Anchorage
M.P. 114.3

Anchorage, AK Time & Temp
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Current Population:  291,826 (as of 2010)
Incorporation Type: Unified Home Rule Municipality
Taxes: Sales: None; Property: 18.79 mills; 8% Accommodations Tax; Tobacco
City: Municipality of Anchorage, P.O. Box 196650, Anchorage, AK 99519, Phone 907-343-4431 , Fax 907-343-4499

Anchorage skyline

In 1741 Russian sailors led by the Dane Vitus Bering came upon Alaska's mainland. They were followed by British, Spanish and American explorers, including Captain James Cook in 1778. In 1867, Alaska was purchased by the U.S. from Russia. The discovery of gold in 1887 and in the Interior in 1922 sparked development in the area.

Construction began in 1914 on a federal railroad from the port of Seward, 126 miles south of Anchorage, through the coal fields of Interior Alaska, to the gold claims near Fairbanks, 358 miles to the north. The midpoint construction headquarters was Anchorage, and by July of 1915, thousands of job seekers and opportunists had poured into the area, living in a tent city on the banks of Ship Creek near the edge of the present downtown. That July produced the "Great Anchorage Lot Sale," a land auction that shaped the future of the city. Some 655 lots were sold for $148,000 or an average of $225 each. A month later, the town voted to call itself Alaska City, but the Federal government refused to change its name from Anchorage. By May 20, 1916,

Anchorage was already becoming a bustling town.  From 1939 to 1957, major military impacts and government construction of roads, airports and harbors throughout Alaska contributed to the growth of Anchorage.

The Port was completed by the early 1960s. The Good Friday earthquake in 1964 destroyed a large part of the city. During the 1970s, the development of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline brought rapid growth to Anchorage; population, office space and housing tripled within a ten-year period.

Anchorage at nightDuring the April 1990 U.S. Census, there were 94,153 total housing units, and 11,451 of these were vacant. 121,866 jobs were estimated to be in the community. The official unemployment rate at that time was 7%. 26.7% of all adults were not in the work force.

Anchorage is the center of commerce for the state. Oil and gas industries, finance and real estate, transportation, communications, and government agencies are headquartered in Anchorage. Numerous visitor and tourist facilities and services are available. Over 9,000 military personnel are stationed at Fort Richardson and Elmendorf AFB. Seasonal  factors contribute to a fluctuating, though low, unemployment rate. 902 residents hold commercial fishing permits. The fishing industry is not serviced from Anchorage, however. Most permit-owners fish elsewhere, such as in Bristol Bay, Kodiak or Cordova.



 
 

ARR HQ
Alaska Railroad Heaquarters Building
(click on the photo for a larger view)

Anchorage was created as a railroad construction town along Ship Creek.  In June 1915, the railroad moved its headquarters from Seward to Anchorage.  The result was Anchorage outgrew Seward and became Alaska's largest city.

The ticket station building was constructed in 1942.  The original plans called for the exterior to be a light buff color, but the Alaska Defense Command ordered it to be a dull gray to reduce its visibility as a defense measure.  On display in the parking lot is narrow gauge ARR engine #1.  Initially used in the construction of the Panama Canal, it was later given to the ARR to assist in their construction efforts.

The Anchorage Passenger Depot serves over 500,000 passengers a year.
 

1951 Depot Depot today
Depot in 1951
Depot today
(click on the photo for a larger view)

The Alaska Railroad's administration offices are located in nearby Ship Creek.

Anchorage Yard
The Anchorage railroad yard
(click on the photo for a larger view)

Click here to view an Anchorage railroad yard map

Hey, while you are here, how about riding the train?!?  First, you need to get in line to buy your ticket.  Now head out the door and catch your train before it leaves.  Wow!  What a majestic looking train!  Quick, there are a few seats left on the dome car.  Enjoy!
 
 

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Page created 4/19/00 and last updated 12/2/11