Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Municipality of Anchorage
Anchorage skyline and Bootleggers Cove, viewed from Point Woronzof Park, April 2008
Anchorage skyline and Bootleggers Cove, viewed from Point Woronzof Park, April 2008
Flag of Anchorage, Alaska
Official seal of Anchorage, Alaska
"The City of Lights and Flowers", "Los Anchorage"[1][2]
Big Wild Life
Anchorage is located in Alaska
Location within Alaska
Anchorage is located in North America
Location within North America
Coordinates: 61°13′N 149°54′W / 61°13′N 149°54′W / 61.217; -149.900 Alaska
  • November 23, 1920 (city)
  • January 1, 1964 (borough)
  • September 15, 1975
    (unified municipality)
Named forThe anchorage at the mouth of Ship Creek
 • BodyAnchorage Assembly[3]
 • MayorEthan Berkowitz (D)
 • Alaska Senate
 • Alaska House
 • Consolidated city-borough1,944.05 sq mi (5,035.06 km2)
 • Land1,706.80 sq mi (4,420.59 km2)
 • Water237.25 sq mi (614.47 km2)
 • Urban
78.8 sq mi (204 km2)
102 ft (31 m)
 • Consolidated city-borough291,826
 • Estimate 
 • Rank
  • 1st in Alaska
  • 66th in the United States
 • Density170.81/sq mi (65.95/km2)
 • Urban
251,243 (US: 149th)[5]
 • Metro
399,148 (US: 134th)
  • Anchoragite
  • Anchoriginal (informal)
Time zoneUTC-9 (AKST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
99501–99524, 99529-99530, 99599
Area code(s)907

Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, located on the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 291,538 residents in 2018,[6] it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 399,148 in 2018, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles (4,420 km2) of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by area in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, which is 1,212 square miles (3,140 km2) in area.[7][8]

Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south.[9] The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base,[10] several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.[11]

Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within ​9 12 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world.[12] For this reason, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.[13]

Anchorage has won the All-America City Award four times: in 1956, 1965, 1984–85, and 2002, by the National Civic League.[14] It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax-friendly city in the United States.[15]


Russian presence in south-central Alaska was well-established in the 19th century. In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward brokered a deal to purchase Alaska from Imperial Russia for $7.2 million, or about two cents an acre ($109.3 million in 2018 dollars).[16] His political rivals lampooned the deal as "Seward's folly," "Seward's icebox," and "Walrussia." In 1888, gold was discovered along Turnagain Arm just south of modern-day Anchorage.

The tent city (called "The White City" in the handwritten caption) in Ship Creek, photographed by Alberta Pyatt on July 1, 1915.

Alaska became an organized incorporated United States territory in 1912. Anchorage, unlike every other large town in Alaska south of the Brooks Range, was neither a fishing nor mining camp. The area surrounding Anchorage lacks significant economic metal minerals. A number of Dena'ina settlements existed along Knik Arm for years. By 1911 the families of J. D. "Bud" Whitney and Jim St. Clair lived at the mouth of Ship Creek and were joined there by a young forest ranger, Jack Brown, and his bride, Nellie, in 1912.[17]

The city grew from its happenstance choice as the site, in 1914, under the direction of Frederick Mears, of a railroad-construction port for the Alaska Engineering Commission. The area near the mouth of Ship Creek, where the railroad headquarters was located, quickly became a tent city. A townsite was mapped out on higher ground to the south of the tent city, greatly noted in the years since for its order and rigidity compared with other Alaska town sites.[18] In 1915, territorial governor John Franklin Alexander Strong encouraged residents to change the city's name to one that had "more significance and local associations".[19] In the summer of that year, residents held a vote to change the city's name; a plurality of residents favored changing the city's name to "Alaska City."[19] However, the territorial government ultimately declined to change the city's name.[19] Anchorage was incorporated on November 23, 1920.[18]

Construction of the Alaska Railroad continued until its completion in 1923. The city's economy in the 1920s and 1930s centered on the railroad. Col. Otto F. Ohlson, the Swedish-born general manager of the railroad for nearly two decades, became a symbol of residents' contempt due to the firm control he maintained over the railroad's affairs, which by extension became control over economic and other aspects of life in Alaska.

Fourth Avenue in 1953, looking east from near I Street. Just ten years before, the retail area shown in the foreground was mostly an industrial area, housing lumber yards and similar uses.

Between the 1930s and the 1950s, the city experienced massive growth as air transportation and the military became increasingly important. Aviation operations in Anchorage commenced along the firebreak south of town (today's Delaney Park Strip), which residents also used as a golf course. An increase in air traffic led to clearing of a site directly east of town site boundaries starting in 1929; this became Merrill Field, which served as Anchorage's primary airport during the 1930s and 1940s, until Anchorage International Airport replaced it in 1951. However, Merrill Field still sees a significant amount of general aviation traffic.

Elmendorf Air Force Base and the United States Army's Fort Richardson were constructed in the 1940s, and served as the city's primary economic engine until the 1968 Prudhoe Bay discovery shifted the thrust of the economy toward the oil industry. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process led to the combining of the two bases (along with Kulis Air National Guard Base) to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Fourth Avenue after the Good Friday or Great Alaskan earthquake on March 27, 1964.

