St. Paul Buildings of Potential Historic Significance

Barns

1925. Construction began on a new domestic livestock barn to replace the one built years ago by the lessees (Bower 1926, 142).

Aleut Bunkhouse

1929. A bunkhouse for the Aleut Native sealers was constructed at Northeast Point. The frame construction built atop a concrete foundation contained a kitchen, mess room, and sleeping quarters for fifty persons. The building eventually went into disuse and collapsed. The debris was hauled away in 2000, and the foundation filled with scoria. NOAA Office of Coast Survey placed a geodetic monument into concrete footer at the northeast corner of the foundation (Bower 1930, 308).

Bunkhouse (Whites)

1934. The bunkhouse for white employees was re-built at Northeast Point (Bower 1935, 54).

Coal House

1929. A coal house was constructed in 1929 and enlarged in 1934. The coal house stood where the current Cascade Building now stands. (Bower 1930, 308; Bower 1935, 54).

Photo of white barn surrounded by farm equipment.
Barn on St. Paul Island (NARA, date unknown).
Photo of mechanical crane removing wooden debris.
Debris removal at the Aleut Bunkhouse in 2000 (NOAA).
Photo of a group of white buildings. The coal house is in the center of the photo.
Coal house (in center of photo), July 3, 1960 (NMML Photo Library).

East Landing Dock

Photo of dock with boat offshore.
East Landing, with boat offshore, July 15, 1946 (NMML Photo Library)

1921-1932. A temporary wharf was installed at East Landing in 1921 with final construction of a reinforced structure, 50 ft. x 225 ft., completed in 1932. The East Landing Dock permitted the supply ship to depart considerably earlier than would have been possible otherwise. The dock allowed management to reassign about 100 workers to other duties sooner, as the the lightering of cargo of the supply ship anchored offshore required much more manpower. (Bower 1922, 53; Bower 1933, 59).

Electric Lighting

1918. The Navy Radio Station personnel installed a small electric-lighting plant in the basement of the Government shop located in the village. “Almost all the equipment except the engine was borrowed from the radio station and was subject to return at any time.” Lights were installed in the shop, company house, dispensary, club house, and Government house (Bower 1919, 82).

1924. The entire village was wired for electric lighting in 1924. Power came from a motor rewound as a generator and which had formerly been used at the Bureau of Fisheries central station at Seattle, Washington . The generator was connected to a 20-HP semi-diesel engine used to pump water for washing sealskins. A set of Edison storage batteries was also connected to the system (Bower 1925b, 143).

Electric Plant

Photo of building.

1929–1932. The electric plant with cold storage for freezing meat (overall 32 ft. x 74 ft.) was constructed (Bower 1930, 308; Bower 1931, 72; Bower 1932, 75). The electric plant was razed by fire in the 1950s. The Aleut Community of St. Paul subsequently constructed and leased the Post Office to the U.S. Postal Service at the site.

Gasoline Tank Farm

1934. A gasoline tank farm platform was constructed on the north slope of Village Hill (Bower 1935, 54).

Government Office

1940. A new government office, 24 ft. x 36 ft., with two fireproof vaults, one on the mainfloor and one in the basement,was constructed (St. Paul Agent’s Log). This building later became the bar operated by the St. Paul Tribal Government. The bar was closed circa 2003. A cache of government documents was retained in the basement vault until 2007, when the St. Paul Tribal Government under contract to NOAA in collaboration with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) arranged for the electronic copying of documents and the transfer of originals to NARA in Anchorage.

Photo of a group of various sized buildings.
Electric Plant, right of center, July 1960 (NMML Photo Library).
Photo of person with striped hat standing in front of boxes on shelves.
Photo of boxes on shelves.
The vault with historical government documents within the former government office, St. Paul Island, Alaska. The St. Paul Tribal Government transferred the documents to NARA in 2008.

Greenhouse

1923. A greenhouse was built to supply the government employees with fresh vegetables. Presumably, this greenhouse was the one adjacent to the government house (Bower 1925a, 112).

Livestock Corral

1927. A livestock corral was built on top of Tolstoi (Bower 1928, 146).

Meat House

1926. The old meat house for use by white employees was torn down in 1926 and replaced with a new one outfitted with “a Frigidaire machine” (Bower 1927, 306-307).

Navy Radio Station

Photo of building under construction.
St. Paul Schoolhouse (NARA).

1911. The Navy Department installed the islands’ first radio station (Evermann 1913, 306-307).

New Schoolhouse

1929–1931. Construction of a new schoolhouse began in 1929 and was completed in 1931. The main floor consisted of two large, airy and well-lighted classrooms and the basement was divided, one side for the boys’ use and the other side for the girls’ use. The boys’ side was equipped for manual-training work; practical carpentry, electric wiring, painting, and other trades. The girls’ side was equipped to represent a model kitchen that involved cooking and sewing classes. Connecting the main rooms on each side of the building were dressing rooms and showers, which were used twice per week by all children (Bower 1923, 82; Bower 1931, 72).

Photo of large greenhouse.
Greenhouse (NARA).
Photo in black and white of buildings and atennas.
Navy Radio Station (NARA).
Photo of St. Paul schoolhouse, a multi-storied white building.
St. Paul Schoolhouse, date unknown (NARA).

Northeast Point Road

1922. Construction of a road to Northeast Point began in 1922 to forego having to bring the sealskins by boats from the Northeast Point Rookery to the new village washhouse. The road was completed in 1932 with 1.7 miles of plank road built along Big Lake and over the dunes. Scoria fill replaced the plank road in 1938. In 1939, the portion of the road that “crosses the big sand dune was elevated by scoria fill to twelve inches above the level of drifting sand, in order that the wind might keep the surface of the road swept clear” (Bower 1932, 75; Bower 1940, 148; Bower 1941, 161).

Privies

1922. The Natives constructed twenty privies for their use (Bower 1923, 83).

Reindeer Corral

1939. A reindeer corral was constructed north of the current airport (Bower 1941, 161).

Saltwater Pumphouse

1931. A small pump house was built near the northeast base of Village Hill to supply saltwater from offshore Village Cove to the sealskin washhouse (Bower 1932, 76).

Salt Houses

1922. The old village salt house was torn down and two new large ones were constructed (Bower 1923, 83).

Salt House and Barreling Shed

1930. Footings were laid for an extension to the salt house with intentions of also using it to barrel skins (Bower 1931, 76). NOAA razed the barreling shed in 2000.

Warehouse

1924. A two-story warehouse, 48 ft. x 100 ft., was built at West Landing to replace an older and smaller warehouse (Bower 1925b, 143).

Watch House

1934. A watch house was built at Marunich (Bower 1935, 54).

Waterworks

Built in 1921–22. Four 40,000-gallon water storage tanks were emplaced in new 32 ft. x 100 ft. tank house constructed on Village Hill (Bower 1922, 53; Bower 1923, 83).

Ice House Lake

1923–26. During 1923, 1,600 ft. of piping and in 1924 an additional 4,427 ft. of piping was laid between Ice House Lake and the village. An additional 1,150 ft. was laid in 1925. By 1926, a windmill was erected at the lake to push water to the village. The windmill did not go into operation until 1927. In 1926, the village was partially supplied with running water and fire hydrants had been installed (Bower 1925b, 143; Bower 1927, 307).

Photo of a group of buildings including a warehouse, a two-story building on the waterfront.
Warehouse (two-story building on the waterfront), July 3, 1960 (NMML Photo Library).
Photo in black and white of building.
Pump house at Ice House Lake (NARA).