Whittier is on the northeast shore of the
Kenai Peninsula, at the head of Passage Canal. It is on the west side of
Prince William Sound, 75 miles southeast of Anchorage. It lies at
approximately 60░ 46' N Latitude, 148░ 41' W Longitude (Sec. 24, T008N,
R004E, Seward Meridian). The community is located in the Anchorage
Recording District. The area encompasses 12 sq. miles of land and 7 sq.
miles of water.
Whittier Glacier was named for the American poet John Greenleaf
Whittier, and was first published in 1915 by the U.S. Coast & Geodetic
Survey. A port and railroad terminus were constructed by the U.S. Army
for transport of fuel and other supplies into Alaska during World War
II. The railroad spur was completed in 1943, and the Whittier Port
became the entrance for troops and dependents of the Alaska Command.
The huge buildings that dominate Whittier began construction in 1948.
The Buckner Building, completed in 1953, was once the largest building
in Alaska, and was called the "city under one roof." The Hodge Building
(now Begich Towers) was built for Army bachelors quarters and family
housing; the first residents moved in during the summer of 1956. It is
now a condominium and houses nearly all of Whittier's residents. The
Port remained an active Army facility until 1960; at that time, the
population was 1,200. The City was incorporated in 1969.