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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage [MOA]) is a
consolidated city-borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 279

243 municipal residents in 2008 (359,180 residents within the Metropolitan
Statistical Area), it is Alaska's largest city and constitutes more than 40
percent of the state's total population; only New York has a higher
percentage of residents who live in the state's largest city. Anchorage has
been named All-America City four times, in 1956, 1965, 1984/85, and 2002, by

the National Civic League. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most
tax friendly city in the United States.

Anchorage, unlike every other large town in Alaska south of the Brooks Range

was neither a fishing nor mining camp. The area within tens of miles of
Anchorage is barren of significant economic metal minerals; there is no
fishing fleet operating out of Anchorage. The city grew from its
happenstance choice as the site, in 1914, of a railroad construction port
for the Alaska Railroad. The railroad was built between 1915 and 1923. Ship
Creek Landing, where the railroad headquarters was located, quickly became a

tent city; Anchorage was incorporated on November 23, 1920. The city's
economy in the 1920s centered around the railroad. Between the 1930s and the

1950s, the city experienced massive growth as air transportation and the
military became increasingly important. Merrill Field opened in 1930, and
Anchorage International Airport opened in 1951. Elmendorf Air Force Base and

Fort Richardson were constructed in the 1940s.

On March 27, 1964, Anchorage was hit by the magnitude 9.2 Good Friday
Earthquake, which killed 115 Alaskans and caused $1.8 billion in damage
(2007 U.S. dollars). The earth-shaking event lasted nearly five minutes;
most structures that failed remained intact the first few minutes, then
failed with repeated flexing. It was the second largest earthquake in the
recorded history of the world. Rebuilding dominated the city in the mid

In 1968, oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay, and the resulting oil boom
spurred further growth in Anchorage. In 1975, the City of Anchorage and the
Greater Anchorage Area Borough (which includes Eagle River, Girdwood, Glen
Alps, and several other communities) merged into the geographically larger
Municipality of Anchorage. The city continued to grow in the 1980s, and
capital projects and an aggressive beautification campaign took place.

Anchorage is located in South Central Alaska. It lies slightly farther north

than Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and St. Petersburg, but not as far north as
Reykjavik or Murmansk. It is northeast of the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak
Island, and Cook Inlet, due north of the Kenai Peninsula, northwest of
Prince William Sound and Alaska Panhandle, and nearly due south of Mount

Many tourists are drawn to Alaska every year and Anchorage is commonly the
first initial stop for most travelers. From Anchorage people can easily head

south to popular fishing locations on the Kenai Peninsula or north to
locations such as Denali National Park and Fairbanks. The economic impact of

tourism and conventions in Anchorage totals approximately $150 million

The resource sector, mainly petroleum, is arguably Anchorage's most visible
industry, with many high rises bearing the logos of large multinationals
such as BP and ConocoPhillips. While field operations are centered on the
Alaska North Slope and in more southern areas around Cook Inlet, the
majority of offices and administration are found in Anchorage. Around one
sixth of jobs state-wide are related to this industry.

While Juneau is the official state capital of Alaska, there are actually
more state employees who reside in the Anchorage area. Around 6,800 state
employees work in Anchorage compared to around 3,800 in Juneau. Federal
government workers also include around 10,000, many related to federal lands


National attention is focused on Anchorage on the first Saturday of each
March, when the prestigious Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicks off with its
ceremonial start downtown on Fourth Avenue. Better known as simply "The
Iditarod", the event is the longest and most famous sled dog race in the
world. Anchorage is also home to the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship
Sled Dog Races, a three-day dogsled sprint event consisting of 3 timed races

of 25.5 miles each. Held each February, the event is part of the annual Fur
Rendezvous, a winter sports carnival.

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