Russian-American historical and cultural heritage

Unalaska, 1816 Unalaska, Russian Church

FIRST RUSSIAN SETTLEMENT
(1772)

In 1759 Russian explorer Stephan Glotov landed at Unalaska in the Aleutian islands chain. In 1772 another Russian explorer Ivan Soloviev established there the first permanent settlement (at Aleut village of Iliulluk). Under the Russians, Unalaska quickly became the main trading center in the Aleutians and was crucial in the upcoming Russian-American Company.

In 1825 the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Ascension of Christ was constructed, one of the oldest cruciform-style Russian churches in the country. Today it is a National Historic Landmark and houses one of Alaska's largest and richest collections of Russian artifacts, religious icons and art pieces, some having been donated to the church directly from Catherine the Great.

After the American purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, further development took place. New buildings included a Methodist mission and orphanage, and the headquarters for a considerable fleet of United States revenue cutters which patrolled the sealing grounds of the Pribilof Islands. The first public school in Unalaska opened in 1883.

On June 3, 1942, Unalaska was attacked by the Japanese. The Russian Orthodox Church was nearly destroyed by evacuating U.S. Army troops but restored after the war.

Nowadays Unalaska is a rapidly-growing and culturally diversified community properly caring of its historical and cultural heritage.

Kodiak Island

RUSSIAN SETTLEMENT
on Kodiak island
(1784)

First to discover Kodiak Island in 1753 was Russian fur trader, Stephen Glotov. The first permanent Russian settlement there was established by another trader, Grigory Shelikhov, on Three Saints Bay in 1784.

According to notes made by Russian traders, three ships departed from Okhotsk carrying 192 men along with Shelikhov, his wife, and two children in August 1783. One ship was lost at sea, and the two other vessels sailed south out of the Sea of Okhotsk and then north along the Kurile Islands until they reached Bering Island in the Bering Sea. The expedition rested there for the winter. Finally, the two ships arrived at Kodiak Island in August of 1784.

During the first few days of the Russian presence in the bay of Kodiak, two Aleut men approached Shelikhov’s ship. He wrote that he and his men welcomed them "with signs of friendship" and, as a sign of good faith, offered them items such as glass beads, tobacco, and, perhaps, needles, with which the people of Kodiak would have been familiar either from earlier Russian arrivals, or through trade with their neighbors.

In 1793 the Russians decided to move the capital of their colony from Three Saints Bay to the northern part of Kodiak. They established a new center of government, which they named Pavlov Harbor, at the site of today's city of Kodiak. Pavlov Harbor's central position in the colonial empire lasted until 1808. A contingent of Russian Orthodox clergy arrived in Kodiak in 1794 to convert Alaskan Natives to Christianity. A lasting legacy of the Russian era is the Russian Orthodox religion.

Today, Kodiak is the busiest fishing port in the Gulf of Alaska, best known for its salmon and crab. The major parts of the population are members of the native Koniaga tribe, or descendants of Russian fur traders who appeared on the scene in the 18th century.

Novoarchangelsk (Sitha) – capital of Russian America Modern Sitha

NOVOARCHANGELSK,
the capital city of Russian America
(1799)

In 1799 the Russian-American Company constructed Fort Saint Michael (Mikhailovsk), in the Southeast of Alaska. Alexander Baranov, manager of the company at the time, bought the land from the Tlingit tribe. But in 1802, while Baranov was away, Tlingits attacked and destroyed Mikhailovsk. Baranov returned and was forced to build a new settlement − the city of New Archangel, or Novoarchangelsk (now – Sitka) on the ruins of Mikhailovsk.

Named after the Baranov's hometown of Arkhangelsk (which prior to the 20th century had been commonly known in English as "Archangel") it became the headquarters of the Russian-American Company in 1804.

During the mid-1800s, Novoarchangelsk was the major port on the north Pacific coast, with ships calling from many nations. Furs destined for European and Asian markets were the main export, but salmon, lumber, and ice were also exported to Hawaii, Mexico, and California.

Although the original impetus for colonizing Alaska was the fur trade, the Russian Orthodox Church had probably the greatest lasting impact on the people of Alaska, helping to create a multicultural Orthodox community that exists to this day. The Cathedral of St. Michael, which was built in Novoarchangelsk in 1848, became the seat of the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands, and Alaska. The original church burnt to the ground in 1966, but was restored to its original appearance.

The Common School of Russian-American colonies with English and German language classes were opened in Novoarchangelsk in 1859.

Novoarchangelsk became part of USA, when the Russian possessions in North America were sold to the America on the 30-th of October 1867.

Fairbanks Memorial

MEMORIAL HONORING SOVIET AND AMERICAN PILOTS,
Fairbanks, Alaska

The monument to the American and Soviet pilots, who flew aircraft from continental United States to Siberia via Alaska as part of the Lend-Lease, is located in Griffin Park in downtown Fairbanks. The 16- to 18-foot-high bronze sculpture designed by R.T.Wallen features statues of an American and Soviet pilots, the propeller of a P-39 Airacobra airplane, and a map of the lend-lease flight route from Great Falls, Mont., and across Alaska to the Russian battlefronts.

The memorial is inscribed:

Alaska
Siberia
WWII

The structure of world peace cannot be the
work of one man, or one party, or one
nation... it must be a peace which rests on
The cooperative effort of the whole world.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 1, 1945
Address to Congress on the Yalta Conference.

