Visiting the Eklutna Cemetery is a must for anybody interested in Alaskan History. The Russian Orthodox site dates back to 1650, which makes it by far one of the oldest known historical spots in the Anchorage area. And it is still used today. Russian Orthodox missions were established throughout Russian-occupied Alaska in the late 18th century during which time Natives were converted to the Russian Orthodox faith. Part of the conversion included the somewhat foreign practice of housing the dead.
More than 100 brightly colored “Spirit Houses” line the rows of the Eklutna Cemetery. They are constructed of wood and feature distinct gabled roofs and Greek crosses with comb-like ridge crests. An individual's social status determined the size of the house built and the clan affiliations were notated by the color and the styling of the crest.