July 24, 2014

Picture Gallery: Fort Ross — Russia’s first outpost on the California coast

fort-ross

Fort Ross was an important center in bringing Orthodoxy to America. London Telegraph (click to see the gallery). … [Read more...]

Fort Ross: Russians to help?

The Chapel at Fort Ross

Writing on Oct. 2 for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nikola Krastev reported that in recent weeks Russian government officials -- including President Dimitry Medvedev -- showed strong interest in protecting Fort Ross from closure, a move that was feared when California went into another budget crisis. Fort Ross (the name is derived from "Rossiya") is a 19th-century settlement on the Pacific coast just north of San Francisco that was established by a group of hunters and traders from Russia. Krastev says that the fort has been "spared closure" but that some Russian officials are still eager to find benefactors who could "help maintain California's first Russian settlement." Speaking on the sidelines of last week's UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for Fort Ross to be preserved as a reminder that the United States and Russia enjoyed warm relations long before the start of the Cold War. "I would like to ask our business community to help save this … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox history at risk in California?

Holy Trinity Chapel at Fort Ross

The AP has a story about Fort Ross Historic Park under threat of closure because of California state budget problems. (HT: George M.) Nearly two centuries ago, Russian colonists selected a patch of sloping grassland along California's rugged North Coast for a new settlement. It was from this spot about 80 miles north of San Francisco that they hoped to harvest Redwoods, grow crops and hunt seals for the lucrative fur trade. Today, Russian Americans throughout Northern California honor their past by visiting Fort Ross Historic State Park. Hundreds drive up a winding coastal highway to picnic at the park on holidays, and priests still hold occasional services inside the fort's reconstructed Russian Orthodox church. But the colonial outpost that claims to have established California's first shipyard and windmill is very much at risk of being abandoned by its current caretaker. Fort Ross is among 100 of California's 279 state parks that officials are considering shutting … [Read more...]