From plaque:
We Flew In The Same Sky
The Alaska-Siberia Airway − 1942-1945

The heroism of American and Soviet pilots who flew these warplanes from the United States to the Soviet Union during World War II is commemorated in this monument. The experience of cooperation during the WWII is a great example for the new generations and should not be forgotten, but preserved.

The Fort Richardson cemetery

SOVIET PILOTS GRAVES AT FORT RICHARDSON CEMETERY,
Anchorage, Alaska

During the Second World War Soviet pilots were jointly trained with Americans in The Lend-Lease Program in Fairbanks. In the program, nearly 8,000 aircraft and numerous other supplies were ferried to the Eastern front from the Lower 48, over Canada and to Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright, Alaska) where over 300 Russian pilots flew the planes over the Bering Strait and east to Russia.

From the “Report about the Soviet pilots who died in Alaska in 1942-1945 years”, taken by E. G. Radominov, head of “Alaska-Siberia” section in Soviet Committee of War Veterans: “Within 45 years we did not have any information about the graves of our pilots, buried in Alaska”. In May − June 1990, when delegation of the SCWV visited Alaska, it turned out that all fallen Soviet officers, buried in Fairbanks and Nome, were reburied in Fort Richardson, few kilometers from Anchorage, by the order of U. S. administration of Alaska National Cemetery on 22nd of October, 1946. Fallen soldiers and deceased war veterans of Alaska were buried in this cemetery; a separated section was allocated for Soviet graves. Standard tombstone on every grave, an inscription data about buried person on the tombstone: first name, middle initials, last name, rank, country, Air Force relation, death date. The cemetery was contained in a perfect purity and order.

In 2011 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on the promotion of Virginia Walker, director of Fort Richardson National Cemetery. It was said in the decree that “she made a major contribution to the preservation and improvement of military burials of Soviet citizens in the United States”.

Fort Elisabeth, Kauai, Hawaii

FORT ELIZABETH,
the Russian outpost on Kauai island
(1816-1817)

The late 1700s and early 1800s were a time of huge cultural changes around the Pacific, from Australia to Alaska. The Russian-American Company was granted a trading monopoly in coastal Alaska, replacing the independent traders who had been operating in the Aleutian islands since 1745. These and other changes led to establishment of three Russian forts on the island of Kauai (Hawaii). The only physical evidence of the venture today are the ruins at the site of one of those forts − Fort Elizabeth, named after the Empress of Russia, Elizaveta Alexeievna.

The story begins with the role of Georg Anton Schaeffer, a German physician and agent of the Russian-American Company who arrived in Kauai in 1815. He negotiated with its king, Kaumualii, a favorable agreement with Russia and the Company. After that, Schaeffer supervised the constructions of the forts on Kauai.

Despite the rapid flowering of the Russian outpost, it was very short-lived − before the year was out, the natives had revolted, burning a distillery which had just been built, and killing one of the Aleut workers. By 1820, the Russian American Company had given up on Hawaii, and was obtaining supplies from Fort Ross, as well as American and British traders who were working along the Pacific Northwest coast.

What do we know about the construction of Fort Elizabeth? According to history, it was mostly built out of stone, which was atypical, since the other outposts of the Russian American Company were all built in “traditional” style, in wood.

At Waimea Bay, the remnants of Fort Elizabeth are preserved within a State of Hawaii historical park. Red dirt and earthen walls are the only remnants of the last known fortress that brought alliance between Hawaii and Russia back in 1817. Its history is summarized into four informational plaques located at the center where the fort once was.

Fort Ross, 1828 Fort Ross Chapel

FORT-ROSS
Russian settlement
(1812)

As a growing empire, Russia played an important, leading role in the development of the Western hemisphere. The expansion into the North American continent started with a massive scientific and trade expedition to Alaska in 1741. The Fur trade between Russians and natives was established, and first permanent settlements began to appear. By the early 19th century, The Russian-American Company successfully competed with British and American fur-trading interests.

Due to the very short growing season in Alaska, Russian colonists could not produce their own food in their new settlements. Thereby the officials of the Company insisted on establishing the settlement along the more temperate shores of California, because it could serve both as a source of food and a base for exploiting the abundant sea otters in the region. To that end, a large party of Russians and Aleuts sailed for California where they established Fort Ross on the coast north of San Francisco.

Founded by Commerce Counselor Ivan Kuskov of the Russian-American Company in 1808, Fort Ross (originally known as Rumyantsev Fort), marks the southernmost boundary of Russian settlements in North America. For the first time, the main goal of the settlement was to supply the Alaskan colonies with food and hunt fur-bearing sea otters. Kuskov needed to send highly profitable otter furs to Russia and he had to plant crops to feed the Alaskan colonies that were starving.

Later on Fort Ross began to function as a defensive fortress with 41 cannons. The flag over the fort was raised on August 13, 1812. Although the fort had the appearance of a military installation, it was never involved in warfare. For three decades, Russian colonists lived and intermarried with Native Americans, traded with Spain and the United States, and made a living through agriculture, otter-hunting and shipbuilding.

In 1820s, however, Fort Ross proved unable to fulfill either of its expected functions for very long. The American history of the site began in 1841, when Russians sold the fort to John Sutter of Gold Rush fame. The area served as ranch land for more than 60 years, until California designated it as a state historic park in 1906. By that time, the colony’s remaining structures had fallen into disrepair, and most of the buildings visitors see today are 20th-century reconstructions.

