You are here

Place-based Essays

Essays in SAH Archipedia are broadly grouped as either place-based or thematic. Place-based essays include overviews of architecture in specific U.S. states and cities. Thematic essays examine architectural and urban issues within and across state and regional boundaries. Like individual building entries, essays are accompanied by rich subject metadata, so you can browse them by style, type, and period. SAH Archipedia essays are comprised of peer-reviewed scholarship (born-digital and print-based) contributed by architectural historians nationwide.

Ketchikan

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Poised on the Tongass Narrows, at the site of a Tlingit fish camp, Ketchikan first attracted whites in 1887; the lure was both salmon and gold. With a population of 459 in 1900, Ketchikan was incorporated as a city, and by 1940 it was the second largest city in Alaska, with a population...

Metlakatla

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Father William Duncan, a Church of England lay missionary, arrived in Port Simpson, British Columbia, in 1857, where he began an extraordinary career among the Tsimshian Indians. Requiring absolute devotion from his followers, he established a new community, Metlakatla, where he...

Interior

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Interior Alaska includes the eastern part of the state drained by the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. Located between the Alaska Range on the south and the Brooks Range on the north, the lowlands and rolling hills of the Interior are divided by streams and rivers. Because of the discontinuous...

Fairbanks

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Fairbanks might have been just another gold-rush boomtown had it not been for several actions by the federal government. James Wickersham's decision to locate the Third District Court here in 1903 was pivotal; it also caused Wickersham to make Fairbanks his home, and he was a...

Nenana

By: Alison K. Hoagland

At the turn of the twentieth century, Nenana was an Athapaskan Indian village. James Duke set up a trading post here in 1906, and Nenana's history would have been unexceptional if it had not been for the Alaska Railroad. With a strategic location at the confluence of the Tanana and...

Denali National Park and Preserve

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Established as a national park in 1917, just one year after the National Park Service was founded, Mount McKinley National Park was centered on the towering, 20,320-foot Mount McKinley. The 2,200 square miles of the park included the crest and northern slope...

Eagle

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Set on the Yukon River 8 miles from the Canadian border, Eagle was founded as a mining town but owes its survival to its role as a transportation and communications hub. The U.S. Army established a post here in order to have a presence on the border, and the U.S. government established...

Coldfoot

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Located above the Arctic Circle, on the southern slopes of the Brooks Range, Coldfoot was a classic gold-rush boomtown, flourishing in 1902 and all but deserted in 1906. That year, many of the residents moved north to Wiseman, taking some of the Coldfoot buildings with them....

Wiseman

By: Alison K. Hoagland

By following the river systems, prospectors reached beyond the Interior of Alaska to the Brooks Range. Like the rest of the Interior, the temperature range is extreme, but the nearly constant sunlight in the summer creates a verdant landscape that belies its arctic location. The...

Northern Region

By: Alison K. Hoagland

The North Slope of the Brooks Range, as it descends to the Arctic Ocean, constitutes the Northern Region. The land is underlain with continuous permafrost, producing for the most part a moist tundra. Covered much of the year with snow and ice, in the summer the treeless tundra is...

Barrow

By: Alison K. Hoagland

The northernmost town in Alaska, Barrow was traditionally the trading point for the Alaskan Arctic coast. Today it is the seat of the 88,000-square-mile North Slope Borough and maintains its primacy among the coastal villages.

Long an Eskimo village, Barrow became a major trading...

Point Hope

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Claiming to be the oldest continually occupied site in North America, Point Hope, westernmost point of Lisburne Peninsula, in the Chukchi Sea, has a rich archaeological heritage. Four distinct sites within the radius of a couple of miles have been identified by archaeologists or are...

Anaktuvuk Pass

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Anaktuvuk Pass, on the north slope of the Brooks Range, is today the only settlement of Nunamiut Inupiat, the Inupiat Eskimo who were land oriented. The Nunamiut inhabited inland northern Alaska until whalers introduced guns, with devastating consequences to the caribou herds that...

