Anchorage Timeline

Anchorage Timeline

Preferred citation:  Anchorage Timeline, Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, http://www.alaskahistory.org.

Early Human Occupation

  • 15,000 BP:  Glaciers of Upper Cook Inlet Basin recede, creating places available for potential human occupation.
  • 10,000--7,500 BP:  Earliest occupation by human populations of Cook Inlet Basin.
  • 3,500 BP--1,750 AD:  Kachemak archaeological traditions are present in the Cook Inlet Basin.
  • 1,000 BP--1,750 AD:  Late prehistoric period.
  • 500-- 1000 AD:  Dena’ina migrations occur from areas west of Cook Inlet to Cook Inlet Basin.

Historical Events

1700-1800

  • 1741--1800:  European exploration.
  • 1741-1742:  Bering-Chirikov expedition to Alaska.  Russian Imperial Navy squadron, under Danish navigator Vitus Jonassen Bering and his second in command, Aleksei Chirikov, make landfalls on Alaska’s coast (1741), but do not enter Cook Inlet.
  • 1778:  On May 26-June 6, 1778, British Royal Navy Captain James Cook explores Cook Inlet.  Cook sends crew ashore (June 1, 1778) at Tuyqun (“Calm Water”), renamed Point Possession (across the entrance to Turnagain Arm from present-day Anchorage), with two armed boats to plant the British flag and perform a claiming ceremony.  They encounter Dena’ina from Point Possession Village (Ch’aghalnikt)  and at West Foreland.
  • 1786:  Royal British Naval Captain and fur trader George Dixon and fellow trader Nathaniel Portlock explore Cook Inlet during their three-year voyage (1785-1788).
  • 1787-1790:  Lebedev-Lastochkin Company establish outposts on Cook Inlet at St. George on Kasilof River (established 1787) and on the Kahnu (Kenai) River (Nikolaevsky Redoubt, Fort St. Nicholas, established 1791).
  • 1792-1794:  British Royal Naval Captain George Vancouver surveys entire coast from San Diego to Cook Inlet.  In 1794, he visits the Russian post on Upper Cook Inlet at Tyonek (North Foreland).
  • 1797:  Tyonek Dena’ina, or Tubughna people, under the leadership of Quq’ey, destroy the Russian post at North Foreland.  The Lake Illiamna post is also destroyed in the late 1790s.  Due to Dena’ina resistance, Russian penetration into most Dena’ina territory, including Upper Cook Inlet, interior regions, and most of the Kenai Peninsula was minimal for most of the nineteenth century.

 1800-1900

  • 1837-1840:  Over half of the Dena’ina population are killed as a result of a larger smallpox epidemic that swept through Alaska from 1835 to 1840.  This epidemic has been ranked as one of the most significant events in the history of Alaska’s Native people.
  • 1867:  United States purchases Alaska from Russia.  
  • 1860s-1880s:  Alaska Commercial Company, a San Francisco firm, establishes trading stations along Cook Inlet at Knik and Tyonek. 
  • 1870s-1890s:  American gold prospectors and explorers arrive in the Cook Inlet Basin.        
  • 1884, May 17:  Congress passes the First Organic Act (23 Stat. 24), which made Alaska a civil and judicial district.  It provided for a limited civil government, with a governor, judges, clerks, marshals, and local U.S. commissioners or justices of the peace. 
  • 1888:  Gold is discovered by Alexander King at Resurrection Creek, a stream emptying into Turnagain Arm, attracting the attention of local prospectors.        
  • 1896:  Some 3,000 gold seekers flock to Turnagain Arm, setting off the first major rush to the area, and prompting the development of the first long-term settlements of American settlers in the Cook Inlet area.  Hope (also known as Hope City), built at the mouth of Resurrection Creek (1895), and Sunrise (1896) rapidly grow into large towns and become  supply centers for gold seekers and other adventurers.  James Girdwood stakes placer claim at Crow Creek (1896).
  • 1890s-1917:  The trading station of Knik rapidly grows into a supply center for the Willow Creek mining district (organized in 1898) and for the gold and coal mines in the greater region.
  • 1897-1898:  Klondike Gold Rush.  Estimated 100,000 to 200,000 gold seekers attempt to travel north to the Klondike River Valley (Yukon).
  • 1898:  A second gold rush of 7,000-10,000 people to Cook Inlet occurs, but it is short-lived.  Disappointed gold seekers move on to more promising finds in the Klondike and Nome areas or return to the states.
  • 1899:  U.S. Army exploring expediton under Captain Edwin Forbes Glenn maps Cook Inlet area, investigates routes of travel for the most practicable overland trails, etc. 

