Anchorage Alaska

From its beginning as a tent city in 1915, Anchorage, Alaska, has a very interesting history. Discover the largest city in Alaska.

anchorage 1950sA long way from its days as a tent city

Anchorage Memories.com brings back fond memories of old Anchorage. You folks are doing a great job.” Alice

Did you know this about Anchorage Alaska?

Most towns in Alaska were first settled by native tribes, or because of the discovery of gold nearby?

Anchorage, however, came about for a different reason.

The story of Anchorage Alaska goes back to 1914 when the U.S. government purchased the Alaska Northern Railroad and relocated its headquarters to the mouth of Ship Creek, where it feeds into Cook Inlet.

At that time, there was no settlement, not even a trading post.

But all that changed quickly because there was a railroad to build.

Word of a railroad coming to Alaska and needing workers spread quickly.

From April to August 1915, thousands of people from all over the world came to the area by steam ship, seeking employment.

Ships arrived at Cook Inlet, dropped anchors and lowered small boats into the muddy waters to transport exhausted travelers to shore at the mouth of Ship Creek.

It Began as a Tent City at the mouth of Ship Creek

tent cityTurning a wilderness into a town

Travel weary people, seeking employment, found no accommodations.

The area was nothing but wilderness and the only source of drinkable water was Ship Creek. Conditions were primitive and unsanitary.

They cut down trees, and a rugged tent city sprang up on the banks of the creek.

It was rough and crude, but it was the beginning of what would quickly become Anchorage, Alaska.

Town Site Auction

town auction1915 town lot auction

Andrew Christensen (seen at the podium in the above photo) worked for the U.S. Government and had the task of laying out the new town.

On July 10, 1915, Christensen auctioned off the town site lots to a crowd of about 2,000.

Lots sold for between 25 and 400 dollars each.

The auction was a bigger success than imagined, bringing in a total of 148,000 dollars in sales.

BONUS

Meet the man who created Anchorage.

In this edition of the Anchorage Memories VIP Club, you'll meet the man who laid out the town and auctioned off the first lots.

Meet Andrew Christensen.


Take a look at Anchorage Founding Memories and discover.

Naming the New Town

To name the new town that had sprung up on the shores of the creek, the town folk held a vote.

Names considered included:

Matanuska
Ship Creek
Homestead
Alaska City
Terminal
Gateway

The name “Alaska City” won the most votes.

Then the U.S. Post office stepped in.

Across Cook Inlet is the small community of Knik.

And anchored in the inlet next to Knik was a boat named “Anchorage”.

So, the Post Office decided that the name for the new town on the banks of Ship Creek would be Anchorage.

Modern-Day Anchorage Alaska

anchorage Alaska modern dayA sunny day in Alaska's largest city

Today, Anchorage Alaska is a thriving city with a population of around 292,000 which is about 40% of the state's population.

Weather

Anchorage has an unpredictable subarctic climate.

It features cool, cloudy summers and freezing cold, snowy winters.

Average temperatures during the year range from 13 to 68 degrees F. 

The highest temperature ever recorded was 90 degrees F on July 4, 2019

The coldest day on record stands at -34 degrees F which occurred on January 5, 1975. Yes, that's cold.

ANCHORAGE WEATHER

What Do Locals Say?

Below are stories about growing up and living in Anchorage Alaska

anchorage alaska memories

“Reading “My Beautiful Alaska”

(here on Anchorage Memories)

made me almost unbearably homesick

for Anchorage and Alaska”  Darragh


Interesting stories,
love Anchorage Memories
” Christine


I've been wanting to write about my experiences in Anchorage for years. Now, because of Anchorage Memories I can.” Marci


Do you have a story about your Anchorage Memories?

Share it!

Read Nostalgic Anchorage Memories Right Here

Click below to read interesting Anchorage Memories submitted by our website visitors.

Midnight at High Noon 
Imagine being just six years old and having your world turned upside down. Our family was living in a log home on Fairbanks street near downtown Anchorage, …

Memories of
Bootlegger Cove
 
From 1956-1959 I lived in this little log cabin in Bootlegger Cove, Anchorage, Alaska. It was a momentous time in my life, a time of transition. I was …

My Beautiful Alaska 
When the door of the plane finally opened, I saw Anchorage and the surrounding mountains for the first time. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever …

Anchorage in 1946 - 1947 
My parents came to Anchorage in 1946. First Dad in April 1946, and Mom in late June 1946. Here are a few of her thoughts about life in Anchorage …

Just an Anchorage
Junkyard Kid
 
My name is Sam Delozier, and I was born and raised in Anchorage. My dad was John Delozier, and he owned a towing business in Anchorage called Alaska …

Flying with PNA
Pacific Northern Airlines
 
In 1947, at the age of eight. My mother and older brother flew into Merrill Field on a DC3. It was a converted army plane. You sat down the sides …

A&W Drive-In,
Brown's Electric,
and Mr. Brown...
Fond Memories
 
I have many fond memories of the A&W drive-in, as well as Brown's Electric. I always loved the curly fries at A&W and the Root Beer was the best! …

Remembering
the Statehood Celebration
 
I have copies of both the Anchorage Daily Times (headline was “WE'RE IN”) and the News (headline was “STATEHOOD”)from the date congress voted for statehood. …

Memories of the
Territory of Alaska 1950
 
As we settled into life in the dusty city of Anchorage, we explored the offerings of enjoyment and entertainment. The beautiful surroundings in a day when …