Speaking of the fort structure, on the perimeter it is defended by a stockade built redwood timber. The inner part consists of barracks, officers’ quarters, and a small, unadorned Russian Orthodox chapel with a simple belfry. The only original building from the Russian era is the home of the colony’s last manager, Alexander Rotchev. It has survived a patchwork of additions, a second life as a hotel and a 1971 arson fire.

Although it is thousands of miles from the motherland, for many of California’s Russian-Americans it feels like a link to their native soil. It was these devotees who struck up a call to preserve Fort Ross. Thanks for the efforts of the officials, Fort Ross was reconstructed several times and still stands his ground. It is now a part of Fort Ross State Historic Park, open to public. The park attracts thousands of visitors annually.

General Basil Turchin General Turchin’ grave

GRAVE OF GENERAL IVAN TURCHANINOV
(John Basil Turchin, 1821-1901),
Mound City, Illinois

Ivan Vasilyevich Turchaninov (1821 – 1901), known also by his Americanized name John Basil Turchin, was a Union army brigadier general in the American Civil War. He led two critical charges that saved the day at Chickamauga and was among the first to lead soldiers up Missionary Ridge.

Turchaninov was born in the Russian Empire, served as a Colonel in the Russian Army and fought in the Crimean War. In 1856 he immigrated to the United States, where he settled in Chicago and worked for the Illinois Central Railroad.

With the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Union army and became the colonel of the 19th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment which he quickly disciplined into a well-drilled unit. He wrote the manual Brigade Drill. With his wife by his side even in the field, Turchin led the 19th in Missouri, Kentucky, and Alabama. In December 1861 he was given command of the 8th Brigade in the Army of the Ohio.

In 1862 he was court-martialed (for allegedly encouraging his troops to plunder the captured towns). However, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Turchin to brigadier general and he was given command of a new brigade. He distinguished himself during the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, and in the Atlanta Campaign.

Turchin's wife always stood by him and followed her husband on the field during his campaigns, witnessing the battles and writing the only woman's war diary of the military campaigns.

The song “Turchin's got your mule” was popular during the war.

Turchin resigned on October 4, 1864. Returned to Chicago, he worked as a patent solicitor and engineer before he died at the age of 79. He is buried next to his wife in the Mound City National Cemetery in Southern Illinois.

Negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth (1905). From left to right: The Russians at far side of table are Korostovetz, Nabokov, Witte, Rosen, Plancon and the Japanese at near side of table are Adachi, Ochiai, Komura, Takahira, Satō Portsmouth Treaty The building of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where the negotiations were held Postcards issued to mark the signing of the Portsmouth Treaty

PLACE OF SIGNING OF RUSSIA – JAPAN PEACE TREATY
September 5, 1905. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The Treaty of Portsmouth which formally ended the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese Wart was signed on September 5, 1905 after talks hosted by the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt invited both countries to a Peace conference at the neutral site of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

That was the first international treaty to be signed in the United States.

It was signed by Sergei Witte and Roman Rosen for Russia, and Komura Jutarō and Takahira Kogorō for Japan. President Theodore Roosevelt's back channel diplomacy was an essential factor in organizing peace conference.

In 1994 the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum was created by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire to commemorate the Portsmouth Peace Treaty with the meetings between American, Japanese and Russian scholars and diplomats. The Forum was designed to explore from the Japanese, Russian and American perspectives the history of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and its relevance to current international issues. The Treaty is considered one of the most powerful symbols of peace in the Northern Pacific region and the most significant, shared history event for Japan, Russia, and the United States.

The Treaty also exemplifies the ability of local citizens to mediate informally international disputes. In August 1905 the people of Portsmouth fostered goodwill between Russian and Japanese Delegates during the critical peace negotiations.

The Forum provides modern scholarship on international problems in the "spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty" to study the Treaty as an example of multi-track diplomacy.

In 2005 when the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth was celebrated a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Memorial Project was launched. This project included opening of a permanently functioning exhibition dedicated to the Portsmouth Treaty, organizing various cultural events, planting cherry trees donated by the Japanese Government.

One of the principal objectives of the Forum and Memorial Project is to celebrate the 110-th anniversary of the Treaty in 2015.

Transpolar Flight Monument at Pearson Airfield

TRANSPOLAR FLIGHT MONUMENT AND AIR MUSEUM AT PEARSON AIRFIELD
Vancouver, Washington

Transpolar Flight (June 18-20, 1937) from Moscow to Vancouver is one of the most important events in the world aviation history. Valery Chkalov and other members of Tupolev ANT-25 crew (co-pilot Georgy Baidukov and navigator Aleksander Belyakov) gained fame in the United States and all over the world. They were the first to cover a distance of 8,811 kilometers (5,475 miles) in a non-stop flight. They pioneered the polar air route from Europe to the American Pacific Coast.

While Vancouver was not their planned final destination, a critically low fuel tank forced the crew to search for a place to safely land and to protect the plane from eager souvenir hunters. Pearson Airfield was the closest and best solution.

Crowds of cheering spectators were anxious to see Chkalov and his mates. Warm reception at the airfield was just a prelude to a meticulously planned, month-long tour of the United States that lay ahead of the Soviet aviators. They quickly became popular and were praised by the American press. The festivities reached their height with a specially organized parade in New York City and a visit with US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House.

The daring record of the Soviet aviators was commemorated in 1975 with the erection of a large monument at Pearson Airfield in Vancouver, Washington. This is the first monument to commemorate a Russian accomplishment on U.S. soil. Additionally, street in Vancouver, Washington, has been given the name Chkalov Drive since the 1970s. Part of the Pearson Aviation Museum which was set up in the early 1990s is dedicated to Valery Chkalov and Transpolar Flight.

