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Saint Mark's Episcopal Church

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1907; 1955, moved to present location and rebuilt. Front and Market streets

Saint Mark's, a log church measuring 22 feet by 28 feet, was built in 1907 at the site of a mission 1 mile upriver. About 1955 it was moved to its present site, where it sits at a slight angle to the intersection, and was probably largely rebuilt at the same time. Nonetheless, the log construction, gable front, and bell tower so favored by the Episcopalians are preserved. Although log construction was not necessary—sawn lumber being readily available—the logs gave the church a picturesque appearance, at the same time being exotic enough to appeal to potential donors in the Lower 48. The gable-roofed church is constructed of logs sawn flat on top and bottom, saddle notched at the corners, ends projecting. The Gothic windows have stained glass. At the front of the shake-covered roof is a pyramidal-roofed open belfry.

The Episcopal mission was founded a distance from the Native village, on the opposite side of the river, in order to segregate the pupils from the negative influences of the village. The Episcopal church built a boarding school that attracted some forty Natives from the region. With the “usual inducement” of doors and windows, Natives moved near to the mission and created a “proper village,” in Rev. Hudson Stuck's words. When the Alaska Engineering Commission platted a townsite a mile away, Stuck expressed concern that the influences of a railroad town were even more nefarious than those of a Native village. Stuck requested the Alaska Engineering Commission to move the mission and surrounding village to a new site, but they declined. Ironically, after the closing of the boarding school in 1955, the church was moved into the railroad town that Stuck so deplored.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Saint Mark's Episcopal Church", [Nenana, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 230-231.

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