City and Borough of Juneau
Historic Preservation in Juneau
Downtown Historic District
Discovery of placer gold on Gold Creek in 1880 led to the creation of the town of Juneau. Although Juneau later catered to fishermen and territorial government officials, it was development of area lode gold mines in the 1890's that secured Juneaus future. Commercial establishments lined Front Street, adjacent to wharves on Gastineau Channel. More permanent structures replaced the hastily erected boom town buildings. Juneaus merchants prospered as lode gold mining operations expanded, and through the 1890's and early 1900's they invested in new buildings in town. Today, many buildings from 1883-1939 stand in Juneaus Downtown Historic District. Due partly to historic district design review standards the newly constructed buildings complement the earlier buildings in size and massing.
The neighborhood has an elongated "L" shape. The boundaries of the spine of the "L" include buildings on both sides of South Franklin Street from the old ferry terminal to Second Street where the greatest number of historic buildings are found. The base of the "L" is bounded by Second Street to the northwest, Main Street on the west, a block of Front Street to the northeast, a block of Seward Street to the south , and Shattuck Way to southeast where the boundary makes several angles to include the buildings along South Franklin Street.
The Juneau downtown buildings are an excellent representation of early twentieth century commercial architecture in small Pacific coast communities. Late Victorian, Late 19th and Early 20th Century American Movements, and Modern Movement architectural styles are represented by buildings in the Juneau Downtown Historic District which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.