Today, this unique, geographically isolated area is accessible only by bridge. But it’s worth the effort: you can stand on the very spot where Anchorage’s first neighborhood began, at the corner of Delaney and West Harvard streets. From here you can see the Brown’s Point Cottages to the west, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And walk north along West Harvard Street to see what remains of the old cottages.
Downtown’s convenient grid pattern was set up at the same time that construction started on the Government Hill neighborhood. And in 1915, downtown’s plots of land were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Many of the buildings from that era not only still stand, but are still named after some of the city’s founding fathers, reminding us of the sacrifices they made to give a future to their budding city.
Fairview was built beyond the city boundary and became an established community after World War II. Yet the area maintained a fierce independence streak. Those who lived here hoped to avoid bureaucratic oversight and taxation, and even had their own public utility district. It was the only neighborhood that African-Americans could buy property in. And when Anchorage tried to annex the area in the 1950s, locals fought back, in a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.