 1900-1925

  • 1907, July 23:  President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the Chugach National Forest by proclamation.
  • 1911:  First Non-Native families arrive in Anchorage area.  J.D. “Bud” and Daisy Whitney settle near the mouth of Ship Creek in May 1911.  Thomas Jeter builds a cabin near Government Hill in 1911 or 1912. 
  • 1912:  Congress passes the Second Organic Act, (37 Stat. 512) which establishes the Territory of Alaska with an elected legislature.  A section of the law creates the Alaska Railroad Commission to investigate the railroad situation in Alaska.
  • 1914, March 12:  Congress passes the Alaska Railroad Act (38 Stat. 305), which led to the development of Anchorage and the abandonment of Knik, which becomes a ghost town. 
  • 1914, May-June:  Eleven survey parties leave Seattle, Washington, to determine possible routes for the proposed Alaska Railroad.
  • 1915, April 10:  President Woodrow Wilson decides on the route for the Alaska Railroad--the western or Susitna route--which runs from Seward to Fairbanks.  
  • 1915, spring:  “Tent City” develops on the north shore of Ship Creek from present-day Anchorage.  Over 2,000 prospective workers and merchants live in ragged tents and temporary wooden buildings under unsanitary conditions.
  • 1915, spring:  The Alaskan Engineering Commission (AEC) begins work on the Alaska Railroad by setting up a construction site at Ship Creek, on Knik Arm.  On a plateau above the creek, lots are laid out on a 240-acre townsite under the supervision of the General Land Office, with Andrew Christensen in charge.   
  • 1915, April:  U.S. Post Office Department assigns the name of Anchorage to the new town and appoints Roydon Chase as the first postmaster.  The AEC preferred Ship Creek.  All mail is sent to Anchorage and not Ship Creek.  The establishment of the Anchorage post office firmly establishes the new name and it is quickly adopted on maps and in news accounts.
  • 1915, June 5:  First issue of the Cook Inlet Pioneer & Knik News, v. 1, no. 1, as a weekly newspaper.  On October 21, the name was changed to the Cook Inlet Pioneer, when it became Anchorage’s first daily newspaper.  It evolved into the Anchorage Daily Times.
  • 1915, June:  First civil case tried at the U.S. District Court at Anchorage, when H.W. Nagley alleges that two boat operators (Johann Bartels and L.D. Ellexson) owed him $11.47.  The records do not show whether Nagley got his money.
  • 1915, July 10:  First townsite auction of lots signifies the founding of the city of Anchorage. 
  • 1915, August 2:  First election of members of the Anchorage school board.
  • 1915, August 9:  Election is held to determine the official name of the town, with the following nine names appearing on the ballot:  Alaska City, Anchorage, Gateway, Homestead, Lane, Matanuska, Ship Creek, Terminal, and Winalaska.  There were 538 votes cast, with the highest number, 146, for Alaska City.  Second choice was Lane (in honor of Secretary of the Interior Franklin D. Lane), with 129 votes.  Third choice was Anchorage (101 votes).  Alaska Governor J.F.A. Strong favored Matanuska.  The U.S. Post Office Department made the final choice by insisting that the name remain as Anchorage.
  • 1915, November 15:  Anchorage’s first public school opens in the “Pioneer Hall building” ( now known as Pioneer School), with four teachers and over a hundred students learning in barely functional conditions.
  • 1915:  Anchorage Chamber of Commerce organized with J.H. Smith and Anthony J. Wendler as first presidents.  Anchorage Woman’s Club formed, an important advocate for civic and cultural improvement.  Kimball’s Dry Goods opens and became the oldest continuously operating business in Anchorage.  The building is the only remaining commercial building located in its original place from the 1915 Anchorage townsite.
