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Father Duncan's Cottage

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The most notable house in town is Father Duncan's Cottage, now a museum honoring the founder of Metlakatla. Built for Father William Duncan by his Tsimshian followers, the house is a one-story, gable-fronted cottage measuring approximately 36 feet by 30 feet. Across the front, four pilasters support an architrave that defines the low pediment, in which is a curious fleur-de-lis ornament. A small entrance vestibule, looking like an afterthought, protrudes from the center of the front. The wood-framed building is covered with novelty siding.

The interior is divided into eight rooms, without halls. Two large rooms are in the middle, front and back, with pilastered fireplaces sharing a chimney. The walls are vertical beaded boards, and the ceiling follows the slope of the gable roof, creating a spacious interior. On each side of these public spaces are three small rooms, entered through doors with large transom windows.

The kitchen, located in an ell, was entirely rebuilt when the building was restored in 1972–1975. It now serves as offices for the museum. The house is open to the public, and full of Father Duncan's possessions, including books and clothing. This unusual building once housed an unusual man.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Father Duncan's Cottage", [Metlakatla, 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, 207-208.

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