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Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church

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  • Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church (Jet Lowe)

The plywood-covered Saint Michael the Archangel Church is a humble shelter for the spectacular icons inside. The icons were obtained from the Russian Orthodox church at Saint Michael on Norton Sound and appear to be among the oldest in Alaska.

Because the Yukon River is so braided at its mouth, Saint Michael served as an important access point to the river. Ocean-going vessels were anchored at Saint Michael, a sheltered harbor. Travelers then portaged over to the Yukon or, later in the nineteenth century, transferred to river-going steamboats for the journey to the river mouth, and up the river. The Russians established a post at Saint Michael in the 1830s and in 1886 built a majestic log church. By the 1950s, that church was abandoned and deteriorating, and the icons were removed to the village of Ohogamiut, just a few miles upriver from Marshall, in 1957.

Named after Woodrow Wilson's first vice president, Marshall was a gold-rush town that experienced its big rush in 1913. The village is now inhabited almost entirely by Eskimos, who have moved in from surrounding villages. Marshall had no Russian Orthodox church before this one was built in 1960; the icons were moved from Ohogamiut at that time.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland



Alison K. Hoagland, "Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church", [Marshall, 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, 272-273.

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