  • 1916, July 1:  Empress Theatre opens with the feature, Peggy, starring Billie Burke.  Built by Austin E. “Cap” Lathrop, it was one of a chain of theaters he developed across Alaska.
  • 1916:  Pioneers of Alaska, Igloo 15, charter signed creating the Anchorage chapter of this statewide fraternal organization.
  • 1917, May 29:  Anchorage Daily Times begins as a continuation of the Cook Inlet Pioneer.
  • 1917:  Anchorage Public School, the town’s second school, is built to accommodate growing enrollments as population increases to more than 5,500.  There were some 206 students, the largest student body of any Alaska school district.
  • 1917-1918:  Ocean dock built.  Before the docks were built, ships were anchored off shore and goods were transferred to barges, then lightered to shore.
  • 1918, April:  Anchorage school district organized.
  • 1918, September 24:  Townsite advisory board is elected. 
  • 1918, October 1:  First train service between Anchorage and Seward.
  • 1918, October 5:  First passenger train from Anchorage to Seward.
  • 1919, September 13:  First ocean-going vessel, the freighter Anyox, ties up to Anchorage dock with a cargo of two thousand tons of steel rails, equipment, and supplies for the AEC.
  • 1920, November 2:  Incorporation election; vote 328 for and 130 against.  Voters approve a seven-member city council.  Under territorial law, the city council selects one of their own members as mayor under the weak-mayor form of local government.  In April 1946, voters approve a change to the city manager form of government.
  • 1920, November 23:  U.S. District Court Judge Frederick M. Brown signs the articles of incorporation, declaring Anchorage officially incorporated.
  • 1920:  City of Anchorage’s population declines to 1,856 residents.  Many workers volunteer for military service during World War I or leave after the completion of railroad construction in the vicinity of Anchorage in fall 1917.
  • 1922, May 24:  Charles Hammontree pilots the first flight over Anchorage in a 4:00 a.m. test flight, taking off in a hydroplane from the “old dock” (Anchorage Daily Times, May 23-24, 1922).  A number of local residents later fly as passengers.
  • 1922, November 13:  Austin E. “Cap” Lathrop starts construction on a 7,000-square foot motion picture studio in downtown Anchorage.  He films part of The Cheechakos here, using local residents for crowd scenes.
  • 1923, May 25:  Arthur A. Shonbeck organized and led the people of Anchorage to clear the 9th Avenue Park Strip to create an airstrip for bush pilots and a nine-hole golf course.
  • 1923, July 13:  President Warren G. Harding and his party arrive in Anchorage.
  • 1923, July 15:  President Warren G. Harding drives the golden spike near Nenana to mark the completion of the Alaska Railroad and the Tanana River bridge.
  • 1923, December 11:  Official premier of The Cheechakos takes place at Anchorage’s Empress Theatre.
  • 1923:  William Mulcahy started the Anchorage Baseball League.
  • 1924, May 17:  KFQD signs on the air as Anchorage’s (and Alaska’s) first radio station.
  • 1924, July 15:  Pilot Noel Wein and mechanic Bill Yunkers fly non-stop from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
  • 1924:  Eklutna Industrial School opens near Anchorage.  Originally located at Tyonek, it is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs as an industrial and vocational school until its closure in 1947.
  • 1925, May:  Anchorage Golf Club organized.

