren’t chosen haphazardly – red was chosen because it offered maximum cost efficiency in painting the buildings.
Transporting ore from the Wrangell Mountains was no small undertaking; to get it from their remote and rugged setting to Cordova for shipping to Tacoma, Washington for smelting required hiring Michael J. Heney a master railroad builder who had completed White Pass & Yukon Railroad to oversee construction of Copper River and Northwestern Railway which took four years of hard labor in extreme temperatures to build its 196-mile route through the Alaskan wilderness.
At its height, the mine and mill employed hundreds of people. Beyond mining operations alone, an entire company town existed with a hospital, store, school, skating rink/ball field complex as well as library/recreation hall facilities.
Totem Bight State Historical Park
With stunning views of Tongass Narrows, this park’s 14 totem poles and clan house represent historic Alaska Native villages, making up one of the most impressive historical monuments in Alaska. Visitors can learn about Alaska Native culture while discovering nature’s bounty; here can be found wolves, black bears, eagles, whales, sea otters, salmon, and halibut!
As non-native settlements began to spread throughout Alaska in the early 1900s, Native Alaskans left their villages in search of work. Soon afterward, however, forests overtook and weather eroded many totem poles erected by these Natives; their villages and totem poles fell victim to Mother Nature and erosion. Luckily in 1938, the U.S. Forest Service used Civilian Conservation Corps funds to hire skilled carvers from among older Native populations; using this program they salvaged and rebuilt these massive cedar monuments; many damaged totems had either been repaired or replicated over time. The project proved a great success resulting in totem poles either being repaired or replicated altogether!
At Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan, visitors must experience its 14 totem poles. Each one tells its own tale about locals and animals – Duktoothl’s statue with a weasel skin hat was most famous, showing his strength by toppling a sea lion! You’ll also spot carvings depicting Raven who appears throughout the park.
Walking is the ideal way to explore the park. Start at Clan House before following a path that leads you past each totem – this trail takes about an hour and makes an ideal family outing!
The Bishop’s House
Alaska landmarks provide visitors with both historical and aesthetic insight into this state’s evolution. One notable landmark is Castle Hill, as it marks where Russia handed Alaska over to America – it also served as the location where America raised its first flag over Alaska officially welcoming it as part of the 49th state of the US.
The Bishop’s House in Alaska is another Alaska historic landmark worth visiting, located only two hours from Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and housing religious artifacts and historical artifacts of significance to Russian culture in Alaska. Built-in 1840 and managed by Orthodox Church in America since 1925. Additionally, this church houses icons, religious artifacts, and historical objects of significance to both community members and the Orthodox faith alike.
Kennicott Historic Camp: Once home to an active mining industry, now preserved by the National Park Service for tours by National Park Service rangers and preservation efforts by National Park Service volunteers. Additionally, you can visit a museum housed within an old Anderson House that once belonged to one of Kennicott’s prominent businessmen; here you’ll find furnishings belonging to them as well as historical photographs and memorabilia from this home’s residents as well as historic photographs and memorabilia that represent this unique part of Alaska history.