The Chilkoot Barracks in Haines Borough is just half a mile from Haines, and the last of 11 military posts built during the gold rush. As the state’s only facility from 1925-40, it served as a police headquarters for miners coming and going from the popular mines of the state’s interior. While negotiating over land with Canada, it was also a hub for mediation and legal enforcement. Named after the U.S. Secretary of State who managed the Alaska Purchase, William H. Seward Fort continues to serve as a piece of history in Haines.

President William McKinley authorized the fort in 1898, although the Army had been stationed there unofficially for months. Until 1904, a formal outpost included 85 buildings crafted under Colonel W.P. Richardson, and the fort was officially named in 1904. Initially, the Third Infantry, formerly at Camp Skagway, made up the first occupation. In a few years, the fort expanded to include over 4,000 acres.

The Making of History

Renamed Chilkoot Barracks in 1922, in honor of the indigenous Chilkoot people and the Chilkoot Trail used at that time, it’s remained a prominent landmark in the area. Most military installations were closed in the 20s. However, this fort was in use until 1945, finally sold to Port Chilkoot Company.

Since then, it’s been an art colony for decades, home to a variety of galleries and exhibits. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and becoming a National Historic Landmark in 1978, it’s still a favorite destination for Haines visitors.