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Whittier, AK


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Whittier, AK

The 2014 population estimate was 217, almost all of whom live in a single building.[4] The city is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.During World War II the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad terminus near the glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.The two huge buildings that dominate Whittier were built after World War II. The 14-story Hodge Building (now Begich Towers) completed in 1957 contained 150 two and three bedroom apartments plus bachelor efficiency units. Dependent families and Civil Service employees were moved into this efficient high rise. The new Whittier School was connected by a tunnel at the base of the west tower so students could go to school in short sleeves on the very worst weather days. The building was originally named in honor of Colonel Walter William Hodge Civil Engineer, the commanding officer of 93rd Engineer Regiment on the Alcan Highway.[5]The other structure, the Buckner Building, had been completed in 1953, and was called the "city under one roof". Both buildings were at one time the largest buildings in Alaska. The Begich Building is now a condominium. Together with the 2-story Whittier Manor, Begich Building houses nearly all of Whittier's residents.[6] The port remained an active Army facility until 1960. A petroleum products terminal was constructed in Whittier along with a pumping station and 62 mile long 8" pipeline to Anchorage by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1962.[7][8][9]
The town was severely damaged by tsunamis triggered by the 1964Good Friday earthquake; thirteen people died due to waves that reached 13 m (43 ft).[10]
Whittier is an increasingly-popular port of call for cruise ships. It has long been utilized by local operations and the 100+-passenger mid-sized cruise ships. When its connections to Anchorage and the interior of Alaska went from exclusively rail to both highway and rail in 2001, it began to be utilized by larger cruise lines as well. It is the embarkation/debarkation point of the Denali Express nonstop rail service to and from Denali National Park operated by Princess Tours. Whittier is also popular with tourists, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, paddlers, hikers, sport fishermen, and hunters."Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"

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