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Bishop's House

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1882, Mooser and Pissis
  • Bishop's House (Alison K. Hoagland)
  • Bishop's House (Alison K. Hoagland)

Located about 150 feet northwest of the Holy Ascension Church, the Bishop's House is a small dwelling, unusual in Unalaska for its Victorian trim and variety of form. The house, commissioned by Bishop Nestor, was constructed by the Alaska Commercial Company. Part of Bishop Nestor's campaign to provide housing for his clergy, this residence was also built to be used by the San Francisco-based bishop in his visits to the western part of the district. With Italianate detailing popular in San Francisco at that time, the building was designed by the San Francisco architectural firm of Mooser and Pissis.

The wood-framed house has a two-story, hip-roofed main block, containing two rooms on each floor, with a central stairway. On each side is a one-story, hip-roofed section with two rooms, for a total of eight. The house differs somewhat from the architectural drawings. Although the drawings show a squared-off plan, the two-story section has semihexagonal ends, increasing the variety of the surfaces. Also in a departure from the drawings, the entrance is in the center, directly into a room designated as the parlor on the plan, rather than into a room in the wing. The bracketed cornice has wreaths in the fascia board, and the doorway has a bracketed hood. The novelty siding is painted gray with white trim.

Although it now stands virtually alone, accompanied only by a small outbuilding, the Bishop's House was one of several buildings near the church. Between the Bishop's House and the church was a customs house. West of the Bishop's House, a 30-foot-square school building was built at the same time as the house; it was extended, in about 1893, and finally joined to the Bishop's House. Farther west was the Alaska Commercial Company store.

In 1960 the school building was destroyed in a fire that also damaged the Bishop's House. Restoration of the house began in 1976, but work on the interior is not yet completed.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "Bishop's House", [Unalaska, 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, 293-294.

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