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is really interesting to see the way some remote places in our world function as well as how the population came together in the first place. Whittier is a city located in southern Alaska, near the border with Canada. All of the population — which was recorded in 2019 to be 318 residents — lives under the same roof or apartment complex that was actually an old military U.S. military outpost.

The History of the city

The building around which the city was built was planned in 1950 with the beginning of the Cold War by the U.S. Army. Such military outposts were planned to be built all-around Alaska in case of a possible Soviet invasion from Siberia.

The military outpost was named after General Simon Buckner, the highest-ranking Theater military officer killed during World War II. The building was completed in 1953, taking advantage of its strategic position to coordinate the navy onto recognizance missions.

In order to have room for all the troops necessary on sight, another 14-story building was built to house all the soldiers working in the military outpost. The military housing complex from Whittier was finished in 1957 and it was able to house over 500 soldiers at one time.

The Military housing complex was decommissioned in the 1960s (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The military complex was decomposed in 1960 with the military outpost as the military port of Whittier got scuttled. The U.S. Army didn’t see this as a big loss as they were planning to move their outposts closer to the shore of Siberia.

The Great Alaskan Earthquake

On March 27, 1964, the largest earthquake in the history of the United States struck Alaska. The seismograph showed a score of 9.2 on the Richter scale, something that would be devastating for any place in the world.

Many of the cities and villages in Sothern Alaska were destroyed in the blink of an eye, leaving people in the middle of the wilderness with nowhere to go. The military housing complex was intact due to its construction with thick concrete, built to resist bombs and missiles.

Those who had lost their homes decided to move to Whitter into the military housing complex and make it their home. The U.S. government accepted this as it was the best way to help these people. The early residents of Whitter named the housing complex Begich Towers Condominium.

Since then the population slowly grew, reaching its highest peak in 2017 with 446 residents. In 2016 the building was renovated with the help of the Alaskan government. The renovation of the whole complex of 196 apartments came to a total of $3,000,000.

An interesting fact about the city is that all facilities close at 22:30 every night, this also includes the tunnel through which you can get in and out of the city. A few of the apartments in the complex were transformed into small hotels for visiting tourists.

Most of the population win their bread through fishing as well as by offering some touristic services. The city became quite a hot tourist attraction as the port welcomes big cruise ships that are making the tour of the world. Those who live there for a lifetime say that they love it despite the harsh winters.

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