An entire city under one roof

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An entire city under one roof

Somewhere in Alaska, Whittier small town living its little joys and dramas like any other settlement in the world. But something is different. The entire population lives under the same roof.

Buckner Building

the largest buildings in Alaska, often being referred to as “the city under one roof“. The building was slightly damaged by the 9.2 1964 Alaska earthquake


Whittier Alaskan town was founded in 1969 and since then, the population did not exceed 250 people. It may seem strange to those who live in temperate climates, but in the far north, where snow resides most of the year and temperatures rarely exceed 18 degrees every village with more than 50 people can be called town.History begins in the tiny city during the Second World War when the US military decided to set up Camp Sullivan, a military transit by soldiers stationed in Alaska highway ships ashore. Then, after the war, all military has built two concrete buildings – the largest in the area at the time – designed to accommodate soldiers. In the 50s, these buildings housed about 1,000 soldiers had at their disposal a dining room, a cinema, a bowling alley and a small post office. But after 1960, the military garrison gave up and left everything to the few fishermen in the area. Slowly the population increased to more than 800 people, but the earthquake of 1964, followed by waves up to 13 meters of destroyed homes and small settlement sweeping all except one of the two former military buildings standing. As the only shelter was this building, all those who escaped the disaster – no more than 150 people – occupied rooms inside.

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Now, after more than 50 years, Whittier just means a port where, occasionally, anchored cruise ships with tourists attracted by the story places, some industrial buildings and a building aged under roof which live all 220 inhabitants of the city. In addition to their apartments, some bedrooms military actually changed, the building houses a kindergarten, a school, a few small shops, a bar, a medical clinic, a post office and police station. Even the church is in the basement, along with play areas for children.

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A unique experience in the world

While it may seem very logical and convenient for all residents to stay just steps away from each other, to meet the hallway to look for children from neighboring apartments, the citizens of Whittier, the town under one roof, bears sometimes shirts that is written, ironically, POW. And that does not mean “Prisoner of War” as expected by those unfamiliar with the realities of the place, but “Prisoner of Whittier.”

The only links the city with the rest of civilization are boats that make regular trips to Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel or south, known as the Whittier Tunnel, one of the best, longest in America. Just with a single band and moving to Anchorage or return to the “city under one roof” can be done alternately.


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