Russian Society of Cadets and Veterans Russian Center in San-Francisko

MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN CADETS AND VETERANS
MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN CULTURE
San-Francisko, California

San Francisco’s Russian heritage may not be the first thing to come to mind when people speak of the city by the bay, but the area’s Russian roots run deep and include several Orthodox churches, a Museum of Cadets and Veterans of World War I and a Museum of Russian Culture.

The very first Russian military organization abroad, Russian Society of Cadets and Veterans of the Great War, was founded in San Francisco in 1924. It consisted of militaries who arrived in the U. S. mainly from the Far East. The Society was founded at the initiative of Colonel N. A. Herzen-Vinogradski and his artillery officers squad.

In March 1925 the library was opened. The first chairman of the Society General A. P. Budberg donated his own book collection, encouraging the foundation of the librarian community. Many books have been donated by friends and members of society. A large number of Russian military foreign periodicals is collected in this library, for example “Society of Veterans' messenger” and “Our news”.

In 1944, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Society a Military Museum was opened and its members started collecting the exhibits. Their tasks included collecting museum artifacts related to the history of the Russian armed forces and the White movement. For this purpose, special departments in the museum were organized (military, marine, aviation, White resistance, archive). The exhibits include 100-year-old uniforms, regiment books, old photos, honors, medals, revolvers, information about how many Cadet Corps existed in Russia and abroad.

Members of the Society are present in all the patriotic and national endeavors, like the Culture Day and other events. They take an active part in raising funds to help the Russian military invalids.

***

The Russian Culture Museum was founded in 1939 by Russian immigrants in order to preserve their rich cultural heritage. In 1953 it was incorporated in The Russian Center as an independent cultural non-profit corporation. Annually it produces many cultural activities including operas, dance concerts, folk dance classes, social gatherings and lectures.

The most important aims of the Russian Cultural Museum are to promote Russian culture and collect materials about its influence on American culture, to collect and safeguard materials about Americans of Russian descent who made significant contributions to American culture, technology, or society, to make these materials available to persons conducting research in Russian history or culture.

Sergei Rachmaninov Rachmaninov's home in Beverly Hills

SERGEY RACHMANINOV’S HOME
Beverly Hills, Los-Angeles, California

Sergei Rachmaninov was a famous Russian composer and pianist who emigrated after 1917.

He was born on April 2, 1873, on a large estate Semyonovo near Novgorod, Russia. He was the fourth of six children born to a noble family, and lived in a family estate. He began to study music in early childhood with his mother and continued at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Already, in his young age, he showed great skill in composition.

In 1893 Rachmaninov's opera “Gypsies” was promoted to the Bolshoi theater by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the great composer of the time.

In 1909 Rachmaninov visited the United States. He played his Third Piano Concerto with the New York Symphony Orchestra and conducted the Boston Orchestra, as well as the New York Philharmonic. He was offered the post of conductor of the Boston Symphony but declined.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the destruction of his estate forced him to emigrate in U. S. On December 23, 1917, Rachmaninov left Russia and made over a hundred recordings, gave over one thousand concerts in America alone between 1918 and 1943. His concert performances were inimitable, and he was highly regarded as a virtuoso-pianist with great talent and expressiveness. During the 1930s and 1940s, he remained one of the highest paid concert stars.

Rachmaninov’s last recital, given on 17 February, 1943 at the University of Tennessee Alumni Gymnasium, prophetically featured Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat Minor which contains the famous funeral march. A statue commemorating Rachmaninov's last concert stands in the World's Fair Park in Knoxville, TN.

Rachmaninov's life was not happy one. Though he had found a new home in America, he always felt strong melancholy for Russia, which he was forced to leave.

Rachmaninov died on March 28, 1943, in his own house on Beverly Hills, California, just four days before his 70th birthday from melanoma. But his tomb is located in the cemetery of Kensiko town in New York State. There are many graves of famous writers, actors, musicians and public figures.

Rachmaninov's burial was made with respect of Russian tradition: living plants near his gravestone and an Orthodox Cross over the grave. There is a large lilac bush, Rachmaninov's favourite flower, planted nearby.

“He was buried according to sacramentals of the Russian Orthodox Church − said 93-year-old Henry Steinway, President of Steinway & Sons (the largest world-class company, producing pianos and piano, auth.), who often met Rachmaninov and his family in New York. − I must admit that Rachmaninov was depressed by separation from his homeland, he always considered himself a Russian, son of his country, who found a temporary refuge in America". All researchers and biographers unanimously assert that Rachmaninov's only desire was to return home and to be buried in his native ground.

Kensico cemetery Grave of Sergei Rachmaninoff

SERGEY RACHMANINOV’S GRAVE
Kensiko, New York

Sergei Rachmaninov was a famous Russian composer and pianist who emigrated after 1917.

He was born on April 2, 1873, on a large estate Semyonovo near Novgorod, Russia. He was the fourth of six children born to a noble family, and lived in a family estate. He began to study music in early childhood with his mother and continued at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Already, in his young age, he showed great skill in composition.

In 1893 Rachmaninov's opera “Gypsies” was promoted to the Bolshoi theater by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the great composer of the time.

