Location and Climate
Anchorage, the most populated municipality in Alaska, is located in southcentral Alaska at the head of Cook Inlet.
It is 3 hours' flight time from Seattle. The community lies at approximately 61.218060° North Latitude and
-149.900280° (West) Longitude. (Sec. 28, T013N, R004W, Seward Meridian.) Anchorage is located in the Anchorage
Recording District. The area encompasses 1,697.2 sq. miles of land and 263.9 sq. miles of water. The average temperatures
in January range from 8 to 21 degrees Fahrenheit. In July, average temperatures range from 51 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Annual precipitation is 15.9 inches and annual snowfall is 69 inches.
The city is situated on a triangular peninsula bordered on the east by the Chugach Mountains, on the northwest
by the Knik Arm, and on the southwest by the Turnagain Arm, upper branches of the Cook Inlet, which itself is the
northernmost reach of the Pacific Ocean. Despite this, the city lacks coastal beaches, instead having wide, treacherous
mudflats. Adjacent to the north is Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska. To the south is Kenai Peninsula Borough,
Alaska, and to the east is Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska.
History, Culture and Demographics
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. The City of Anchorage was incorporated on Nov. 23, 1920. 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 Greater Anchorage Area Borough was formed
on Jan. 1, 1964. 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. On Sept. 15, 1975, the City and Borough governments were unified,
along with the cities of Girdwood and Glen Alps.
The population of the community consists of 10.4% Alaska Native or part Native. Anchorage has a history of cultural
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 8,500 military personnel are stationed at Fort Richardson and Elmendorf AFB. Seasonal
factors contribute to a fluctuating, though low, unemployment rate. 912 residents hold commercial fishing permits.
Most permit-owners fish in Bristol Bay, Kodiak or Cordova.
[Info from Alaska Division of Community Advocacy and wikipedia.org]