In the isolated cold of the largest state in the U.S., nestled in the mountains and behind a glacier, sits Whittier Alaska. This town, founded in the 1940’s as a military base in response to the ever-growing Japanese threat, is now a quiet burg that houses almost 200 residents and a slew of unique attributes.
First, getting into the town is a journey that requires patience and a stoic approach to claustrophobia. The only entrance to the town is a two-and-a-half-mile tunnel that is only one lane wide. There are lights outside of the entrance that tell you when you can enter the mountain. This happens every half hour. If you don’t get there at the right time, you are in for a wait.
After you brave the trip through the tunnel (for some a white-knuckle trip) you emerge on the other side greeted by a beautiful expanse of water, mountains, waterfalls and a singular tower complex that shoots straight up into the sky.
See it for yourself in this video (and in the gallery at the bottom):
Via Field Day
Begich Towers, which is the central hub of Whittier, houses almost the entire town. From the school, to the theater to the local grocery (one of only two) the entire town seems to be under one roof. The residents seem to prefer it that way, enjoying the tight sense of community and amazing level of security and isolation Whittier offers. The town even closes the gates of the tunnel from 10pm – 5am every single day. Whether it be Russian invasion or Zombie Apocalypse, these folks are set.
The folks of Whittier don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression and think they are a community reminiscent of Silent Hill. They are a welcoming group who cheerfully greet guests of the town and welcome more to come. Though the living arrangements may be strange in what the building’s superintendent refers to as life inside of a “big copper-covered Rubik’s cube”, they are a happy and comfortable group.
If getting away from humanity and moving to a town that is funnier than most is your dream, come visit Whittier. Just make sure you get there before 10pm or you’ll be in for a very, very long wait.
Scroll through these 32 images to get a sense of living in a town under one roof.