Prudhoe Bay

By: Alison K. Hoagland

A 400-square-mile oil field, Prudhoe Bay has become synonymous with the wealth that Alaska experienced in the 1970s. After discovery of oil in 1968 by ARCO, the eleven companies owning leases selected ARCO and BP to operate the field jointly on their behalf. BP controls the western...

Western Region

By: Alison K. Hoagland

The Western Region, the west coast from Kotzebue Sound down to Bristol Bay, including the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, is underlain with discontinuous permafrost, producing a moist tundra. The tree line remains several hundred miles in from the coast except near Norton Sound and...

Kotzebue

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Kotzebue, on Kotzebue Sound of the Chukchi Sea, was a natural meeting place for Eskimo traders, and a village grew up here in the nineteenth century. In 1897 the Friends established a mission here, dominating the educational and cultural scenes for several decades. A minor gold rush...

Nome

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Nome experienced one of the most dramatic gold rushes on the continent. Gold was discovered on nearby creeks in 1898, and 3,000 stampeders appeared in the new mining camp of Nome by July 1899. The discovery of gold on the beaches that summer, however, sent thousands more hopefuls...

Russian Mission

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Russian Mission, known to the Eskimos as Ikogmiut and to the Russians as Kvikhpak, was established by the Russians as a mission in 1845. Most of the other missions were located at trading posts, thus earning the protection of the Russian-American Company, but this mission was...

Ruby

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Ruby, a gold-rush town that boomed from 1907 to 1918, is attractively set on a sloping hillside on the Yukon River, between two bluffs. Most of the buildings, which include both log and wood-framed construction, face the river. There are a number of log buildings, many quite recently...

Southwestern Region

By: Alison K. Hoagland

The Aleutians are said to have the worst weather in the world. Measurable precipitation falls more than two hundred days per year. Although the range of temperatures is narrow and fairly temperate, storm winds occur in all months. The days are generally cloudy, wet, and windy....

Kodiak

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Founded by the Russians in 1793, the town of Kodiak remained the seat of Russian interests in America until 1808. The Russians built a J-shaped fort and a number of other log buildings, although they deteriorated rapidly in Kodiak's wet climate. The Russians organized hunting parties...

Unalaska

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Unalaska Island is one of the largest islands in the Aleutian chain. Long the home of Aleuts, it became the site of a Russian trading post in the eighteenth century. This settlement was located on the spit of land between Iliuliuk Bay and Iliuliuk River, which is also the original...

Pribilof Islands (Saint Paul and Saint George Islands)

By: Alison K. Hoagland

Located 250 miles north of the Aleutian Chain in the southern Bering Sea, the Pribilofs are four small islands, treeless and windswept, that have received unique treatment from the U.S. government. On one edge of each of the two occupied...

Alabama

By: Robert Gamble

From the mouth of Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama’s boundaries reach inland for more than 300 miles to the border with its northern neighbor, Tennessee—a distance nearly as far as from New York to Ottawa. From a breadth of 140 miles at the extreme top of the state, its lateral boundaries taper...

Arkansas

By: Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors

Arkansas became a part of the United States by virtue of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 after having been in French or Spanish “possession” for more than a hundred years. Neither of those countries had...

Ozarks

By: Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors

In the earliest days of its settlement, northwest Arkansas was physically isolated from the rest of the state. The Ozark Mountains, which reach heights of nearly 3,000 feet and define the northern portion of...

Bentonville and Vicinity

By: Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors

Soon after Arkansas statehood was confirmed by the Congressional Act of 1836, the Arkansas General Assembly created the counties of Benton, Washington, and Crawford, carving them...

Siloam Springs

By: Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors

The first settler to this spot arrived in 1839, but it was not until after the Civil War that Siloam Springs began to grow. The town was platted in 1880 in anticipation of the arrival of a...

Fayetteville

By: Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors

Fayetteville (first known as Washington Courthouse) was designated the county seat when Washington County was established in the Arkansas Territory in 1828. Situated at a high elevation...

Eureka Springs

By: Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors

The deep eroded limestone valleys and ridges of the Eureka Springs area lie on the eastern edge of the Springfield Plateau. Local history maintains that in 1856, physician Alvah Jackson on...

, ,