Where the City Meets the Nature – Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, or the Municipality of Anchorage as its formally known, is a city located in the American state of Alaska. It is the largest city of the state and it makes up over forty percent of the entire state’s population. This city covers an area of nineteen hundred square miles and has a population of almost three hundred thousand resident. Prior to the nineteenth century, Alaska belonged to the Russians. In 1867, the United States Secretary of State, William H. Seward bought the region from Imperial Russia for the sum of seven million dollars. The deal was laughed at by fellow American politicians and was called “Seward’s Folly”. That is until 1888, when gold was discovered in the region. In 1912, Alaska became an official U.S. possession. In 1914, city planners began working on the layout of Anchorage. The city was established as a construction port for the Alaska Railroad. The following year, President Wilson allowed federal funds to be used for the construction of the railroad. It wasn’t long before a tent city sprung up at the railroad’s headquarters, Ship Creek Landing. The population of the town soon swelled to over two thousand people. In 1920, Anchorage was incorporated as a city.

in 1923, the Alaska Railroad was finished and it would become the heart of the city’s economy through the rest of the decade. Starting in the 1930s, air transportation became an ever increasing part of the city. Merril Field was built in 1930, and within five years it was the busiest civilian airports in the U.S. The 1940s saw an increase in military activity in the state of Alaska. Two military bases, Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base, were built and increased military investment began in the region. During the 1940s and 1950s, Anchorage began to resemble an actual city. In 1951, the Anchorage International Airport began operations and the Seward Highway was opened to the public. Not long after, the population of the city had exceeded forty-seven thousand residents. In January of 1959, Alaska became the forty-ninth state of the United States.

In the 1960s, oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay. A year after the discovery, oil rights were sold and brought billions of dollars into Alaska. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline was started in 1974 and it was finally completed in 1977 at the cost of more than eight billion dollars. The discovery of oil and the pipeline brought an economic boom to the state. As a result, oil and construction companies set up their headquarters in Anchorage. All during the 1980s, the city experienced a period of sustained growth. This period of prosperity would end by the end of the decade due to to a drop in oil prices which caused the city to go into a recession.

Today, Anchorage has an economy that depends on the military, transportation, resource extraction and tourism. Tourism in the city is fueled by its beautiful topography and by its unique collection of attractions. A popular attraction in the city is the Imaginarium Discovery Center. The Imaginarium is a science museum that is situated in the downtown area of the city, inside the Anchorage Museum. It contains eighty hands on exhibits and a planetarium. This museum handles about five thousand visitors a year.

Other attractions in the city of Anchorage:

  • SegTours of Anchorage
  • Anchorage Museum of History and Art
  • Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Prince William Sound
  • Alaska Railroad Depot
  • Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
  • Alaska Law Enforcement Museum
  • Alaska Zoo
  • Portage Glacier
  • Kincaid Park
  • Lake Hood Harbor
  • Wildride Sled Dog Rodeo

The city is also home to a number of restaurants, cafes and hotels.