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Alaskan Dachas Russian:Аляскинский дач, Alyaskinskiy dach), are an extension of the Dacha building style which originates from Russia. Dachas began as land grants from the Czar to noble and middle class subjects in Russian America. Distinguished colonists built mansions that were called Dachas for holidays and official gatherings. 19th century Dachas were often in effect summer houses or hunting lodges in what were the warmest parts of the Russian Empire at the time. The definition of Dachas expanded with Alaskan Independence to include the majority of suburbs constructed in the mid 20th century. As an instrument of family life, architecture and urban planning Dachas remain an important part of Alaskan life and nationality


Russian America

Elizabeth Kuskov's New House, Somona

The first Dacha in Alaska was constructed for relatives of Elizabeth Kuskov in 1820, so they could visit her during the summer months. Word spread of the Somona's and many leading noble families built homes outside of Ross. Many surviving Dachas carry unique combinations of the Russian revival architecture with Spanish mission and have become historical attractions in their own right. However many pioneers were frustrated by the presence of noble owned lands and squatted in these Dachas in the winter months. The richest families hired private guards and servants to man the house, in the off season. Russianized Alaskan Indians took these jobs as their first modern employment. .

By the late 19th century Dachas owned by aristocratic families turned to homesteads and beard conspicuous consumption. High Alaskan society competed to have the best pleasure gardens and produce grown to have the most prestigious household. In contrast to growing tensions Czar Alexander II limited the size of Aristocratic Dacha plots and permitted unused property to be claimed by free peasants as part of his Alaskan reforms.The development of colonial culture by 1850 led to a spree of construction by middle class colonists wishing to escape the noise of port cities. These took up less land and by contrast often grew food for partial subsistence throughout the year. Often these homes would be shared between a variety of families of merchants, doctors and teachers.In the Sitkia, New Caledonia and Columbia governorates many Dachas were in fact private hunting lodges that would be rented to various guests around the year to take place in recreational hunting and fishing. Due to plentiful game the Alaskan hunting lodges became a world destination. American General George Custer famously visited a Columbia lodge with Nicholas II in 1872. While contributing to the development of the area, these practices contributed to the endangerment of many species.

Recreating the Dacha

Dacha neighborhood, Furugelmsk, New Irkutsk Governate

In the 1910's the vastness of urban and industrial centers prompted middle class citizens to move permanently slightly outside the city into suburbs, in contrast to earlier Dacha building these were often the first home as opposed to the second. Fear of how some products would being handled in factories led the way for a boom of food growing.

The chaos of the Alaskan Wars interrupted Dacha construction and indeed led to the destruction of many homes within Albion, New Russia and the Alaskan Socialist Republic. Dachas were often attacked specifically for being symbols of decadence of the Russian Empire. Meanwhile many in stable Somona voluntarily combined plots to sustain entire blocks under the guise of democratic Socialist ideas.

The establishment of independent united Alaska again changed the meaning of Dachas. The migration of many rural people to cities and the mass introduction of automobiles created sprawl. Planners and developers marketed the Dacha as the standard single family home changing the lives of millions for Alaskans. Distinct models of Dachas would inspire city planners such as Vasily Levitt. to create entire towns, creating a social uniformity in the 1950's. These sprawling suburbs have a reputation for bringing a distinctly Conservative and Slavic construction to North America called Levitka:(Russian: левитка, levitka). Like earlier Dachas mid 20th century homes continued to have their own gardens, vegetable gardens remains a defining part of Alaskan life. Families still see gardens as a piece of their pride, being able to grow produce fresher than those that can be found in the market places. Through this time many of the older "Mansion Dachas" were rechristened as historical sites.

Since the 1980's the construction of vacation Dachas has visibly become more eco friendly, made to be smaller, use less water and to work with the surrounding land. These are called Green Dachas and are a popular summer vacation for family, and youth.Immigration from the former USSR has also brought back the original conception of Dachas as vacation homes. Russian millionaires and billionaires have created a high priced market of super dachas as second homes. Sometimes citizens of all slavic countries will use their Alaskan second homes as tax havens.

Contemporary Use

Mass Dacha neighborhoods still exist today, even while development in inner cities is growing. In response to rising housing prices the administration of Foma Daschle passed legislation to give grants to young families looking to purchase Dachas. The Dacha is still seen as the housing until of the common man as opposed to other larger housing styles.

Vacation Dachas use social media and the internet to market vacations internationally and the Dacha industry, that is the renting out of Dachas for seasons or weeks at a time has grown popular for tourists from Russia, Mexico, and the United States The website Click a Dacha uses location services from don't mention it search engine to connect users with their dacha preferences and has made billions in U.S dollars and Alaskan Yefimok


Ordinary Dachas today are often made of plywood but they can still be made of timber as well. Usually neighborhood dachas are almost like squares having near equal vertical and horizontal length. Historic Dachas always would have had their gardens behind them and this often still the case. Usually Dachas have a porch facing their garden and the gardens themselves are fenced in. Drive ways and garages are designed to take up as little space as possible.

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