Fort Ross State Historic Park Travel Guide
Officer's Quarters View at Kuskov House
Officer's Quarters View at Kuskov House
Perimeter Walls of Fort Ross
View of Coast from Fort Ross Blockhouse
Fort Ross Blockhouse Views
Thistle at Fort Ross, CA
California's First Windmill
I believe that this construction project may be an effort to rebuild California's first windmill, something which was destroyed so long ago that only faint sketches of it exist. However, Russian historians are working with American university personnel to build replicas of...
Restored Officer's Quarters Interior
The name of this building is probably not correct because in fact there are a lot of demonstration craft activities inside. There's a wood burning bread oven, a blacksmith's room, fur tanners' room, and a cabinet makers room, among other things.
Restored Officer's Quarters Exterior
Adjacent to the Rotchev house is another building that is used as Fort Ross administrative offices, at least in part, because it is located at the entrance to the stockade. I don't know the name or origin of this restored structure, but it's worth a walk through. I believe...
Rotchev House Interiors
The interior construction of the house once had fine wall paper in the Russian style. There is also a nice central fireplace made of native stone. The furniture in the house now is a collection of antiques that resembles at least the lifestyle of the original occupants, the...
Rotchev House Exterior and History
The only structure dating back to Russian occupation is the Rotchev House, which was built in 1836, and subsequently named after Alexander Rotchev, the last manager of Fort Ross. Rotchev was well educated, well traveled, and married to a woman belonging to Russia's titled...
General Location--Fort Ross Bluff
The coast of California offers very few level places for farming, but the Russians managed to find one along this bluff that stands several hundred feet above the sea. The could have found better land near the mouth of the Russian River, but it appears that the Russians were...
Kuskov House Interiors--More in Store
Here are extra images of the dry goods store and all the fascinating objects now obsolete as the buggy whip. A quartermaster kept records of what supplies were used and needed.
Kuskov House Interiors--Second Floor
The second floor and attic spaces were devoted to living quarters for the administrator, expedition scientist, and officers. A central staircase divides the living quarters into a south and north side of the building. On the north side, the science officer's quarters were...
Kuskov House Interiors--First Floor
The first floor of the Kuskov House is devoted to warehousing supplies brought by ship. On the southwest corner is a room storing rifles, canon balls, and so serves as an arsenal. On the northwest corner is a room with dry goods--wooded pitch forks, candles, and a whole lot...
Kuskov House Exteriors
The Kuskov House was the main administrative building, named after Ivan Kuskov, the founder and first administrator from 1812 to 1821. This building was reconstructed in 1983. All aspects of this structure were salvaged from Russian records, drawings, and descriptions by...
Russian Orthodox Chapel--Exterior Views
The chapel had been repaired and modified prior to the collapse of the walls in the 1906 earthquake. Remaining sections of the stockade also fell during the earthquake Fortunately, the roof wasn't so damaged, providing important information for reproduction. At one point,...
Russian Orthodox Chapel--Interior Views
The wide planking and barrel like wood dome are very impressive and appropriate for religious atmosphere. The chapel has been visited by Russian Orthodox clergy, making this structure an important symbolic structure for all the Russian Orthodox Christians in California and...
Needless to say, the blockhouses then and today serve mainly to provide a spectacular view of the California coastline, as well as a survey of the entire fortress complex. Barking sea lions can be heard if one listens carefully enough out the front windows, while settler...
Blockhouse Interior and Canon Fire Power
The Russians brought off their ships enough canons to prevent assault by the Spanish. This was not an idle threat as the Spanish had overrun similar settlements owned by the British on Vancouver Island just a few years before, a conflict that resulted in the Nootka...
Main Entrance and Blockhouse Construction
As mentioned, the excellent properties of the redwood was certainly a carpenters delight, so after digging the central well, labor was no doubt directed immediately to building the southwest blockhouse, and thereafter the stockade walls. The workmanship of these buildings...
General Location--the Fort Ross Cove
The cove of Fort Ross reveals the narrow geographical opportunity the Russians found for their settlement enterprise. Better bays and estuaries further south and to the north apparently were already locked up by the Spanish, Americans, or British. The rugged coast of...
How to get to Fort Ross
From San Francisco: drive northwards on 101 to Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Geyserville. In Geyserville, turn left on to Stewart point. This is the fastest and will take a 2 1/2 hours drive.
From San Francisco: drive northwards on 101 to Santa Rosa. In Santa Rosa, turn left on Highway 116 to Sonoma Coast State Park. Turn right (northwards) on Coastal Highway 1. The drive from Santa Rosa is about 1 1/2 hour.
From San Francisco: drive northwards on 101 to Sausalito and Marin City. Turn left on Coastal Highway 1. Follow the coastal highway. It will take more time but is the most scenic. That drive allows to pass at Muir Beach, Point Reyes; Bodega Bay, Russian Gulch on the way. This the one I followed. The driving time depends how many times and how long you stop for a photo!
Written Mar 17, 2009
- Related to:
- Road Trip
The Love story between Nikolai and Conchita
I have given in the introduction of this page given a brief comment about the love story between Count Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov and María Concepción Argüello. It did not occur in Fort Ross but that was were Rezanov lived.
In 2006, for the 200th anniversary of this love story, the Benicia Historical Museum organized an afternoon event
More about this event and the love story on the following website under the title: Epic love in old California: Concha and the czar's courtier. How a 15-year-old Spanish beauty fell for Russian sea captain, 42, and waited forever
Sergey (VT Kuznetsov_Sergey) wrote me the following (I quote)
This touching story of Nikolai Resanov and Conchita Argüello is well-known in the USSR since 1981, when the musical play or the rock opera “Unona and Avos” (by Mark Zaharov with music by Alexei Rybnikov) was performed in one of the most popular Moscow theatre “Lencom”. It was almost impossible to get and see it there so it was popular. Young people knew all the songs among them:
You will never forget me and Alleluia
Thank you Sergey !
Updated Mar 18, 2009
- Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Beautiful Thistle in Spring
Watch your footing, but during the walk to the cove there are lovely wildflowers (don't pick them please) including the thistle pictured here.
Point Reyes National Seashore, in Marin County, is, by official records, the windiest and foggiest place on the Pacific Coast. Point Reyes National Seashore is about 50 km south to Fort Ross. Both sites can be visited in the same day but as the weather on the Pacific coast...
Explore Deeper into Fort Ross State Historic Park