Sitka, Alaska – Official Purchase Place Of Alaska From Russia
By: Courtney Dowd-Stanley
Sitka, Alaska is a hidden gem found in Southeast Alaska and a truly must-see place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. The rich history and cultural charm found here, nestled against the scenic shores of the Alaska panhandle, is undeniably breathtaking. Top all that off with the lush temperate rain-forest known as the Tongass National Forest that surrounds you, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re on an instant vacation upon arriving.
With a population just under roughly 9,000 residents, Sitka has a small town vibe with warm hospitality and spectacular vistas. Vast views of the 3,200-ft Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano, beam from Sitka city streets on a clear day. Other gorgeous mountain peaks on Sitka include Mt Ada, Mt Bassie, Hirst Mountain, Mt Kolloen, and Mt Dranishnikof.
Sitka’s remote location situated on the west side of Baranof Island and the south half of Chichagof Island, in the Pacific Ocean’s Alexander Archipelago.
One of the most beloved attractions here is Fortress of the Bear, the admirable Alaska animal sanctuary providing a safe haven for orphaned bears.
The Sitka Raptor Center is another amazing, unique attraction here.
Rich culture is found here…
Sitka was originally settled by the Tlingit people over 10,000 years ago.
In the Battle of Sitka in 1804, the Russians defeated the local Tlingit Kiksadi clan and the town became known as New Archangel. It was then that this area was designated as the capital of Russian America.
But it wouldn’t last for too long! 63 years late in 1867, the United States of America bought Alaska for only 2¢ an acre from Russia.
The official signing location of the Alaska Purchase, was right here in Sitka. It then became Alaska’s capital city until the year 1906 when the capital of Alaska was moved to nearby Juneau.
The transfer price was $7.2 million which is roughly $120 million in today’s day and age(dollars).
You might be surprised to learn that Sitka is the largest incorporated city in the entire United States, with a total area of 4,811 square miles.
Sitka has a weather pattern unlike anywhere else in Alaska. It’s annual snowfall is only about 33 inches. On average Sitka only has about 5 days per year where temps hit 70º or higher. On the flip side, only around 10 days per year does the temp get below freezing. Sounds pretty tropical compared to a lot towns in Alaska.
Sitka is the 6th largest seafood port (by value) in the entire United States. Most residents here make their living in some aspect of the seafood industry.
Off the grid! Sitka, Alaska is only accessible by boat or plane. While the trek isn’t the most convenient option, the natural beauty found here is well worth the trip!
Have you even visited the supremely scenic town of Sitka, Alaska? We’d love to know about your favorite memories and what you loved most about being here!
Looking for another great read? If you love Alaska’s idyllic charm, check out these 11 charming Alaska small towns that’ll leave you wanting more. Buckle up and prepare to enjoy: Road-Trippin’ Alaska; Your perfect way to escape the crowds in 2020. Also, for all those mastering the art of “social distancing” you’ll enjoy America’s least-visited National Park located right here in Alaska.