Whittier and the town-home. Alaska. USA. Description, photos, coordinates.

Whittier is the only city whose population lives under the roof of a single high-rise

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There is a tiny town in Alaska in an amazingly beautiful place, but with an unusual history and a complicated fate. And the most remarkable thing about the current situation is that its entire population of 220 people live in . one 14-story house.

Whittier is a unique city on the planet with only one residential building (Alaska, USA).| Photo: zen.yandex.ru.

Whittier is a unique city on the planet with only one apartment building (Alaska, USA).| Photo: zen.yandex.ru.

In northeastern Alaska (USA), among the mountain peaks, wild forest, waterfalls and glaciers sits the small town of Whittier. It appeared on the map after the war, when there was a naval base here, because this is where the ice-free deep-water bay is located.

All residents of Whittier live in one house (Alaska, USA). | Photo: fazo.tv.

The strange juxtaposition of the only apartment building in town (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: nash-nyc.com.

According to the editorial board of Novate.Ru, there was no land connection with this place at the time, the military got here only by ships or boats, so they had to cut a 3-kilometer tunnel in which they laid not only the road, but also the railroad.

You can get to town by boat or through a tunnel (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Thanks to this secluded corner of pristine nature attracted people who worked in the port or serviced the military base.

A bird's eye view of the town of Whittier (Alaska).| Photo: center-ua.com.

Over time, the town’s infrastructure grew, with a school and a hospital, hairdressing saloons and a clubhouse, not to mention stores and cafes, as not only warships called at the built port, but also huge cargo liners.

The harsh life of a tiny town with no sun for 5 months (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: topvoyager.com.

The harsh life of a tiny town with no sun for 5 months (Whittier, Alaska)| Photo: topvoyager.com.

After the civilian population was relocated to the region, the authorities built simple cabins for the service personnel, but for the military they built not only military housing, but also a 14-story Begich Towers building.

In the town of Whittier there are more boats and boats than cars (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

Noteworthy: This is the only building of such height in the whole state was designed by architectural engineer Anton Andersen. Begich Towers (originally the Hodge Building) was named after Alaska Congressman Nick Begich, who died in a plane crash.

Remains of the military base premises, the entrance to which is guarded and strictly forbidden (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

Remains of the military base premises, entry to which is guarded and strictly forbidden (Whittier, Alaska. | Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

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Since it was not an ordinary building, but an entire city with its own established infrastructure to meet the needs of the military, in addition to living quarters in it were organized commandant’s office, medical unit, dining room, gyms, recreation areas, laundry, library and even a church.

There are a few tunnels left, which in bad weather you can easily get to the port or to the lighthouse (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: topvoyager.com.

A few tunnels remained through which in bad weather you can easily get to the port or to the lighthouse (Whittier, Alaska.| Photo: topvoyager.com.

But in the spring of 1964, during the Great Alaska Earthquake, the strongest in U.S. history, the onset of a tsunami and landslides almost the entire town was reduced to rubble.

The school building is near a residential building (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

And even the 14-story building was damaged, but military engineers were able to rebuild it in no time. But after the incident, the country’s leadership decided to remove the base from this place, so the military soon left the area.

The remaining townspeople are mostly engaged in fishing (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: nat-geo.ru.

The remaining townspeople are mostly engaged in fishing (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: nat-geo.ru.

And the people who worked in the port and the service staff still lived there. They only moved into the only surviving house for a while to wait for their homes to be rebuilt.

Tourist liners occasionally visit the town (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: nat-geo.ru.

But the authorities were in no hurry to do so, and over time, the residents really liked their new home-town, because everything in it was so reasonably planned and arranged, that now they do not want to move anywhere.

In the short summer, children can play outside, and the rest of the time only indoors (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: dlyakota.ru.

In the short summer the children can play outside, but the rest of the time they can only play indoors (Whittier, Alaska. | Photo: dlyakota.ru.

And it is no wonder, given the elaborate infrastructure inside the building, they now have to leave the cozy room only on three occasions: when the adults go to work and the children go to school, or when they want to go for a walk in the fresh air.

In winter children can get to school only through a tunnel (Whittier, Alaska)| Photo: dlyakota.ru.

In wintertime children can get to school only through a tunnel (Whittier, Alaska)| Photo: dlyakota.ru.

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In the cold of winter the kids don’t have to trudge through huge snow drifts, because there is a tunnel to their school. At other times they have everything they need under the roof of their only house in the whole city.

Long corridors play the role of streets in a huge communal apartment in which citizens live (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

The long corridors act as streets in the huge communal apartment in which the townspeople live (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

Interior of a standard apartment in the only house in town (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

Interior of a standard apartment in the only house in town (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

Of course, some rooms have been remodeled and now, here you can not only visit the doctor or take a book, but also go to the beauty salon, buy fashionable items or food in the stores.

In the local cafe you can come at any time of the day in pajamas and slippers (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: topvoyager.com.

A local cafe can be visited at any time of the day in pajamas and slippers (Whittier, Alaska.| Photo: topvoyager.com.

The church is in the house where all the parishioners live (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: nash-nyc.com.

The commandant’s office now serves as the police station, post office, and mayor’s office, and the gyms have been converted into fitness centers and children’s play areas, while the church remains unchanged.

The single house has a simply stunning view of the outskirts of the town (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: dlyakota.ru.

