Prince William Sound Historic Park or Site

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Historic Park or Site

In 1943, The Army Corps of Engi­neers built a mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rat­ing the effort of build­ing the 2.5 mile long tun­nel through the sol­id rock of May­nard to real­ize the vision of Whit­ti­er as a year-round ice-free port. The mon­u­ment was recent­ly restored in a new loca­tion with the orig­i­nal plaque. 

This rail­road tun­nel was hand-cut start­ing in 1905. Nine com­pa­nies were bat­tling to take advan­tage of the short route from the coast to cop­per coun­try. Progress on the tun­nel was inter­rupt­ed and after a gun bat­tle, con­struc­tion halt­ed and the tun­nel was nev­er fin­ished. You can read about the tun­nel and these events in Rex Beach’s nov­el, The Iron Trail.

Believe it or not, but this area used to be cov­ered by tall trees!

About 75 Miles South­east of Anchorage

Con­struc­tion of this ear­ly-1900s bridge cost a whop­ping (at the time) $1.4 mil­lion, which earned it the nick­name Mil­lion Dol­lar Bridge. But the bridge quick­ly earned its keep, allow­ing the rail­road to haul cop­per from Ken­ni­cott to the port of Cordova.

Whit­ti­er was built as a deep­wa­ter port and rail­road ter­mi­nus to trans­port fuel and sup­plies dur­ing World War II. Come inside the Anchor Inn where a small but fas­ci­nat­ing muse­um gives a glimpse of Whit­tier’s inter­est­ing history.

Glac­i­ers are formed when more snow accu­mu­lates than melts through the sea­sons. The weight of the snow cre­ates pres­sure that turns snowflakes into dense, rivers of ice that shape the land.

The area of Whit­ti­er has long served as pas­sage between Prince William Sound and Tur­na­gain Arm. The Alas­ka Engi­neer­ing Expe­di­tion envi­sioned a rail line out to this large­ly unset­tled area back in 1914, but it was the U.S. Army that made Whit­ti­er where and what it is.

This was the orig­i­nal port and city of Valdez. The city was moved to its cur­rent loca­tion 4 miles down the road after it was dev­as­tat­ed by the 1964 Good Fri­day Earthquake.

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