Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Sheldon Jackson College
Original/Historic Place Name: Campus
Location on Campus: 801 Lincoln St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1910-1911original construction Ludlow, William Orr Peabody, Charles Samuel
Designer: William Orr Ludlow and Charles Samuel Peabody
Type of Place: Building group
Style: Other, Regionalist/Vernacular, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, engineering, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1910-present (2006)master plan (campus)

Sheldon Jackson College, built in 1910-1911 and designed by the architectural firm of William Orr Ludlow and Charles S. Peabody, is situated at the base of the Baranof Mountains near the foot of Mt. Verstovia. The College sits on a hillside backed by the Tongass National Temperate Rainforest and Southeast Alaska's mountain peaks, with a view of the Pacific Ocean. The boundaries of SJC's National Historic Landmark district include seventeen contributing and three con-contributing structures. The core of the historic district consists of six Craftsman style two-story buildings constructed around a central half quadrangle. The site is the only formal campus plan in Alaska. SJC retains its historic architectural integrity and setting. However, many years of use and deferred maintenance have taken their toll, resulting in a need for substantial rehabilitation work.

Sheldon Jackson College is Alaska's oldest currently operated educational institution as well as one of the oldest organizations in the state, being outlived by only a handful of church bodies. It also has Alaska's first museum and first concrete building. Founded just eleven years after the purchase from Russia, the school has set the standards for education in Alaska. Since 1878, it has grown from a Presbyterian mission, elementary school, industrial training school, boarding school, high school, and junior college to a fully accredited four year educational institution. It has had a tremendous impact on the early development of the state and Alaska's Native peoples. Many alumni, employees, and others affiliated with the school have played a significant role in the Native Rights Act, Native Claims Settlement Act, and the founding of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and have helped develop the state's education standards and government. For more than 125 years, Sheldon Jackson has served the people of Alaska and continues to develop new programs to improve its education services.

All of the main campus buildings possess a cohesive Craftsman and Western Stick influence, with their form, fenestration, and detailing the most distinguishing features. The characteristic Western Stick elements present in SJC's principal building include the protruding stick-like roof brackets, projecting balconies and porches, and recessed entries. Additional accents, including wood vents, port detailing, and accentuated vertical timbers, emphasize the hidden structural elements of the building. Due to the history of the community and the college plus the educational and cultural value of SJC, it is essential to maintain the integrity of the campus.


Crittendon, Edwin B. Survey [Sheldon Jackson College]. [CCC Architects and Planners, Anchorage, AK], 1987-1995.

Clemens, Janet, Chris Allan, Linda Cook, Heidi Siegel, and Amanda Zeman. Sheldon Jackson School. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1972.


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Last update: November 2006