The Rotchev House is the only original building left at Fort Ross.  In fact, it is the only Russian-era building built by Russian Settlers left in North America, outside of Alaska, that is.  When we visited, the exterior was being refurbished, so I was unable to get a good photo.  However, this one was in the public domain.

Here I am, exiting the Rotchev house.  The house was home to the last Commander of the fort, Alexander Rotchev, and his wife, Yelena Pavlovna (formerly Princess Yelena Pavlovna Gagarina).  Yelena was a member of the nobility before her marriage, though she had to give up her title to marry Rotchev.  She was a very elegant hostess, and her home was well furnished, with beautiful wallpaper and Turkish rugs.

These days, the wallpaper and rugs and original furnishings did not survive the various changes of ownership, etc, that the fort has endured.  Instead, the furniture is all either reproduction or other antiques of the period.  All the original pieces are in the museum near the gift shop.  However, the exhibits do give a good sense of what the Rotchev House was once like.

One thing the Rotchev family was famous for was their piano and a score of Mozart, which Yelena and her daughters would play.  In this room, the restoration included wall coverings of the type found in other Russian homes of the time period.

When the Russians left the Fort, Rotchev and his wife returned to Russia, abandoning their beloved home in California.  They eventually separated.


The Rotchev House: Home of the Last Manager of Fort Ross/Дом А. Г. Ротчева — последнего правителя селения и крепости Росс Edited by Lyn Kalani, Natalia Gubina, and Reyza Sarjan Holt (bilingual book, English/Russian, published by Minuteman Press, Berkeley, CA)

Fort Ross: The Rotchev House

All photos taken by my father and me, except for the first, which is in the public domain.