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Fort Ross State Historic Park

Area

Overview

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  • Size

    3372.33 acres

Contact Information

Description

Fort Ross State Historic Park brings attention to the varied stories that have occurred here through the centuries, including the long formation of the coastal natural history, the centuries past and present of resident Kashia Pomo people, the Russian colonization periods (1812-1842), the Ranch era (1842-1972), and the over one hundred year era of this area as a protected resource as a State Historic Park. The park's Visitor Center is an excellent place to start a tour of Fort Ross to become acquainted with the rich natural and cultural history of the area.

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.)

Today, the Fort itself consists of several buildings surrounded by stockade walls. The structure of most historical interest is the Rotchev house, an existing building renovated about 1836 for Alexander Rotchev, the last manager of Ross. This is thought to be one of the only remaining original buildings from the Russian period. Several other Russian-era buildings have been reconstructed: the first Russian Orthodox chapel south of Alaska, the stockade, the Kuskov House, the Officials Barracks, the Magazin (Fur Warehouse), and two corner blockhouses. A replica of one of the Russian windmills was also added to the park grounds in 2012.

Following the Russian period, the area was a working ranch with diverse interests in agriculture, livestock, and shipping. Butter and apples were primary exports during the ranch era, and there are tangible relics of this period to be seen at the park today such as the Call House, built in 1878.

Allowed Activities
Boating
Hiking
Scuba Diving
Dog Walking
Rv Camping
Picnicking
Fishing
Snorkeling
Good For
Families

Additional Information