Historic Sitka Alaska
Captain George Foster Emmons (1811-1884), commander of the USS Ossipee, sailed into the Sitka harbor with United States
and Russian Commissioners for the ceremony transferring the Alaskan territory to the United States on 18 October 1867.
Nearly 30 years later, in 1895, his son, George Thornton Emmons (1852-1945) and his wife, May (Baker) built the Emmons home
for their family.
This American FourSquare house was a square, boxy design similar to others built in Sitka during the Transitional Period
(1890-1930) in architecture. It was the first home in Sitka to have plastered walls.
Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy (1880-1899), George Thornton Emmons was stationed in Sitka and developed an intense interest in Tlingit culture. Many of the objects Emmons collected over the years were sold or donated to the American Museum of Natural
History in New York City, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the University of Washington Seattle Burke Museum. Some of
these objects have been returned to the native community. Emmons'' ethnological report on the Native tribes of Southerneastern Alaska remains an important resource. After George died in 1945 the manuscript was edited and published as the book, The Tlingit Indians (UW Press 1991) by Frederica de Laguna.
The Emmons house was captured in this historic photograph of aviation
history. In 1929, the bi-plane named "Sitka" carrying a United States Navy
crew to conduct a geological survey in Southeast Alaska landed in front of the
By 1966, the harbor was dredged and made Crescent Harbor ideal for private
and commercial boats.