Whittier, Alaska – Whittier, Alaska - Atlas Obscura

Whittier, Alaska

This small city where almost everyone lives in the same building can only be reached via North America's longest tunnel. 


The small city of Whittier, Alaska has only two large buildings. One is abandoned and frequented by bears, while the other houses almost all of the city’s population. Neither can be reached without first passing through the longest tunnel in North America (either by car or train). 

Named after a nearby glacier, the city of Whittier was established in World War II as a military supply post named Camp Sullivan. American soldiers arriving in Alaska would assemble at the camp before moving out. The military presence remained in the city until 1960, when it became a fishing port all its own. 

Other than the sea port, the only way into or out of what is now Whittier is the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, a 13,000-foot tube that runs right under an entire mountain. 

Two massive structures left behind by the military dominate the city skyline: the Buckner Building and Begich Towers. The former has been abandoned due to structural damage caused by an earthquake in the 1960s and a deadly asbestos problem, but the latter is still in use as the city’s central accommodation. The building is mainly filled with privately owned condominiums that house almost all of Whittier’s population, reserving just the top and ground floors for commercial space.

From Around the Web