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Mayflower School

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1933–1934, N. Lester Troast. Saint Ann's and Savikko streets

Across the Gastineau Channel on Douglas Island were the enormously profitable Treadwell Mines. The considerable operations included housing for the workers and even a swimming pool, as well as the stamp mills and mining operations. The mines started closing in 1917, and only ruins remain, but the small town of Douglas survived.

Besides the white Americans who dominated the mining industry, Treadwell had attracted a number of Tlingit Indians in the 1880s to work in the mines. While others moved on, the Indians stayed. In 1933–1934, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs built this Colonial Revival-style Mayflower School, designed by N. Lester Troast, a BIA architect.

Set prominently at the end of Third Street on a sloping site, the school was designed as a community center as much as a school. On the ground floor were a kitchen, recreation room, laundry facilities, and showers, all intended for use by the community. The second floor housed the classroom, library, and facilities for home economics. The attic story had living quarters for the teacher.

Two-and-a-half stories in height on the downhill side, the rectangular clapboard-covered building is enlivened by Colonial Revival doorways, an architectural textbook application on an otherwise ordinary structure. The main entrance, on the long, uphill side of the building, has a scrolled pediment. On one gable end there is a pedimented doorway with fanlight, and on the long, downhill side a segmentally arched pediment. All of the doorways have paneled jambs, but the original doors have been replaced with ill-fitting, modern ones. The fourth side, which has no doorway, has a Palladian window in the gable. Removal of a small bell tower and the shutters has destroyed some of the character of this building. In addition, a set of three windows in the gable end has been removed, impairing the symmetry. But the ornamented doorways remain.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Mayflower School", [Douglas, 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, 179-179.

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