In 1909 Rachmaninov visited the United States. He played his Third Piano Concerto with the New York Symphony Orchestra and conducted the Boston Orchestra, as well as the New York Philharmonic. He was offered the post of conductor of the Boston Symphony but declined.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the destruction of his estate forced him to emigrate in U. S. On December 23, 1917, Rachmaninov left Russia and made over a hundred recordings, gave over one thousand concerts in America alone between 1918 and 1943. His concert performances were inimitable, and he was highly regarded as a virtuoso-pianist with great talent and expressiveness. During the 1930s and 1940s, he remained one of the highest paid concert stars.

Rachmaninov’s last recital, given on 17 February, 1943 at the University of Tennessee Alumni Gymnasium, prophetically featured Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat Minor which contains the famous funeral march. A statue commemorating Rachmaninov's last concert stands in the World's Fair Park in Knoxville, TN.

Rachmaninov's life was not happy one. Though he had found a new home in America, he always felt strong melancholy for Russia, which he was forced to leave.

Rachmaninov died on March 28, 1943, in his own house on Beverly Hills, California, just four days before his 70th birthday from melanoma. But his tomb is located in the cemetery of Kensiko town in New York State. There are many graves of famous writers, actors, musicians and public figures.

Rachmaninov's burial was made with respect of Russian tradition: living plants near his gravestone and an Orthodox Cross over the grave. There is a large lilac bush, Rachmaninov's favourite flower, planted nearby.

“He was buried according to sacramentals of the Russian Orthodox Church − said 93-year-old Henry Steinway, President of Steinway & Sons (the largest world-class company, producing pianos and piano, auth.), who often met Rachmaninov and his family in New York. − I must admit that Rachmaninov was depressed by separation from his homeland, he always considered himself a Russian, son of his country, who found a temporary refuge in America". All researchers and biographers unanimously assert that Rachmaninov's only desire was to return home and to be buried in his native ground.

Igor Sikorsky Orthodox Church of Nikolai Chudotvorets Sikorsky Plaque

IGOR SIKORSKY MEMORIAL PLAQUE
Orthodox Church of Nikolai Chudotvorets, Chester, Pennsylvania

Igor Sikorsky’s name is widely known throughout the world. During his lifetime Sikorsky was awarded numerous honorary ranks and prizes, but his main reward were grateful people, who started to use his aircraft widely. Presidents of the United States were among them, and starting with Dwight Eisenhower, they put an inscription on board of their helicopters: “Sikorsky”.

Born in Kiev on May 25, 1889 Igor was the fifth child in the family of Ivan's Sikorsky, MD, Professor of Kiev University named after St. Vladimir. Devotion to the Church, the Throne and Homeland was the heirloom of Sikorsky family.

The first success in aircrafting came to Sikorsky during spring of 1911, when he built his C-5 biplane, surpassing the previous models in size, capacity and reliability. His further achievements changed each other with kaleidoscopic speed.

The Revolution of February 1917 affected the fate of Sikorsky. By the summer he stopped the construction of all models, as the workers went on strike. Igor accepted the invitation of the French government to continue to work in the factories allies. But World War was coming to an end, and in 1919 he moved to the United States.

In New York, left without any support, Sikorsky was forced to work as a teacher at evening school. Only in 1923 he was able to gather a group of associates − engineers, workers and pilots − and create a small aircraft firm "Sikorsky Aeroinzheniring Corporation”. The company was sponsored by many Russian emigrants. Later on it was renamed to "Sikorsky Aviation Corporation" and received a lot of contracts. The company moved from Long Island to its own facility in Stratford (Connecticut).

The existence of Sikorsky’s company in Stratford contributed to the emergence of a powerful Russian colony in the city. Emigrants built Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, a club, school and even Russian opera. Till the end of his life, Sikorsky remained one of the most respected citizens.

Church of St. Nicholas is the oldest Orthodox Church of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Since its incorporation in 1927, the church has been celebrating Divine Services every week. Today the parish is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA of the Moscow Patriarchate. There is a memorial plaque devoted to Sikorsky on the wall of the church – engineer of human souls, and without any doubts, the ancestor of aircraft and helicopter construction.

Igor Sikorsky lived several amazing lives in the eyes of his generation. He managed to achieve unexpected progress in engineering and brought global aviation to a new level. Much of his heritage served for the benefit and glory of the United States. But he always remained a patriot of his Motherland.

Sikorsky Airport

SIKORSKY MEMORIAL AIRPORT,
Fairfield County, Connecticut

Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport is a public airport in Fairfield County, Connecticut, owned by the city of Bridgeport. It is three miles (6 km) southeast of downtown, in the town of Stratford. It was formerly Bridgeport Municipal Airport.

The airport was originally Avon Field, a racetrack where aircraft landed on the grass infield. It was the site of the country's first air show held in 1911, on the grounds of what is now St. Michaels Cemetery. It became known as Mollison Field after Captain Jim Mollison's crash landing there in 1933 during an attempt to fly across the Atlantic. The City of Bridgeport purchased the airport in 1937, after which it became Bridgeport Municipal Airport.

This airfield became known when U. S. President John Kennedy gave a speech here on October 17, 1962. In 1972 it was rededicated as the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport, honoring the airport's most famous tenant, Igor Sikorsky, famous Russian aircrafter and designer, who selected Stratford as the site for his Sikorsky Aviation Corporation in 1929.

Today Sikorsky memorial airport is a civil state airfield, owned by the city of Bridgeport. It covers an area of 324 hectares. Airport has two runways with asphalt coating, length 1451 and 1426 meters, as well as a helipad measuring 12 x 12 meters.

The first flights of big airplanes, the first original of design multiengine heavy aircraft, the first "flying boat" and amphibians, classic single-rotor helicopters schemes and much more became possible thanks to the talent Sikorsky, "father of multiengine aircraft".

