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

Historic Preservation in Juneau

Preservation Issues

Following is a list and short description of historic preservation issues identified by the general public, HRAC, and the planning team of CBJ Staff and volunteers.

Confidentiality of Pre-historic and Historic Information: Often pre-historic and historic information must be held confidential to protect the resource. This can be especially true in regards to specific locations of archaeological discoveries. There is a need to develop procedures for protecting sensitive information yet make it available for research critical to the understanding of the resources in the community.

Impacts of Development: In recent years the community has grown in population and a severe shortage of housing has caused increased development along with redevelopment in historic neighborhoods. As traffic patterns increase and change, development of new transportation corridors has the potential to impact historic and archaeological resources. With increased pressure for commercial space in the core of downtown many, residents are relocating out of downtown thus the historic fabric of downtown is being lost and many shops close in winter creating a seasonal ghost town.

Impacts of Tourism: The rapid growth of the tourism industry in Juneau has caused concern for many long time citizens in the community. The issues raised range from traffic congestion to overcrowding on remote trails. Many are concerned that new development is detracting from the historic nature of the downtown area and/or that resources are re-focused to benefit tourism instead of local residents.

Intrusion into Historic Neighborhoods: The trend toward larger homes often results in additions to existing historic buildings or the replacement of historic buildings which often are out of scale with the surrounding historic neighborhood character.

Lack of Knowledge and Appreciation: There seems to be a general lack of knowledge and appreciation of the value of historic preservation in the community. With past efforts of historic preservation studies and projects this has improved but generally with a limited part of the community.

Modern Building Codes: Modern building codes often impact the ability to restore historic buildings to their former character.

Native Culture: A host of issues arise relative to preserving native culture. Modern day lifestyles have impacted traditional ways such as language, customs, art, story telling, etc. Native organizations, specific government educational programs, and certain school curricula attempt to teach the younger generations about traditional ways. The approach has been somewhat piecemeal however. It has been suggested that an effort be made to re-construct the original Auk Village at the US Forest Service’s Auke Recreation site as a traditional village learning camp and tourist education center. The concept would create a comprehensive centralized location for sharing and experiencing the traditional Tlingit lifestyles.

Place Names: Prior to contact with the outside world, Tlingit people had specific names for various places and features of the area such as rivers, mountains, harbors, and villages. Most of these names have been lost to the general populace as they were given new names by early explorers such as Captain Vancouver. Often the new names recognized post contact events and significant individuals. The loss of the traditional names represent a concern to the Native community as they try to reinforce their culture amongst their people and within the community.

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