The Russian Village Site – Sloboda

Most of the Russian-American Company population lived outside the fort. Only the higher ranking Russian officials and visitors lived inside. Lower-ranking Company employees and people of mixed ancestry lived in the village complex of houses and gardens that gradually developed outside the northwest stockade walls. Creoles, the children of Russians and Alaska and California Natives, formed a large part of the colony’s population. Population varied over the years. In 1836 Ioann Veniaminov reported: “Fort Ross contains 260 people: 154 male and 106 female. There are 120 Russians, 51 Creoles, 50 Kodiak Aleuts, and 39 baptized Indians.”

Vallejo in 1833 describes the village outside the fort: “The village of the establishment contains 59 large buildings… They are without order or symmetry and are arranged in a confusing and disorienting perspective. Inside the walls there are nine buildings, all of them large and attractive, including the warehouses and granaries.” In 1841 the inventory for Mr. Sutter lists buildings outside the fort: “twenty-four planked dwellings with glazed windows, a floor and a ceiling; each had a garden. There were eight sheds, eight bath houses and ten kitchens.”