Fort Ross was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America from 1812 to 1842. In those days, Spanish colonialists came from the South into California, The Russians from the north.
Fort Ross is nowadays a California State Historic Park showcasing a historic Russian-era fort compound that has been designated National Historic Landmark status. The 3,400 acre park offers pristine natural landscapes as well as historic structures and exhibits that bring to life the former Imperial Russian settlement, early California Ranch era, and Kashaya territory.
Fort Ross was established by Commerce Counselor Ivan Kuskov of the Russian-American Company when he was ordered to set up an agricultural settlement from which the northern settlements could be supplied with food and carry on trade with Alta California. Fort Ross itself was the hub of a number of smaller Russian settlements. In addition to farming and manufacturing, the Company carried on its fur-trading business at Fort Ross, but by 1817, there was nothing to hunt left. From 1838 onward, the settlement at Fort Ross was no longer needed to supply the Alaskan colonies with food; therefore the settlement was sold and came into private hands.
An 1841 inventory describes the settlement surrounding the fort: "twenty-four planked dwellings with glazed windows, a floor and a ceiling; each had a garden. There were eight sheds, eight bathhouses and ten kitchens." In 1903, the settlement was sold to California.
Most of the existing buildings on the site are reconstructions: the Kuskov house was the residence of the managers of the fort. You will also find the Rotchev House, home of the last manager of the fort, built in about 1836 and the only original surviving building. Then there are the officials' quarters, two blockhouses and the Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Chaple, all reconstructed.
Text: Fort Ross website & Wikipedia.
Image: By Vlad Butsky from San Jose, CA, USA - Image #1930 (http://www.butsky.com), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2049225