Fort Ross

Jan. 7, 2011


Fort Ross State Historic Park is one of the oldest historical park units in the California State Park System.  Fort Ross is a wonderful place to visit for its outstanding scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and to learn about local, California, or world trade history. This park has been established to benefit the people by preserving, restoring, and interpreting the cultural and natural history of this place, and to make the resources accessible to all people. Today the fort has been partly restored to its former appearance.

Fort Ross was a thriving Russian-American Company settlement from 1812 to 1841. This commercial company chartered by Russia's tsarist government controlled all Russian exploration, trade and settlement in the North Pacific, and established permanent settlements in Alaska and California. Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent, and was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California’s cultural and natural history. Fort Ross was a successfully functioning multi-cultural settlement for some thirty years. Settlers included Russians, Native Alaskans and Californians, and Creoles (individuals of mixed Russian and native ancestry.)

Along with the chapel, the structure of most historical interest at Fort Ross is the Rotchev house, an existing building renovated about 1836 for Alexander Rotchev, the last manager of Ross. It is the only surviving structure. Several other buildings have been reconstructed: the first Russian Orthodox chapel south of Alaska, the stockade, and four other buildings called the Kuskov House, The Officials Barracks, and two corner blockhouses.

The park is 12 miles north of Jenner on Highway One.

Visit www.parks.ca.gov for more information.

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