The view from the only house in the neighborhood is stunning (Whittier, Alaska)| Photo: dlyakota.ru.

Life in Whittier is still as hard as ever, because the town is covered with snow in winter, and it rains heavily in summer, and on top of that people don’t see the sun from November to February, and there is no work at all. But the townspeople are not complaining and are not going to leave their only home.

It turns out that the residents of the town know the origins of their region! (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

It turns out that the townspeople know the roots of their region! (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

And there were very enterprising residents who rent their apartments to tourists and conduct illegal tours of the house (prohibited by the rules of their cooperative), and very interesting in the territory of a strange city and picturesque surroundings, organizing even tours.

Enterprising townspeople make good money on tourists (Whittier, Alaska). | Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

The enterprising townspeople make good money from tourists (Whittier, Alaska).| Photo: macos.livejournal.com.

On the personal site of Jane, who turned several apartments into a mini-hotel, you can find not only breathtaking views of the suburbs and the program of excursions, but also a description of the hotel rooms, which have not just a suite, but also the presidential suite.

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Whittier and the Alaskan hometown

If you’re a professional homebody, the town of Whittier on the Alaska Peninsula might be the perfect place for you. After all, this is where almost all of the local population lives. Imagine, there is practically one huge house for the entire settlement.

Whittier Town House.

This is where almost the entire population of Whittier lives.

Interesting fact – The nearby Whittier Glacier of the same name was named after American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915. Eventually the town itself came to be called by the same name

Where is it

You will find the town of Whittier in the southern part of Alaska (USA) about 100 kilometers from the state capital of Anchorage.

Geographic coordinates (60.77214, -148.68569)

Whittier - view from above.

The entire town of Whittier in one photo

What is Whittier and why does everyone live in one house?

The town appeared in the mid-1950s as a military outpost. In recent decades, however, locals have begun to flock to the former army barracks in the center of town. They are called the Begich Towers. Although it is actually one building, which has the appearance of two towers connected into one structure.

Begich Towers From the bay, the Begich Towers look like an ordinary building From here it looks like an ordinary house in a residential neighborhood

Begich Towers is now home to three-quarters of Whittier’s 270 permanent residents. The house serves as more than just a dwelling. It has a post office, department store, police station, laundry, hospital, city hall and even a heated swimming pool.

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The store in Begic Towers is small, but the locals have enough of it There is even a playground for children. Notice the sawdust instead of sand.

This big 14-story building was built in 1956.

Begich Towers. archived construction photo

This is how a house-town grew up in the middle of the last century right in the middle of the snow.

In fact, there is little other housing in the town. Plus, with the northern latitudes and corresponding climate, a compact and fairly functional settlement was the best option. For example, Whittier School is connected to the House by an underground tunnel. That’s why young residents have little need to go outside, where the wind often blows hard.

Whittier City-home

At the house you can park not only a car, but also … your reindeer

Interesting fact – In Begich Towers there is a small hotel called June’s Whittier Condo Suites. Here you can experience all the charm of the Whittier community

June Hotel

And here’s the owner of June’s Whittier Condo Suites Hotel herself

How to get there

Although Whittier is relatively close to Anchorage, it’s still hard to get to. You can only get here by boat, then drive through a reversible tunnel.

By the way, this tunnel, 4,100 meters long, is the second longest in North America.

It is noteworthy that the passage through the tunnel is closed every night at 22:30. Whittier residents who were returning from Anchorage and were late by this time have been known to spend the night in their cars.

Whittier. Tunnel to Anchorage.

If you are late, you will have to spend the night in your car or go back to Anchorage

In addition, there is a small airport a couple of miles from town for light planes.

Most Whittier residents like the remoteness of their town. It is surrounded by breathtaking mountains where many animals, such as reindeer, live. The mountains are just as picturesque as the fjord on the coast of which the town is located.

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Whittier Alaska. View from the bay

Whittier is just 650 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle.

Head east and see majestic humpback whales frolicking in the clear waters of Prince William Sound a hundred kilometers from Whittier.

Residents are so accustomed to their way of life that they say it feels more like living in a big city than in a remote village. Begich Towers is practically a city-home (or house-city).

Whittier in tourism.

That’s not to say that this town is a very famous world attraction. But still it attracts tourists.

There is even a deep-water pier for mooring cruise ships, which periodically call at this remote place.

Cruise ship in Whittier

The rugged northern beauty lures even the huge cruise ships here.

During the summer months, when the sun shines 22 hours a day, Whittier draws visitors from all over the world. While the Begich Towers are of course the main attraction, there is also the World War II Museum of the Japanese Occupation of Alaska and the abandoned army barracks called the Buckner Building.

City under one roof

Buckner Building – A city under one roof.

By the way, they once housed Whittier residents, and the place was called “City Under One Roof.” There are even several restaurants that serve fresh seafood.

An interesting fact is that Whittier City-home is said to be inhabited not only by locals, but also by numerous spirits. But of course, we’ll leave all that for fans of the paranormal.

The state of Alaska is incomparably beautiful and rugged. Charming towns like Whittier are one of the many reasons Alaska has become a must-see for seasoned travelers.

City-home with the mountains in the background

If you think the town-home is the most monumental view here, you’re a little wrong. Look at how it looks against the backdrop of the mountains

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