As we passed Old Sitka Rocks, we began to see suburban homes lining the waterfront boulevard–the largest structures I’d seen in two months. In this same area in 1799, the first Russian settlement on these shores, Redoubt St. Archangel Michael, was built by Alexander Baranov to support the fur trade. It was destroyed by the native Tlingit in 1802, who had a vibrant established society and were unwilling to submit to Russian control. So the Russians came back in 1804 and destroyed the Tlingit village of Sheet’ka several miles away at what is now the city center, and took over the port that is present-day Sitka. Under Russian colonization, such opulent European developments were imported that Sitka was known as the Paris of the Pacific. After a long and frosty transit, we were happy to arrive.