Whittier, Alaska, situated serenely on the western shore of Prince William Sound amidst stunning mountains, presents a distinctive way of life that defies typical urban landscapes. Often referred to as “the city under one roof,” Whittier houses nearly its entire population within a unique 14-story structure known as the Begich Towers. This colossal building serves multiple purposes: it houses residences, a school, a grocery store, a clinic, a police station and more, forming a self-sufficient community within its boundaries.
The origins of this unique configuration can be traced back to Whittier’s remote location and difficult climatic conditions. Located at the head of a narrow fjord, the city historically depended on access to water due to its inaccessibility by land. Originally built as military housing during the Second World War, the Begich Towers emerged as a vital shelter, offering centralized services and security, particularly during the harsh winter months when the surrounding terrain becomes impassable.
Today, Whittier’s exceptional housing provision offers a glimpse of a close-knit community where neighbors are just steps away. Although unconventional, residents appreciate the comfort and sense of camaraderie this shared space fosters.
According alaska.orgAlthough only a few hundred residents call this coastal city home, it attracts thousands of annual visitors due to its family-friendly appeal and proximity to Anchorage (just a 90-minute drive). Recognized as home to the largest concentration of tidewater glaciers in the world, Whittier offers accessible opportunities to witness stunning natural phenomena such as glaciers, whales, sea otters and vibrant seabird colonies, making it an attractive destination for wildlife enthusiasts. nature.