143 Fascinating Facts About Anchorage, Alaska That Will Surprise You

Joan Agie
Oct 06, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Dec 10, 2021
Among facts about Anchorage, Alaska, Anchorage is Alaska's largest city.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.9 Min

Being the northernmost city in the United States, there are about 100,000 Anchorage residents here.

Around 1915, the city of Anchorage was just a colony of tents put up together as remote houses for those workers who worked on the Alaska Railroad. The workers called Anchorage 'The White City,' although it hardly had any resemblance to the original 'white city' which is Chicago!

Anchorage might look like a gray and boring city at first sight but this largest city in Alaska has so many interesting things for you to discover that will take you by surprise! This phenomenal city in Alaska covers roughly about 2,000 sq.

mi (5180 sq. km), which is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island!

Anchorage is well-known and popular amongst tourists all over the world for its glaciers, trails, and wildlife. On a clear day, you can easily spot some mountain ranges from Anchorage the Alaska, Aleutian, Mount Mckinley, Kenai, and Chugach.

Some animals that are common to the wildlife of urban Anchorage are beavers, foxes, moose, wolves, and bears. In fact, it is impossible to not notice a traffic sign for a moose crossing the road.

The tallest building in Alaska is in fact found in downtown Anchorage which is the Conoco-Phillips Building. Downtown Anchorage also houses the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts which hosts many performing arts events every year.

Known as Alaska's cultural soul, it is the prime place to visit if you are looking to explore some fascinating details on the Alaska Native cultures as well and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art is a must-see! Around 1947, Congress made plans to shift Alaska's capital from Juneau to Anchorage.

However, the voters were not ready to fund the construction of a capitol building so the shift never took place.

This city contains a great number of unique, diverse, and distinct cultures that consist of traditions that have existed since long ago. The major industries you can find in this amazing city are government and military, tourism, and petroleum.

Many historical documentation and citings have stated that it was James Cook, an English explorer, who first explored and described the Anchorage area around 1778 when he was looking for some sort of 'Northwest Passage' that led to Prince William Sound.

Anchorage sits on a triangular peninsula enclosed by the Cook Inlet, which is believed to be the northernmost part of the Pacific Ocean. Another mind-blowing fact about this city is its unusual name.

In the '10s, Anchorage, as it is known now, was first called Ship Creek and Knik Anchorage by settlers.

Ship Creek during the summers is filled with plenty of King and silver salmon, attracting many anglers to one of the world's largest salmon fisheries. In the Anchorage School District, there are about 100 languages being spoken approximately!

Alaska is always known for its cold climate and weather but Anchorage is slightly different.

Being close to the ocean influences Anchorage's weather conditions by keeping the winter temperature at around a 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) mark. The coldest temperature that Anchorage has seen was 38 degrees F below zero (-38.9 degrees C) in the February of 1947.

Anchorage was also the US candidate for the popular Winter Olympics that were held in 1992 and 1994!

It was the only period when this sports event took place with a brief gap of two years. Anchorage is a city where its residents enjoy life without the burden of sales tax-making it amazing for visitors and tourists to pick up plenty of souvenirs.

Believe it or not, the famous film 'The Frozen Ground' was shot in Anchorage, Alaska, and stars famous actors like Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, and Vanessa Hudgens!

If you enjoy these awesome facts on Anchorage in Alaska, be sure to check out our other articles on facts about Augusta Maine, and facts about Baltimore Maryland that you are sure to enjoy!

Fun Facts About Anchorage, Alaska

The name Alaska comes from 'Alyeska', an Aleut word which means 'The Great Land'! The coastal city of Anchorage which used to be under a glacier many years ago is located today at the head of Cook Inlet in Alaska.

The Cook Inlet is the northernmost reach of the Pacific Ocean.

The earliest and original habitants of Anchorage was a tribe of Athabascans and they were believed to have lived in the area for a period of about 1000 years approximately. Furthermore, Sir Captain James Cook was the first to discover and explore the land in 1778!

Unlike other states in the US, Anchorage is a city that is located farther up north than Helsinki and this city also has short days during the winter.

Anchorage used to first be the site for a railroad construction group and proper settlement began in 1914. It is now the largest city in the state of Alaska.

A clear day in Anchorage will give you a clear view of six well mountain ranges which are Talkeetna, Chugach, Kenai, Mount Mckinley, Aleutian, The Alaska, and Tordillo. Anchorage is popular for having the busiest seaplane base in the world, having more than 1,500 takeoffs and landings!

