Anchorage is a very special city with an amazing history and interesting geography. There are contrasts to the economy from the time of the Alaska Railroad and now, but Anchorage still is a very prosperous town. The city also has many famous landmarks and fascinating parks. It is a special town that is very important in the history of Alaska.

Anchorage has an exciting history. The first people were the Tanaina tribe that settled the area around 6,000 years ago. The area was dominated by the Pacific Eskimos until 1650 when the Eskimos were defeated in a big battle against the Tanaina. The area was a major trade center for the Native Americans, Eskimos, and Aleuts in the 1700s. The oil and the gold discovered attracted Americans’ attentions and the city expanded rapidly, but the marvelous city of Anchorage was mostly formed around the construction of one of the most expensive projects in Alaska: the Alaska Railroad! The railroad was begun in 1914, but the city itself was not incorporated until November 23, 1920. First, the Americans came and Anchorage became a tent city. These people were commissioned to build this railroad and they were interested mainly in the pay. Only after many years and names would this town come to be known as Anchorage.

Anchorage’s geography is very interesting also. It is located in south central Alaska, just northwest of Prince William Sound and the Alaska Panhandle. On the banks of Cook Inlet, the city slides up the side of the Chugach Mountains to the east. To the south is Turnagain Arm. Anchorage is also almost due south of Mt. Denali! The city has a subarctic climate, due to the fact that it has short and cool summers. The temperatures rise to about 78 degrees in the summer and are usually about 30 degrees in the winter (daytime).

The economy of the city has progressed over the years. First, people made their living from the stupendous gold strike! Then people lived off the work that the railroad provided in 1914. In the 1940’s through the 1950’s, the military came and men were paid to be part of this force. Merrill Field airport was built in the 1930’s, and through the 50’s the economy did very well. (Now the most used airport is the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.) The people had plenty of jobs as construction workers, overseers, and transportation agents. Also in the 50’s, the Seward Highway was opened; the first television station began broadcasting in 1953. Alyeska Resort was also built. The economy definitely grew and progressed over the years.

There are many famous landmarks in Anchorage. Anchorage is home to about 42 parks and about 6 ski resorts. Included are Alpenglow Ski Area and Hilltop Ski Area. Seward Highway is a famous road that runs through Anchorage, while Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base are important military outposts; but Anchorage is known mostly for its railroad.

Present-day Anchorage is different from the old days. There are more ethnicities than just white or native. White Americans make up 69.8% of the population. Non-Hispanic White are 66.4%, and African American are 6.3% of the population. Non-Hispanic Black make up 6.1%, and 5.5% are Alaska Natives or American Indian. Asian American is 6.1%. In the census that took place in 2000, there were two hundred sixty thousand, two hundred and eighty-three people in Anchorage. People today earn their living by working in transportation, the military, the Federal government, tourism, and resource extraction. There are fifty thousand students attending eighty-eight different schools! That is a lot of students! These schools also give parents a choice of the kind of school into which they wish to enroll their child. The higher education facilities, which give bachelors or masters degrees, are the University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University, Charter College, and Wayland Baptist University. The city also has a newspaper, The Anchorage Daily News, as one of their main sources of information. For television, Anchorage has seven major television networks. The radio is also one of the more dominant factors in getting news. One station is KBFX. Anchorage is definitely different from what it used to be.

If I ever went to Anchorage and spent more than a couple days there, I would like to do some fun things. I would like to take a ride on the Alaska Railroad. That would be so exciting! I would like to go to a number of the parks in Anchorage too - especially the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I would want to do those activities when I go to Anchorage.