Fort William H. Seward

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Fort William H. Seward
Alaska Heritage Resources Survey
Haines Alaska June 2012 a.JPG
View of Fort William H. Seward from Chilkoot Inlet, including the beach below and mountains in the background.
Fort William H. Seward is located in Alaska
Fort William H. Seward
Location Port Chilkoot, Haines, Alaska
Coordinates 59°13′37″N 135°26′38″W / 59.22694°N 135.44389°W / 59.22694; -135.44389Coordinates: 59°13′37″N 135°26′38″W / 59.22694°N 135.44389°W / 59.22694; -135.44389
Built 1902 (1902)
NRHP reference # 72000190[1]
AHRS # SKG-001
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 11, 1972
Designated NHLD June 2, 1978[2]
Designated AHRS 1970

Fort William H. Seward, also known as Chilkoot Barracks and Haines Mission, is a site at Port Chilkoot in Haines Borough, Alaska, about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) from the city of Haines. It was the last of a series of 11 military posts established in Alaska during the gold rush era, and was Alaska's only military facility between 1925 and 1940. It provided a policing presence for miners moving into the gold mining areas in the Alaskan interior, and a military presence during negotiations over the nearby international border with Canada. The fort is named for William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State who oversaw the Alaska purchase.[3]


Street-level view of the fort.

The fort was formally authorized by an executive order of President William McKinley in December 1898. United States Army troops had been stationed unofficially in the area during that year. Between 1902 and 1904, a formal infantry outpost consisting of 85 wood-frame buildings was constructed under the supervision of Colonel W. P. Richardson, and was formally named in 1904. It was first occupied by three companies of the Third Infantry, previously stationed at Camp Skagway. By 1909 the fort had grown to cover more than 4,000 acres (1,600 ha). It was formally renamed Chilkoot Barracks in 1922, honoring the local Chilkoot people and the Chilkoot Trail used during the gold rush.[3]

Between 1921 and 1925 all other military installations in Alaska were shut down; in 1927 Fort Seward was manned by a force of 255. The fort was formally deactivated in 1945, and sold to the Port Chilkoot Company.[3] The property has been developed as an art colony; it includes housing and art galleries, and accommodations for tourists.

The fort was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978.[2][3]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[4]

Fort William H. Seward first appeared separately on the 1910 U.S. Census and in 1920. Its name was changed to Chilkoot Barracks in 1930 and 1940, before its closure in 1945. It has since been annexed into the City of Haines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Fort William H. Seward". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fort William H. Seward (AHRS Site No. SKG-001) / Chilkoot Barracks" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 4 photos from 1970 and 1975. (1.16 MB)
  4. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 

External links[edit]