This talented man devoted his life to aircraft design firstly in Russia, and then in the United States. He was awarded numerous prizes and awards, received many honorable achievements. In the face of Sikorsky, both countries lost one of the best designers of the first half of the twentieth century.

Hillwood Museum Exterior Front Russian collection at Hillwood

HILLWOOD MUSEUM,
Washington, D.C.

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is the former estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, American socialite and the founder of the corporation General Foods, and also the wife of the second American ambassador in the Soviet Union.

Hillwood story begins in 1955, when Marjorie purchased a mansion built in 1920. Soon she decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. The most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, 18th-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens amazed the visitors and Hillwod became one of the «most extraordinary estates» in Washington.

Post was concerned with Hillwood's fate after her death, and she bequeathed the estate, along with a $10 million endowment to the Smithsonian Institution. Her wishes were to maintain Hillwood as a museum and never use it for dining.

In 1977 Hillwood was opened as a public institution, and the visitors could personally admire the mansion, the gardens and interior collections.

The museum owns collection of more than 17,000 artifacts, most of them were created in Russia or in some way connected with it. Paintings of XVIII-XIX centuries and porcelain, Fabergé eggs, Orthodox icons and objects connected with the church decorations reveals the power and patronage that marked the reign of Catherine the Great, one of Russia’s foremost art collectors and shrewdest political and cultural leaders. Among the highlights there are full-length Portrait of Catherine II in her Russian elite finery; The Countess Samoilova and Her Foster Daughter by Karl Briullov, 1834; A Boyar Wedding Feast by Konstantin Makovsky, 1883; Imperial Easter Eggs, House of Fabergé that were gifts to Maria Fedorovna from her son Nicholas II of Russia; Felonion, Russian Orthodox liturgical vestment worn by a priest during the coronation of Nicholas II in 1896.

Today Hillwood Museum & Gardens offers a variety of programs throughout the year including lectures, garden walks, workshops, and musical and theatrical performances.

Nikolay Fechin Fechin’s House Sign Nikolay Fechin’s House

TAOS ART MUSEUM AT NICOLAI FECHIN HOUSE
Taos, New Mexico

Nicolai Ivanovich Fechin was one of the finest portrait artists of his time. He was born in Kazan, Russia. In early years he helped his father with woodcarving and enrolled in Kazan Art School at the age of 13. Then he studied in the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint-Petersburg with such notable artists as Ilya Repin and Filipp Malyavin.

In 1909 Nikolai successfully graduated and travelled to Europe. He won a gold medal at the annual International Exhibition at Munich. Incredible talent of the young talent was noticed, as Nikolai was invited to international exhibition in Carnegie institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1910.

He returned to Kazan and married Alexandra Belkovitch, the daughter of the director of the Kazan School of Art. They had a daughter Eya. But social disruption and widespread deprivation after the Russian Revolution made life difficult for the young family, as Fechin's parents died of typhoid fever, and Fechin brought his family to the art colony of Taos, New Mexico in 1927.

In the early winter of 1927, Fechins acquired the property of Dr. and Mrs. Bergman, a Dutch couple who were returning to their native Holland. The Fechins moved into the house, located on the main street of Taos, Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Fechin spent several years enlarging and modifying the house. He carved many of the fittings of the house and its furniture, using typical Russian design elements such as "triptych windows and intricately carved doors". This new house design combined modernist sensibility with Russian, Native American and Spanish traditions.

Fechin blended carefully preserved traditions from the heart of Russia with the wild and individualistic life of the American Southwest. His house represents an elegant harmony of Pueblo adobe architecture, hand-carved wood, and modernist interior design. Fechin created a masterpiece of Southwest architecture that celebrated a marriage of the arts: painting, sculpture, drawing, and metalwork.

The Fechins divorced in 1933, after which Alexandra stayed at the house until her death in 1983. Eya returned to Taos in the 1970s and began restoration of the house. She opened it to visitors beginning in 1981, under the auspices of the Fechin Institute, which she founded in her father's memory.

The house was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1979. After Eya Fechin's death in 2002, the house passed to her daughter and son-in-law. They sold it to a foundation, which established the house museum and the Taos Art Museum.

The Taos Art Museum at Fechin house opened officially in July of 2003, and welcomed the public with a reception in September, celebrating a new home in Taos for the art of Taos from Corning, New York; Orange, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Los Angeles, California. The large collection of approximately 600 paintings, drawings, and prints and other artifacts of the Taos founders and followers is the heart of the museum.

Solzhenitsyn in Vermont Solzhenitsyn's home in Cavendish Solzhenitsyn leaving Vermont

ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN’S HOME,
Cavendish, Vermont

A famous Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn came to Cavendish in 1976, shortly after denial of his Soviet citizenship and exile from the USSR. Cavendish is a small town in the woods of Vermont, surrounded by mountains. Its population never exceeded 1,500 people and Solzhenitsyn's family were part of them during their residence in Vermont.

Solzhenitsyn was a genius of Russian literature. He survived the Stalinist purges, World War II, eight years in the camps of the Gulag, the battle against cancer and persecution of communists. Solzhenitsyn was an example of courage, indomitable will, honesty and diligence.

He was born in Kislovodsk, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, on 11th December, 1918. He attended Rostov University where he studied mathematics and took a correspondence course in literature at Moscow State University.