Anchorage's economy is largely dependent on industries like travel and tourism, government and military, and oil companies too.

The most famous local in Anchorage is none other than the local reindeer and moose. A resident of Anchorage can also blame being late to work on a moose as it is that common for a moose to be spotted in the Anchorage area!

The unofficial Olympic sport in Anchorage is all about fish!

Historical Facts About Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage has always had an interesting line of historical events.

Anchorage stretches over 20,000 sq. mi (51799.76 sq.

km) and is bigger in size when compared to Rhode Island.

It was initially located on the territorial land that first belonged to Russia and now it is the youngest city in the United States of America plus the largest city in the state of Alaska! The original inhabitants, as mentioned earlier, were members of the Athabascan tribe who were called the Dena'ina.

Therefore, since Anchorage's area originally belonged to the Russians, you can still find Russian influences in the traditions cultures, and languages that are spoken in Anchorage.

Discovered by the famous British explorer James Cook in 1778, the narrow fjord found at the north of Anchorage called Turnagain Arm was named so by Cook out of irritation when he tried to find a passage that would lead him back to Prince William Sound but only came across a river instead.

In 1915, Anchorage slowly started to become inhabited with its first settlers who were railway construction workers on the Alaska Railroad.

This small settlement that lived in a house tent didn't have any name at first.

However, the US post that was set up here was named 'Anchorage' and hence, this name has stuck ever since! Later down the line as more people came and resided here, they began to call Anchorage's area the 'White City' although it bore almost no resemblance to the original White City which is Chicago.

You'd be surprised to also learn that Anchorage saw its first hospital being built in 1937 and until then people used to travel for a number of hours to get to the nearest hospital possible for medical treatment!

Facts About Anchorage's Population

Anchorage has seen a massive increase in the population trend throughout history and especially in recent years.

As of 2020, the number of residents in Anchorage is 291,000 becoming Alaska's most populous city and constituting about 40% of the total population in Alaska. Statistical research has further indicated that between the period of 1970 and 1980, Anchorage's population increased by almost 260% which is roughly around 130,000 residents.

Two specific events took place that were responsible for this population boom.

The first event was the discovery of oil which happened in 1968 at the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in Alaska's North Slope and the second event was increasing the oil prices in 1973 and 1979 which was done by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC.

This not only led to a hike in the inflow of people in Anchorage but also rapid growth of oil production.

The government of Alaska went on to spend the revenues received on the development of infrastructure and service sectors which in turn created lots of job opportunities. Therefore, people flocked into this city in large numbers causing a rise in Anchorage's native population.

Anchorage is also known for its amazing healthcare facilities which have led to a significant decline in death rates and the city also has no sales tax imposed on the consumption of goods and services by the people, further attributing to why Anchorage is so populated.

Facts About Anchorage's Economy

Anchorage has always been a city that's quaint, peaceful, and lively, all at the same time! People are hardly in conflict with one another, because of which they experience low crime rates.

Anchorage is also a scenic beauty that garners the attention of many travelers all over the world and there are countless things to admire when you visit this splendid city.

The largest city of Alaska has its economy built on a great foundation of revenue and gains that come from investing in the development of the travel and tourism sector, service sectors, government, and military sectors, and oil production sectors, and even the healthcare sectors.

Anchorage's economy has seen a stable growth each year of about 2% and Anchorage represents 47% of the total employment opportunities available in the entire state of Alaska.

With that being said, the highest paid jobs in Anchorage are health diagnosing, law, engineering, and architecture.

Alaska is the only state in America that does not levy any sales on the goods and services consumed by the locals and there is also no individual income tax no matter the personal income of the particular resident.

With the hit of the Coronavirus pandemic that put the world on a halt, Anchorage saw some major job losses and the availability of employment opportunities began to fall.

Even tourism, which brought in great revenue for the city saw a big decline.

Nonetheless, the spring of 2021 has once again seen a steady rise in these areas and its former glory is being restored yet again!

City reports and the government of Anchorage have also made it a goal to bring about 4,000 jobs by the end of 2021 and around 12,000 jobs by 2024, a plan that Anchorage can easily achieve.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 143 fascinating facts about Anchorage, Alaska that will surprise you, then why not take a look at facts about Charleston St. and facts about Cheyenne, Wyoming that you are going to love for sure!

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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