City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385

Historic Preservation in Juneau

Executive Summary

The City and Borough of Juneau’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted by the CBJ Assembly in 1997, is the official long-range plan for the growth and development of the community. Policy 4.18 of the plan states, "It is the policy of the CBJ to identify and protect historic and archaeological resources; to educate, encourage, and assist the general public in recognizing the value of historic preservation; and to promote heritage tourism which accurately represents Juneau’s unique Native Alaskan, Russian, Early American, and other cultures."

The Comprehensive Plan identifies a number of implementing actions which support the various policies of the plan. Implementing action 4.18.11 of the plan states, "Revise and expand the Juneau Historic Preservation Strategy to become a historic preservation plan that sets forth goals and objectives for organizing preservation activities and integrating preservation into the broader community and land use planning efforts outlining tasks, area specific surveys, and grant funding sources."

It is with this mandate that the Community Development Department embarked on the development of the Juneau Historic Preservation Plan. The development of the plan was made possible through a Federal historic preservation fund matching grant administered by the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology. The process of developing the plan has been on-going over a period of about two and one half years. It began with a public scoping meeting to identify the issues and concerns regarding the preservation of historic resources in the community. CBJ Staff and volunteers with expertise in archaeology and Native culture developed various draft plans which were presented at public meetings of the Historic Resources Advisory Committee. The Committee, interested community members, and the Office of History and Archaeology reviewed and commented on the plan during its development and those comments were considered in the development of the draft plan.

A Vision of Preservation
In 1996 Juneau began a citizen visioning process. The participants expressed an underlying view of Juneau as that of " a friendly community, rich in history and cultural diversity; gold mining roots and a strong Native Alaskan tradition." One persons vision had residents and visitors able to "...touch and experience the history of the founding days because of efforts focused to preserve the historic character..." The visioning process prompted development of the following statements relative to the vision of historic preservation in Juneau:

  • Juneau will be a community which is knowledgeable and understands the importance of protecting and preserving its unique pre-history, history, and Native culture;

  • Juneau will be a community which takes care to protect and preserve the historic physical character of the community; and

  • Juneau will be a community which is proud to share its past with residents and visitors in a manner which protects the valuable historic resources of the area.

Goals and Objectives
The goals and objectives of the plan provide guidance and direction for the community in the preservation efforts of its historic resources.

Identify, evaluate, and protect the historic and archaeological resources within the City and Borough of Juneau.

  • Maintain and support the Historic Resources Advisory Committee as the CBJ citizen committee for the purpose of protecting historic resources in the community and implementing the Historic Preservation Plan.

  • Continue the effort to identify historic resources within the CBJ.

  • Determine the relative significance of identified historic resources in the community and officially recognize such resources.

  • dentify appropriate measures to protect significant historic and cultural resources.

  • Encourage and assist owners of significant historic properties to maintain their original architectural character.

  • Extend the Downtown Historic District to include areas of similar architectural character as the current district.

  • Support the Downtown Historic District Standards to assure the unique architectural character of the district is preserved and protected.

Increase public awareness of the value and importance of Juneau’s history and historic resources.

  • Educate and inform the general public about Juneau's unique history and Native heritage.

  • Support and maintain the city owned museums (Juneau Douglas City Museum and the Last Chance Mining Museum) as repositories for heritage materials and information held in the public interest and as a place of learning about Juneau’s history and historic resources.

Preserve and protect the unique culture of Juneau’s Native people including buildings, sites, traditions, lifestyle, language, and history.

  • Develop interpretive materials throughout the community to inform the public about the heritage of local Natives and other ethnic groups of the area.

  • Provide a means for understanding and appreciating the traditional culture of Juneau's Native people.

Promote heritage tourism which enhances and accurately represents Juneau’s unique history and Native culture.

  • Promote accurate depictions by the visitor industry of Juneau’s unique historic background and Native heritage.

The Preservation Plan identifies a series of implementing actions which are recommendations for activities which will accomplish the goals and objectives for protecting and preserving Juneau’s valuable historic resources. Implementing actions include educational programs, guidelines for maintaining historic features of the community, and programs to continue documenting the community’s historic resources. Other implementing actions target community groups and organizations which actively work toward preservation of historic resources and the establishment of community processes for resolving conflicts between preservation of historic resources and alternative development and land uses.

Implementing the preservation plan is the key to preserving and protecting the historic resources of Juneau. It is recommended that the Historic Resources Advisory Committee take the leadership role in the community for this important task. The Committee is well established and has the expertise to adequately spearhead preservation activities identified in the plan.

The preservation plan will be most effective if it is periodically reviewed and updated. Recommendations of the plan call for such review. A public process is suggested to assure that the plan is meeting the goals and objectives. It is important that the plan be modified as necessary to reflect the desires of the community on preservation issues.

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