Anchorage, Alaska is located in the southern part of Alaska, the United States’ most-northern state. While Alaska is one of the largest states in the union, the population of Anchorage is relatively small for such a major city: a little over 250,000 people live there. It was established as a railroad town in 1914, bringing supplies from all over the country. The city grew and expanded until it became a very military-friendly city, incorporating several military bases and airfields by the 1950’s.

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On March 27, 1964, Anchorage was devastated by one of the largest earthquakes to ever hit the U.S. A 9.2 magnitude earthquake shook the city for a full five minutes, leaving almost the entire city crumbling on the ground. The once proud city lie in ruin and over the next ten years rebuilding the city was a crucial part of planning and development. But despite this major setback, the city continues to grow, and expanded more and more through the 1980’s and 90’s, which also saw the uptake of a massive beautification project to rebuild the image of the city.

Alaska lies slightly north of several northern European cities, and to its south lies the Turnagain Arm, which boasts some of the highest tides for a fjord in the world. It lies north of Kodiak Island and Prince William Sound, which was home to the disastrous Exxon-Valdez oil spill in 1989, and Anchorage’s seacoast consists mostly of dangerous mudflats. Typically, you don’t want to be walking on an Anchorage beach, mainly due to the fact that you’d probably get stuck in all the mud.

Average temperatures in Anchorage are some of the lowest in the nation, with average summertime temperatures ranging from 62-65 degrees, and winter temperatures consistently falling below freezing. The city is also a neighbor to several active volcanoes, which can (on occasion) spew hot ash and dust the city (though these are relatively uncommon as a whole). Bears and moose are also a very common sight, as the city has been encroaching on wild habitats for some time now, and while scary are seen more as an annoyance than an actual threat.

Anchorage’s economy has been flourishing recently, mainly through its shipping industry, which handles 95% of all freight shipped into Alaska. Tourism, petroleum, the government and the military all bring big money into Anchorage (and the surrounding area), and the military bases that it borders (Elmendorf and Fort Richardson) help to spur the local economy. Tourists visit during the summer, and despite having no major league teams in the city, the roads into and out of the city are jam-packed with people.

 

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