Soldotna, Alaska

The first stone masonry heater in Alaska? November 13, 2017

Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula
The first stone masonry heater in Alaska?, Soldotna, Alaska

In December 1865, a 20 year old George Russell Adams served as the leader of the Yukon River team of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition in Alaska, to explore the feasibility of running a telegraph line from Moscow to San Francisco. The plan was to put the line across Siberia and under the Bering Sea, then up the Yukon River basin and down through the colony of British Columbia to Washington, Oregon and California.  The expedition’s science officer was William Healey Dall, later to have Alaska’s white “Dall” mountain sheep named after him,.. but that’s another story.

The expedition established its Alaska headquarters at the coastal Russian “redoubt” outpost of St. Michael, on the south side of Norton Sound opposite Nome.  There they found the buildings comfortably heated by a large homemade wood burning furnace built of stones, bricks and locally made mortar, which the Russian’s called a “pichka.”  William Dall records in his diary that wood stoves made of iron were unknown in Russian America.  Instead, the massive stone structure of the pichka would absorb so much heat from the wood fire that even without an active fire, it would radiate warmth for the next two days, after which another fire would be built.

The pichka served both as a cooking and heating appliance,.. hmm, sounds like this Russian pichka stove was a early version of a stone masonry heater, in use more than 150 years ago in Alaska.  It apparently served much like a Tulikivi® Soapstone Masonry Heater could serve in your home today!


One wood fire each day in a Tulikivi® Soapstone Masonry Heater will store enough energy in the soapstone to radiate comfortable heat in your home for the next 24 to 36 hours.  Because the wood is burned efficiently at high heat, you will use 50% or less firewood to get the same amount of warmth in your home, and save $ on your utility bill!  Wood Heat Fire Stone is the licensed installing dealer of Tulkivi® Soapstone Masonry Heaters and Bake Ovens for Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.  For and appointment to visit our Soldotna, AK showroom call (907) 262-3106, and for more information visit our web page at .