Sitka, AK Baranoff Castle Fire, Mar 1894

Alaskan Castle Destroyed.

Seattle, Wash., mar. 27.-Advices by steamer today state that the famous Baranoff castle at Sitka, Alaska, was destroyed by fire on the morning of March 17th. The fire broke out at 2 o'clock a.m., and the only occupant of the castle, Robert C. Rogers, United States court commissioner, escaped with nothing on but his night clothes, being assisted out of the window by means of a ladder. The castle was entirely destroyed. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 28 Mar 1894


Baranoff Castle Burned.

An Historic Building at Sitka Destroyed by Fire.

Port Townsend, March 27.-The steamer City of Topeka, from Alaska, brings news of the total destruction by fire, on the 16th inst., of Baranoff Castle, the most historical land mark of the territory and located at Sitka. United States Commissioner C.D. Rogers, who had rooms and office in the building, narrowly escaped with his life. The castle was the first place of interest for tourists and is said to have been the home of the first Russian governor-general before the territory was purchased by the United States.

The Morning Olympian, Olympia, WA 28 Mar 1894



How the Castle Was Licked Up By the Flames.


It Was Once a Dungeon for Sealing Transgressors.

San Francisco, March 31.-Advices from Alaska give full particulars of the burning of Baranoff Castle. Every tourist who has ever visited Sitka known of the castle, as it was one of the show places of the country. Says the Alaskan: 'The old and cherished landmark, Baranoff Castle is no more and crest of hill, the kekeoer, upon which the building was erected, outlines itself this morning against the sky as Baranoff saw it almost a century ago when he came from Kodiak Island hither to extend the dominion of the Russian Americanco which had then recently been chartered by the energetic Empress Catherina II. The loss of the castle is irreparable for Sitka. It was known all over the civilized world by thousands who had visited this sublimely picturesque coast, and have become acquainted with its legends and the events Commissioner Robert C. Rogers, the only occupant of the building, standing in front of his bedroom window on the second floor. He was perfectly composed and upon seeing Lieutenant Pendleton, shouted, "I cannot find my way out on account of the dense smoke." To which the lieutenant answered, "˜Don't be afraid, we will help you out."

The officer then went to the front door to gain an entrance to the building but was driven back by suffocating smoke as soon as he opened the door. A fire ladder was then procured and Rogers was taken through the window with nothing but his night clothes on.

A second alarm was turned in and the men from the United States steamer Pinta were soon on the scene. Lieutenant David Peacock was in charge of the blue jackets and he ordered canvas from naval stores which was spread over adjoining buildings. The canvas was constantly wet and kept the adjoining buildings from catching. The massive castle gradually succumbed to the flames and at 5:30 in the morning of the 17th the walls fell with a crash and all was over. Thus went one of the principal showplaces of Alaska and a castle which many sealers remember with a shudder. Before it was renovated it was used as a jail and many a Bering sea poacher spent his six or twelve months within its gloomy walls.

The Morning Olympian, Olympia, WA 1 Apr 1894