Postcards from Whittier: The hidden town or “the city under one roof”

April 2, 2016

What is one of the most interesting and unusual place you have ever visited? Recently I have had the opportunity to visit a town whose nickname is the “city under one roof.” Whittier(the actual name of the town) hosts a little less than 250 residents and most of them live in one building. This town is hidden behind Alaskan mountains and Whittier Glacier. Whittier was established during World War Two as a military facility completed with a port and a railroad terminus. Even a small town like Whittier has its abandoned building. The Buckner building was once considered one of the largest construction in the entire state. In its good days the building was hosting about a thousand apartments, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a bakery, and a post office. Nowadays the building is empty. Today most of the locality’s residents still live under one roof, but in a different building complex. Begich Towers is a fourteen store condominium that also features a small grocery store, a post office, a clinic, and a city office.

the city under one roof

Buckner Building

The town can be reached by boat, train or automobile. If by land, the only way to get into the city is to pass through a one lane tunnel, which is about 2 mile long and operates based on a schedule. Also, there is a toll fee to pay in order to access the location. While driving through the tunnel you might feel a bit claustrophobic and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is something you are looking forward to. Since my visit was during winter, most of the city businesses were closed and the place looked somehow deserted. There were just a few cars in the parking lot, situated in the middle of the town. At the very first look, there wasn’t any signs of life except few men trying to set a boat on water. Everything was quiet and still. After walking around for about twenty minutes and snapping some pictures the silence grew even bigger. The scenery was amazing, no doubt about that, because white-capped mountains and ocean always make for a good landscape. Plus, the empty restaurants and the grey sky amplified the dramatic note of the city.

Below you can see more pictures that hopefully will help you create a visual image of Whittier.

Would you visit this city?

I hope you enjoyed the photographs, and here you can watch a short CNN video about life in Wittier 🙂

Take care, 


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