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Sitka Lutheran Church

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The Sitka Lutheran Church held the first Protestant congregation in Alaska and is also the oldest Protestant Alaskan church, at 170 years old. While it is still an active church, it also is open to the public for tours with trained volunteers Monday thru Saturday.

The congregation was founded 1839-40 under the leadership of RAC Governor Arvid Adolf Etholèn, a Finnish Lutheran. Over the course of the years, the building went through quite a few changes: by 1888 it had fallen into disrepair and was torn down and finally rebuilt many years later. The new building was totally destroyed by fire in 1966 (along with Saint Michael’s Cathedral). It was rebuilt the following year. Then in 1993, it burned again, and required extensive remodeling.

Somehow a lot of the original artifacts from the church survived through all the turmoil. These include the 1844 Kessler pipe organ (which was manufactured in Estonia and shipped overseas), a chandelier, pulpit, and communion rail.

From 1997 to 1999 the church received and dedicated some new additions: stained glass windows made by Seattle artist Dick Weitz, an altar made from pew wood salvaged from the 1993 fire, and sanctuary crosses.

Another important historical part of the church is the cemetery. Buried within are Edvard Etholen, infant son of Governor Adolf Etholen and his wife, Margareta; Aglaida Bushman, Princess Maksoutoff, a Lutheran, first wife of the last Governor of Russian Alaska; and Governor Johan Hampus Furuhjelm’s sister, Constance.

Watch For...
Guided tours by trained volunteers and literature about the church.

SUMMER HOURS AND FEES
Open Mon. - Sat.
Free admission

Phone: (907) 747-3338
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.sitkalutheranchurch.org


[For several reasons, our] whole trip, from the lodge Sunday morning to our condo in Cincinnati last night, was about 32 hours long. Fortunately, the luggage and fish boxes arrived with us. The fish was still frozen when we unpacked it after we got home. That extra care your fish packers took in wrapping the catch with that foil-bubble insulation material really did the trick. I really appreciate your seeing to that. We had a wonderful time in Sitka. The Checkmate is a terrific, well-built boat. Having the head on board sure makes for a far more comfortable and enjoyable experience out on the water. We were lucky to have Captain E.J. and deckhand Tom taking care of us out there. They were professional and friendly at the same time, a good combination of traits, and they made sure we had a good time. E.J. makes fantastic sandwiches, Tom made sure we kept our lines untangled, hooks baited and our bait in the water, and the girls made some absolutely addicting cookies for us. Your client coordinator took really good care of us. She helped the three ladies to have two super days exploring Sitka. All of us had an unforgettable experience. We enjoyed the camaraderie with everyone in the lodge. We met some neat people from all over. We loved the breakfast girls! As always, our accommodations were clean and comfortable. Well, anyway, thanks a million. I wish I could come back sooner and more often. In the meantime, I visit your website every day to look at the catch of the day and read Tom's blogs. I have the Sitka weather on my computer all the time. My heart is there. Best wishes for a successful season. Please extend our sincere thanks to all of your staff for a job well done. I couldn't recommend your operation highly enough. -Mark F. (June 2010)