During the Great Patriotic War Solzhenitsyn joined the Red Army and was awarded for bravery. While serving on the German front in 1945 he was arrested for criticizing Stalin in a private letter to a friend. Alexander was found guilty and sent to a Labour Camp in Kazakhstan, part of «The Gulag Archipelago», which was later chronicled in his works.

In 1956, Solzhenitsyn's case was reviewed, he was declared rehabilitated and free to return to European Russia. In 1970, the Nobel committee awarded him the literature prize, citing "the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature." Solzhenitsyn did not travel to Stockholm to receive the prize, for fear he would not be allowed back into the Soviet Union. However he was deported in 1974.

Town in Vermont became his refuge for almost two decades. Solzhenitsyn made rare appearances in town and earned a reputation as a recluse because few residents did see him, save for his neighbors. Nevertheless, townspeople still have vivid memories of his impact on their community and they have always protected his privacy, never trying to capitalize on their most famous resident.

Solzhenitsyn left Cavendish in 1994 to return to Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Shortly before his departure, he appeared once more at the annual town meeting. Speaking through an interpreter, he thanked residents for their understanding and for protecting his privacy, for their friendliness and responsiveness. After his speech 200 people who had gathered at this meeting gave him a standing ovation.

Solzhenitsyn died of heart failure on 3rd August, 2008, at the age of 89. On March 5, 2013 the authorities in Cavendish decided to create a museum of the Russian writer to "introduce the personality and works, ideology and achievements of Solzhenitsyn to unfamiliar people”.

Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville

HOLY TRINITY MONASTERY,
Jordanville, New York

Holy Trinity Monastery located in Jordanville, New York, is the main spiritual center of Russian Orthodoxy in the West. The monastery is well known for its publishing work and for the attached Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, which has educated many clergymen.

The construction of the monastery started in the 1930s and the building of a large house with a chapel and room for sixteen cells was completed it in 1935. With the development of the monastery it incorporated a new church, seminary, publishing house and cemetery.

In 2011 the Holy Trinity Monastery was included in the USA National Register of Historic Places.

Igor Stravinsky Memorial plaque in the Santa Fe Cathedral Basillica of St. Francis Assisi devoted to Igor Stravinsky

IGOR STRAVINSKY MEMORIAL PLAQUE
Cathedral Basillica of St.Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

Igor Stravinsky is widely regarded as one of the most original and influential composer of the XXth century. His compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. Stravinsky’s enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary pushed the boundaries of musical design.

Stravinsky was born in the town of Oranienbaum, Russia, on June 17, 1882. Igor began to study fortepiano music in 9 years. Once enrolled in university, Stravinsky was invited to apprentice under Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov.

Stravinsky became a professional composer at the age of 23. His early works caught the attention of Sergei Diaghilev (1872 - 1929), impresario of the famed Ballets Russe, who invited Stravinsky to compose a ballet. The result was the voluptuous and impressionistic ''The Firebird'' in 1910, followed by even more successful ''Petrushka'' in 1911. With his ballet ''The Rite of Spring'' in 1913, with its representations of prehistoric pagan Russian rituals and sacrifice, Stravinsky's music ignited the most famous riot in the history of music.

Stravinsky lived and worked in France from 1920 to 1939 and moved to the United Stated at the beginning of the Second World War.

Stravinsky's style becomes more and more ascetic and neutral, although the composer says about preserving the national origins in his work: "I have spoken

Russian all of my life, I think in Russian, my way of expressing myself is Russian. Perhaps this is not immediately apparent in my music, but it is latent there, a part of its hidden nature''.

In the fall of 1962 he toured in the USSR, conducted his own compositions in Moscow and Leningrad. It was there that he said his memorable words at the end of his career: "Every man has one birthplace, one motherland − and his birthplace is the most important factor in his life".

After a period of decline in his health, Stravinsky died at his Manhattan apartment, on April 6, 1971. Over the course of his career, he wrote more than 100 compositions, including ballets, symphonies, operas, concertos and sonatas. Best works of Stravinsky greatly enriched the world culture and had an impact on the development of music of the XXth century.

Courtyard of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary Bells Divine services at the seminary

St. VLADIMIR’S ORTHODOX SEMINARY,
Crestwood

St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary is one of the most important Orthodox institutions in the world. It was originally founded in 1938 in New York City by a group of Russian theologian immigrants and named for Saint Vladimir, Grand Duke of Kiev. Today seminary lives to “serve Christ and His Church”, preparing future priests and church leaders for the universal Church.

Located in the Crestwood, only 30 minutes north of the cultural and educational resources of New York City, the seminary’s 12-acre campus includes a chapel, classroom buildings, library, administrative and faculty offices, bookstore, dormitories, and refectory.

St. Vladimir’s Seminary is chartered and approved by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Board of Trustees and the staff consists of bishops from American, Russian, Antiochian, Hellas, Serbian and other Orthodox Churches.

First main principle of St. Vladimir's Seminary says: liturgical life of the temple’s seminary should be aimed at supporting students in their development; the second suggests that divine services should include a special seminar program. Along with the Master of Divinity program (M.Div.), the seminary also offers the Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.) and the Master of Theology (Th.M.). Currently nearly a hundred students study in the seminary, the price for education amounts to 10 thousand dollars a year. The library holdings include 142,000 volumes and over 350 periodicals.

St. Vladimir's Seminary is multi-purpose institution (it has greatest amount of diversity of educational programs), and the spirit of the Orthodox faith and traditions is carefully preserved by generations of teachers and students of the seminary.

