At the corner of East Manor Avenue and Boyd Street on Government Hill, three distinctive white buildings set on a small grassy corner hold the secret to Anchorage’s first communications.
In the city’s early days, the only way to communicate beyond Alaska’s borders was to walk to this corner, known as the Wireless Center on Government Hill, and send a short wire message. News of joy, hope, disaster, and war all came and went via this little neighborhood. The area was also home to the first cottages built for the railway builders of the Alaska Engineering Commission, in 1915. (You’ll see Cottages #2–#14; oddly, a #1 was never built.) For those who lived and worked here, their motto became “We’re high on the Hill.”
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.
You can also learn the stories of some of Anchorage’s most famous residents, including Jack and Nellie Brown (Cottage #2), General Talley (Brown’s Point Cottages), and many notable railroad and military families.