East Anchorage
High School Daze
 
1972 East Anchorage High graduate Pamela Painter Jones mentioned a couple of years back that those of us with interesting or funny stories from our tenure …

Ancient Anchorage memories. 
After the Korean War, my dad got assigned to Fort Richardson and claims he pulled the first house trailer over the Alaskan Highway. He was discharged …

"Race to the Summit" 
It’s not often a person takes the mundane job of washing dishes and writes about it. My 6-month dish washing stint was much different from scrubbing …

Village in the City 
The serenity of living in a rural Alaska village is something I’d love to experience. It seems a subsistence lifestyle has distinct advantages. Hunting …

Break Up in Anchorage 
After a long, dark winter of cold, snow and ice, when Alaska starts to enjoy more daylight and warmer temperatures begin to melt away those winter …

The 1976 Walk for Hope
Music Video
 
BONUS Remember when as you look at the 1976 Walk for Hope. By the way, the song used for the video is “A Fifth of Beethoven” a disco instrumental …

Valley of the Moon Park 
The above video was primarily shot at the Valley of the Moon park in Anchorage. It was shot and edited by Michael R Dougherty and engineer …

Moose Meat John 
In 1949, I got on the O'Hara bus line in Mt.View . I was going to the Empress Theater on 4th Avenue. At the next stop, a bearded man got on and sat …

Anchorage Daily News
Paper Sales
 
Back in 1948 and 49 I sold newspapers at 4th. and C st. In Anchorage. There was a bar on that corner. I would always get paid more than the paper was …

Woolworth's Grand Opening 
Do you remember Woolworth's? As I walked into Woolworth's for the first time , I saw the café on the left, makeup, and school supplies in the middle …

Skipping School
at Dimond
 
(To be sung to the tune of “Kodachrome”) When I think back on all the stuff, I did in High School It's a wonder I'm not still in Jail. The last …

My Extremely Very Bad Hair Day Not rated yet
An extremely snowy day that February in 1965. My older brother Norman and I were walking from 2nd Ave and Cordova to Central Junior High located on …

Gilman's Bakery
Got any
Free Donuts Today?
 Not rated yet
Our family lived on 2nd and Cordova in Anchorage, Alaska back in the 1950s and my brother's and sister's and I had to walk to school. Our grade school …

Growing Up in Anchorage Not rated yet
My family moved to Anchorage back in 1950, when I was just three years old. And I convinced them to take me along. We flew from Northern California …

Anchorage, Alaska
In the Great Year
of 1946
 Not rated yet
We lived in Mountain View on Bliss street, Dad called it “mud ally”. We lived in a tent house, that was shiplap sides three feet high and the rest …

Click here to write your own.

The Anchorage I Remember Not rated yet
My dad was a dozer operator and came to Anchorage in 1940 to work on the Elmendorf expansion. His plan was to work the one summer then go back to Washington. …

Treasured
Anchorage Moments
 Not rated yet
All these moments came from three homes. The first was living at Fort Richardson during the time of Statehood. The second was when we had a house …

My Grandmother was
a True Alaskan Pioneer
 Not rated yet
This is about my grandma, Wilma Irene Moddison Preston. She was an Alaskan pioneer, very involved in the community. In 1955, she drove the Alaska Highway …

Anchorage Newspapers
Sold Twice?
 Not rated yet
Back in 1950, I sold Anchorage Daily News on the corner of 4th and C. Ten feet from the bar door. Most of my customers paid more than I was selling …

Downtown Anchorage Not rated yet
One of the beautiful sights we enjoy during winter in Alaska is when big snowflakes float down from the sky, covering the Great Land with a fresh, …

Click here to write your own.

Lake Hood

float planesMore float planes than anywhere in the world

Located in Anchorage, Lake Hood is home to more small aircraft than anywhere in the world.

In the summer, plans take off and land on the lake, using pontoons.

Winter means that aircraft have to adjust by using skis on the ice and snow-covered lake.

The Anchorage Visitor's Log Cabin

They come from all over the world, to spend a few hours or a few days in Anchorage, enjoying what some Alaskan's take for granted.

Right in the heart of 4th Avenue, Anchorage's modern main street, you'll find the Visitor's Log Cabin. A great place to visit, get some information and discover things you can do in and around town.

BONUS

Do you know where this historic log cabin came from?

Take a closer look at the Anchorage Visitor's Log Cabin and enjoy.

Anchorage Alaska

Fur Rendezvous Winter Carnival

fur rondy dog sled race 2016A sled dog team on 4th Avenue

In 2012, National Geographic Explorer named Anchorage's Fur Rendezvous the world's number one winter carnival

“Rondy” takes place in February and features:

  • Parade
  • Fur Auction
  • Carnival rides
  • Outhouse races
  • Sled Dog races

People from all over the world come to enjoy the Fur Rendezvous.

Anchorage Alaska

We have only just scratched the surface when it comes to the story of Anchorage. The biggest city in Alaska is a must-see.

Is visiting Alaska your dream?

If so, be sure to include Anchorage, Alaska as one of your destinations.

Before You Go

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“I’ve learned a lot about my hometown of Anchorage, and you’ve jogged memories of things I haven’t thought about for years. I can only say YAY!”  Juanita.


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"I thoroughly enjoy Anchorage Memories,
it is absolutely magnificent" Robert




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