The Good Friday earthquake of March 27, 1964 hit Anchorage hard at a magnitude of 9.2, killing 115 people and causing $116 million in damages ($0.73 billion in 2018 dollars).[16][20][21][22] The earth-shaking event lasted nearly five minutes; most structures that failed remained intact for the first few minutes then failed with repeated flexing.[21][22] It was the world's second-largest earthquake in recorded history.[21][22] Because the geology in the city and surrounding suburban area was built on top ground consisting of glacial silt, the prolonged shaking from the earthquake caused soil liquefaction, leading to massive cracks in roadways and collapse of large swaths of land. One of the most impacted housing areas of Anchorage, the Turnagain neighborhood, saw dozens of homes originally at 250 to 300 feet above sea level sink with the land they sat on down to sea level. Rebuilding and recovery dominated the remainder of the 1960s.

In 1968, ARCO discovered oil in Prudhoe Bay on the Alaska North Slope, and the resulting oil boom spurred further growth in Anchorage. In 1975, the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough (which includes Eagle River, Girdwood, Glen Alps, and several other communities) merged into the geographically larger Municipality of Anchorage[18] The city continued to grow in the 1980s, and capital projects and an aggressive beautification campaign took place. During this time Anchorage became known as the "Green Apple of the Arctic."

Several attempts have been made to move Alaska's state capital from Juneau to Anchorage – or to a site closer to Anchorage. The motivation is straightforward: the "railbelt" between Anchorage and Fairbanks contains the majority of the state's population. Robert Atwood, owner of the Anchorage Times and a tireless booster for the city, championed the move. Alaskans rejected attempts to move the capital in 1960 and 1962, but in 1974, as Alaska's center of population moved away from Southeast Alaska and to the railbelt, voters approved the move. Communities such as Fairbanks and much of rural Alaska opposed moving the capital to Anchorage for fear of concentrating more power in the state's largest city. As a result, in 1976 voters approved a plan to build a new capital city near Willow, about 70 miles (110 km) north of Anchorage. In the 1978 election, opponents to the move reacted by campaigning to defeat a nearly $1 billion bond issue to fund construction of the new capitol building and related facilities ($3 billion in 2018 dollars).[16]. Later attempts to move the capital or the legislature to Wasilla, north of Anchorage, also failed.[23] Anchorage has over twice as many state employees as Juneau, and is to a considerable extent the center of state and federal government activity in Alaska.[citation needed]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Anchorage
አማርኛ: አንከረጅ
aragonés: Anchorage
azərbaycanca: Ankoric (Alyaska)
تۆرکجه: انکوریج
bamanankan: Anchorage
Bân-lâm-gú: Anchorage
беларуская: Анкарыдж
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Анкорыдж (Аляска)
български: Анкъридж
Boarisch: Anchorage
català: Anchorage
čeština: Anchorage
Chamoru: Anchorage
dansk: Anchorage
Deutsch: Anchorage
eesti: Anchorage
Ελληνικά: Άνκορεϊτζ
español: Anchorage
Esperanto: Anchorage
euskara: Anchorage
فارسی: انکوریج
føroyskt: Anchorage
français: Anchorage
galego: Anchorage
한국어: 앵커리지
հայերեն: Անքորեջ
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: আন্চোরগে ব্যুরো, আলাস্কা
Bahasa Indonesia: Anchorage, Alaska
interlingua: Anchorage (Alaska)
Interlingue: Anchorage
Iñupiak: Kisaġvik
íslenska: Anchorage
italiano: Anchorage
עברית: אנקורג'
ქართული: ანკორიჯი
Kreyòl ayisyen: Anchorage (Alaska)
кырык мары: Анкоридж
latviešu: Ankoridža
lietuvių: Ankoridžas
lumbaart: Anchorage
magyar: Anchorage
македонски: Енкориџ
മലയാളം: ആങ്കറേജ്
मराठी: अँकरेज
მარგალური: ანკორიჯი
Nederlands: Anchorage (Alaska)
Nedersaksies: Anchorage
нохчийн: Анкоридж
norsk: Anchorage
norsk nynorsk: Anchorage
occitan: Anchorage
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ankorij
Papiamentu: Anchorage
Piemontèis: Anchorage
Plattdüütsch: Anchorage
polski: Anchorage
português: Anchorage (Alasca)
русский: Анкоридж
саха тыла: Анкоридж
sardu: Anchorage
sicilianu: Anchorage
Simple English: Anchorage, Alaska
slovenčina: Anchorage
Sranantongo: Anchorage
српски / srpski: Енкориџ
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Anchorage, Alaska
suomi: Anchorage
svenska: Anchorage
தமிழ்: ஏங்கரெஜ்
татарча/tatarça: Әңкориҗ
українська: Анкоридж (Аляска)
vepsän kel’: Ankoridž
Tiếng Việt: Anchorage
粵語: 安克拉治
中文: 安克拉治