Alaska Building

The Alaska Building was located in the area occupied by state and foreign buildings; it was adjacent to the Forestry Building, the only other public building made of logs.* It had the unusual distinction of representing a geographic region but was neither a state nor a foreign country. Alaska was a United States territory and the fact that it was represented at all at the Exposition was due to the Alaska Geographical Society which, in the absence of any territorial government, generated the necessary funds to mount an exhibit by soliciting subscriptions from Society members as well as the cities of Seattle and Portland.

The 40- by 60-foot building was constructed of "Skaguay logs," logs transported from that area of Alaska. In 1901, the word "Skaguay" would have been associated by many Americans with the adventure and excitement of the Alaska gold rush that began in 1896. The building's design was a larger reproduction of the historic log Presbyterian Mission Church in Juneau.

Because the building had the shape of a church, plans were made to open it on Sundays for religious services by visiting preachers. Lectures were also planned for the week to augment the exhibits in the building. There was also, for an additional fee intended to support the Building during the Exposition, a space reserved within the building behind curtains for a portion of the Crane Alaska Collection. It was advertised as containing 3,000 items including "a team of live Alaskan sled dogs, native costumes and implements, Alaska baskets valued at $100 each, stoves and lamps used by the cave dwellers of Alaska; carved and etched ivory, skin canoes, fine furs, ancient native armor, old masks and belts, the largest and finest polar bear in the world, mammoth teeth and tusks from 2,000 to 6,000 years old, including the most perfect pair and largest single tusk known. The various methods of Alaska and Klondike mining are also exhibited and explained." (from an advertising card for the Alaska Building)

The building suffered a fire a week after Exposition closed (story here).