Museum of Russian Art, June 2014

The MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN ART,
Minneapolis

Based in Minneapolis, the Museum of Russian Art is the only one of its kind in North America. It opened its inaugural public exhibition in 2002. The museum is dedicated to the mission of promoting education, enlightenment, and engagement through the art of Russia.

Originally located in Bloomington it moved to its current location in 2005 and expanded its focus beyond 20th century art to include exhibitions on Russian icons, photography, printmaking, lacquer art, porcelain, textiles and beyond. The museum plans to continue expanding the scope of exhibition subject matter in order to advance its educational mission.

The museum enhances its continuous program of public exhibitions by sponsoring subject specific lectures, seminars, concerts, and other unique events.

Музей Николая Рериха

NICHOLAS ROERICH MUSEUM,
New York City

The Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City is the oldest museum in the world dedicated to the works of the famous Russian-born artist whose work focused on nature scenes from the Himalayas. He himself sent to the museum in the 1920s and 1930s his paintings from Sikkim, Ladakh, Mongolia and Kulu. Later the collection expanded including Roerich's works sent from various sources. Today it attracts visitors from throughout the world. The museum enhances its program of public exhibitions. lectures, seminars and other events.

RUSSIAN HISTORIC VILLAGE CHURAEVKA,
Southbury, Connecticut

The Russian Village Historic District (Churaevka) is a small self-contained community located on a heavily wooded hill in the southwest corner of Southbury, Connecticut. It was established in 1923 by Ilya Tolstoy, the son of the renown Russian writer Lev Tolstoy, as a home for Russian writers, artists and scholars. Composer Sergey Rakhmaninov, actor Michael Chekhov, choreographer Michael Fokin, artist and philosoher Nikolay Rerih and many other celebrities lived or visited this location. Russian aerounatics engineer and inventor Igor Sikorsky was one of the landowners in Churaevka.

The centerpiece of the village is the St. Sergius Radonezhsky Chapel, a rubblestone building with a hipped roof surmounted by a gilded onion dome with a double Russian Orthodox cross. It was designed by Nicholas Roerich and built in 1932-33 in the memory of the Christ the Savior Cathedral destroyed by Bolsheviks.

There are three streets with Russian names in Churaevka: Russian village Road, Kiev Drive and Tolstoy Lane. Most of the original cottages are vernacular buildings of no particular architectural style, though some owners tried to give them a sort of Russian appearance. Thus this is an interesting combination of American stylistic features and subtle influences introduced by their Russian owner/builders, such as steeply pitched roofs, dormers, and door hoods.

In 1987 a statue of an ancient Russian hero, Sviatogor, was unveiled in a public ceremony commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the St. Sergius Chapel. Representing eight years of work by Walter Ouspensky, it is located next to his house overlooking the grounds of the chapel. The statue is a visible symbol of not only the special cultural heritage that produced Churaevka but also the determination to keep the village intact. Sviatogor was the most famous of a series of legendary giants in Russia from the tenth to the twelfth century who defended Mother Russia from the invading barbarian hordes. He served the Court of Prince Vladimir in Kiev who was responsible for establishing Christianity in Russia in 988 by recognizing the Eastern Catholic religion, later known as the Russian Orthodox Church. The millennium of this event was celebrated in Churaevka in 1988.

THE MONUMENT TO ALEXANDER PUSHKIN
Washington, D.C.

The monument to Alexander Pushkin is located in Washington D.C. on the campus of George Washington University. A bronze statue by Alexander Bourganov was erected as part of a cultural exchange between the cities of Moscow and Washington. It is the first monument commemorating a Russian literary figure in the United States. The statue was completed and dedicated on September 20, 2000, as a gift from the Government of Moscow to the city of Washington, and unveiled at the ceremony addressed by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

ST. NICHOLAS CATHEDRAL
New York, New York

The Church of St. Nicholas in New York City was built in 1900-1904. The design, by John Bergesen, was of a church that followed that of typical Russian churches. Donations by Tsar Nicholas II of 7,500 rubles were among the first donations made for the construction of the new church.

ST. ANDREW’S ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL
Philadelphia

St. Andrew’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1897. It is the oldest Orthodox Christian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cathedral started as the St. Andrew’s Brotherhood that helped immigrants economically and spiritually. The Brotherhood increased and gained strength with the arrival in Philadelphia of representatives of the Russian Imperial Fleet, in 1898. At that time, a Philadelphian shipbuilding company, Cramp & Sons, received a large contract from the Russian government to build two battleships: a first rank cruiser, “Variag,” and an armor-clad, “Retvizan.”

Russian naval officers and sailors, who arrived in Philadelphia, participated actively not only in the inspection of the ships’ construction, but also in the life of the Russian community. They naturally merged with the first parishioners of our Cathedral, made generous private financial contributions, and donated beautiful sacred Icons. The Cathedral’s Royal Gates and the Altar are still decorated with Icons donated by the “Retvizan” crew.

THE ALLEY OF RUSSIAN POETS
Washington, D.C.

The Alley of Russian poets. composers and artists is located in Guy Mason Recreation Center, Washington. It has existed since 2003. The trees are dedicated to Alexander Pushkin, Anna Akhmatova, Dmitry Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Vasily Kandinsky and other renown personalities. There are marble plaques near each tree.

RUSSIAN GLORY PARK
New Jersey

Russian Glory Park in New Jersey was opened May 26, 2013 with monuments to 28 great Russian personalities — tzars, emperors, military leaders, prominent cultural and religious figures. The Glory Park is located on the territory of Russian House “Rodina”.