 1926-1950

  • 1926, December 29:  Alaska Air Transport, Inc., Anchorage’s first airline, is organized.  Arthur A. Shonbeck is named as president and general manager.  Russel Hyde Merrill hired as the company’s chief pilot.
  • 1929, September 16-17:  Russel Hyde Merrill disappears while crossing Cook Inlet on a supply flight to the NYAC mine on the Kuskokwim River.  Merrill’s body is never found.
  • 1929:  Mayor J.J. Delaney establishes Aviation Field, later named Merrill Field, due to a resolution by the Anchorage Woman’s Club.
  • 1930, summer:  Anchorage Municipal Airport is renamed Merrill Field Airport in honor of Russel Merrill.   The Anchorage Woman’s Club raises funds for a permanent memorial to Russel Merrill in the form of a new, high intensity revolving light beacon mounted on a steel tower, as an aid in landing at the airport.  On September 25, 1932, the beacon is formally dedicated at Merrill Field.
  • 1930, Fall:  Growing school enrollments are supplemented by the opening of a separate high school (Sixth Avenue High School) on the south side of the School Reserve. 
  • 1930:  City of Anchorage population reaches 2,277 residents.
  • 1932:  Linious “Mac” McGee begins McGee Airways that eventually becomes Alaska Airlines in 1944.
  • 1935, February 15-17:  First annual “Winter Sports Carnival” held in Anchorage.  In 1937, the name was changed to “Winter Sports Tournament and Fur Rendezvous.”  Today, it is known as the Fur Rondy Festival, a ten-day event in late February-early March of each year.
  • 1935:  Matanuska Valley Colony established.  Farm families primarily from economically depressed counties in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin arrive to start new farms in the Matanuska Valley.
  • 1936, November 15:  Dedication of Anchorage City Hall (524 West Fourth Avenue).
  • 1937:  Anchorage Ski Club founded.  Since the 1940s, it has provided skiing at the Arctic Valley Ski Area, also known as Alpenglow at Arctic Valley, located in Chugach State Park.  Alpenglow is southcentral Alaska’s oldest ski area.
  • 1938:  Under General Manager Otto F. Ohlson, the Alaska Railroad records its first profitable year.
  • 1939, January 28:  Anchorage High School opens at 6th and F Street.  There was also a 570-seat auditorium (where large public meetings were held) and a grade school.  Construction was financed with a $101,250 Federal Emergency Administration grant and a voter-approved $137,000 bond issue, approved by 70% of the electorate.  Naramore & Naramore, noted school architects, designed this fire-proof and earthquake-resistant building, which suffered no damage in the 1964 Alaska earthquake.
  • 1939, April 29:  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order withdrawing a 50,000-acre tract of land for a future military base north of Anchorage.
  • 1939, June 29:  Providence Hospital at Ninth and I Street is formally opened under Sister Stanislaus of Jesus, the first Superior for the Sisters of Providence, in Anchorage.
  • 1939:  U.S. Courthouse at Valdez burns to the ground.  U.S. Department of Justice moves the court headquarters for the U.S. District Court’s Third Division from Valdez to Anchorage, settling a long controversy.  The move is made permanent by passage of an act of Congress on November 22, 1943, designating Anchorage as the permanent seat of the Third Division (57 Stat. 592).
  • 1939-1940:  Construction of Federal Building (605 West Fourth Avenue).
  • 1940, June 27:  First contingent of U.S. Army troops from the 4th Infantry arrives in Anchorage as part of effort to remilitarize Alaska., beginning the influx of a huge military population in Alaska. 
  • 1940, December 12:  Fort Richardson named in honor of Brigadier General Wilds P. Richardson.  The airfield complex becomes known officially as Elmendorf Field, honoring Captain Hugh M. Elmendorf, who died in an aircraft accident in Ohio in 1933.
  • 1940: Anchorage population reported ass 3,495.
  • 1942, November 20:  “Holing Through Ceremony” by Lt. General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. and Alaska Railroad General Manager Otto Ohlson commemorates the completion of the Whittier Tunnel.  Two tunnels are built through the Chugach Mountains to allow rail access through the Port of Whittier, on Prince William Sound.
  • 1942, September:  Original Alaska Railroad Depot and administrative headquarters completed.
  • 1942:  Anchorage population reaches 6,000 residents.
  • 1945, September 18:  South Addition, a twenty-one-block area, is first annexation by the City of Anchorage.
  • 1946, January 12:  Anchorage Daily News founded.  It begins as a weekly, called the Anchorage News, and was published through April 24, 1948, when it becomes the Anchorage Daily News.
  • 1946, April 2:  City voters approve the city manager form of government; 1,136 for and 216 against.
  • 1946, April 8:  City of Anchorage starts paying salaries to the mayor and members of the city council.
  • 1946, June 6:  Government Hill is recognized as part of the City of Anchorage by the city council.
  • 1946, July 1:  The first city manager, Adolphus J. Koenig, takes office.
  • 1946, July 10:  First zoning ordinance enacted.
  • 1946, October 19:  Loussac Foundation created by Zachariah J. “Z.J.” or “Zach’ Loussac.
  • 1946, December:  Anchorage Community Symphony makes its debut when it plays incidental music for the Anchorage Little Theatre’s performance of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
  • 1946:  Fur Rendezvous World Championship Sled Dog Race begins.
  • 1947, May 13:  Independent School District approved and a five-member school board elected.
  • 1947, May 31:  Fourth Avenue Theatre opens with the premiere showing of The Jolson Story.  Built by Austin E. “Cap” Lathrop, it was nationally and regionally noted for its Art Deco style of architecture and was the crown jewel of his commercial empire. 
  • 1947, August 20:  Chugach Electric Association organized.
  • 1948, May 2:  Radio station KENI signs on the air; it was Anchorage’s second radio station. 
  • 1949, February 28:  First city sales tax vote to raise $500,000 in funds for a civic center failed.
  • 1950:  City of Anchorage population reported as 11,254.

