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Discovering Anchorage

anchorage alaska

Anchorage officially called the Municipality of Anchorage can be found in Southcentral Alaska on the shores of Cook Inlet, this unique urban environment is located in the heart of the wilderness. Anthropological research showed that human living of the Anchorage area took place in three waves, first in 3000BC, second in 2000 BC, and the third and last at the start of the new millennium.

However, Anchorage history can be dated back to 1784 during the time of Russian explorers who established themselves in Southern Alaska, but an English explorer by the name of Captain James Cook is credited with first exploring and describing the Anchorage area in the year 1778 through his third voyage of discovery.

The next hundred years proved to be a great increase in Russian trading activity and cultural influence making a great change to Anchorage history. But by the year 1867, the debt-ridden Russia brokered a deal with the U.S. secretary of state William H. Seward to sell Alaska for $7.2 million. In the year 1868 operations of dozens of stations along Cook Inlet was begun by the Alaska Commercial Company which comprised the strongest organizational entity in the area.

By 1888, gold was discovered along the Turnagain Arm, and until the construction of the Alaska Railroad in 1915, the gold mining activity throughout the Turnagain Arm and Kenai Peninsula promoted a solid influx of new residents to Southcentral Alaska. The year 1912 was the year Alaska became a United States territory, and on July 9, 1915 the first sale of town lots was held.

The year 1915 brought about great changes to Anchorage history, it was this year that President Woodrow Wilson authorized fund for he construction of the Alaska Railroad, choosing Ship Creek Landing in Anchorage as the headquarters of this effort. A “Tent City” sprang up at the mouth of Ship Creek and soon the population quickly increased to more than two thousand. Would-be entrepreneurs gathered to this busy frontier town and brought with them everything essential to build a city.

The area had been known by various names, and it was the U.S. Post Office Department who formalized the use of the name “Anchorage”, despite some protests the name stuck. Anchorage was incorporated on November 23, 1920 and Alaska attained its statehood in the year 1959. The arrival of US Army troops in 1940 marked a decade of growth based on military expansion for Anchorage, through construction of the Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson, making Anchorage a major defense center.

March 27, 1964 was an unforgettable date for Anchorage history as a natural disaster struck Anchorage, the Good Friday earthquake, which measured 9.2 on the Richter Scale, the largest ever recorder in North America and brought about huge damage to structures that ran to hundreds and millions of dollars loss.

The eighties for Anchorage history was a time of growth for Anchorage, capital projects and aggressive beautification programs, combined with long term community planning greatly increased infrastructure and quality of life. Today Anchorage has lots of aspects of a modern urban area, such as bike and city trails, skiing and cross-country ski trails, parks and forests, theaters, business and commerce, and many forms of entertainment. It has also become one of tourist destinations offering tourist many activities and attractions.

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