The City of Anchorage may be relatively young, but it has a storied history that is rich enough to keep you captivated for hours. And who better to recount some of the highlights than four former mayors who were there when they happened? Among other things, you’ll hear about Anchorage’s wilder days, what the 1964 earthquake was really like, how oil money helped shape many facets of modern life, and Alaska’s little-known 9/11 scare.
Points of Interest
Features This quaint downtown park is named after the delicious fruiting shrub. Enjoy romantic views of Cook Inlet from the swing set and tour Anchorage’s oldest standing home, the Oscar Anderson House. At 1.5 acres, Elderberry Park offers 10 parking spaces, toddler play equipment for 2 – 5 year olds as well as equipment for 5 – 12 year olds, benches throughout the park, access to Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and possible restrooms available… ...more
Delaney Park Strip, in downtown Anchorage, is a great place to fly a kite, play frisbee or softball, or even ride a dog sled in the winter. But in Anchorage’s early years it was used as an airstrip. Listen to the story of how an enterprising bi-plane pilot repurposed it as such and in 1997 retraced a historic flight to Fairbanks that occured exactly 70 years prior.
Created by a local high school student as his Eagle Scout project, this scale model of our solar system is a great way to explore Anchorage. Taking the walk, you experience the relative size of the planets and their distance from the Sun. The scale was chosen so that a leisurely walking pace mimics the speed of light. On this scale, each step equals the distance light travels in one second (300,000 kilometers or 186,000 miles). It should… ...more
Anchorage is used to dealing with all kinds of natural disasters, from earthquakes and volcanoes to snowstorms and forest fires. But September 11, 2001 brought with it new challenges, including a Korean airplane heading to Anchorage broadcasting a signal saying they were hijacked. Then-mayor George Wuerch describes the city’s response.
The Dena’ina Center is one of downtown Anchorage’s newest buildings, but surprisingly it is one of the first to honor the native people of southcentral Alaska. From the names of the rooms in the building, to the artwork on the walls and even the bricks on the sidewalk below, the Dena’ina Center is full of little gems.
Not only is the Performing Arts Center a world-class performance hall for music, plays and opera, but it also is where mayor Dan Sullivan was sworn into office. Join him on stage with his father, former mayor George Sullivan, and every other living mayor.
In the 1980’s, when the state and city were flush with oil money, there was a big push to improve the infastructure in downtown Anchorage. These large capital projects enabled Anchorage to host events like the 2001 Special Olympics. Former mayor George Wuerch describes the experience of hosting that large event and getting the chance to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outside JC Penney downtown, former mayor George Wuerch heard old timers’ stories from Anchorage’s wild and crazy WWII years. Back then, downtown Anchorage only had one or two paved streets and a plethora of seedy establishments lining 4th and 5th Avenues.