 1951-1975

  • 1951, October 19:  Completion of 128-mile Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward.
  • 1951, December 10:  Anchorage International Airport officially opens.   
  • 1951:  Loussac Foundation underwrites the construction of a modern building to house the municipal library on the northeast corner of  5th Avenue and F Street.
  • October 12:  Anchorage High School on Romig Hill opens; currently West High School.
  • 1953, November 29:  Alaska Native Medical Center of the Alaska Native Service (ANS) officially opens on a 21.4-acre site on Third Avenue.  The building had almost 600 rooms and nearly doubled the ANS bed capacity in the territory.
  • 1953:  Anchorage Community Theatre established by Frank Brink, the “Father” of Anchorage theatre, who laid the foundation for the city’s community, academic, and professional theatre over the following three decades.
  • 1954, January 20:  Anchorage is selected as the site for a $2,500,000 Methodist college.
  • 1954, February:   Anchorage Community College (ACC), a joint venture of the Anchorage Independent School District and the University of Alaska, opens on the second floor of what is now West High School.
  • 1954:  Alyeska Ski Corporation is founded. 
  • 1955, May:  Rasmuson Foundation is created under a declaration of trust by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband, Edward Anton “E.A.” Rasmuson.
  • 1955, June 1:  Formal dedication of original Z.J. Loussac Library at 5th Avenue and F Street. 
  • 1955:  Cook Inlet Historical Society founded.
  • 1956:  National Municipal League and Look magazine name Anchorage an “All-American City” for “successfully tackling a skyrocketing population that threatened to swamp city facilities and for pushing for needed city improvements.”  Anchorage has received this award four times (1956, 1965, 1984-1985, and 2002).
  • 1957, July 15: Richfield Oil Geologist William Bishop strikes oil in a 70,000-acre tract of leased land on the Kenai Peninsula, discovering the Swanson River oilfield.
  • 1958, July 4:  Anchorage residents celebrate, with a huge bonfire on the Park Strip, passage of the Alaska Statehood Act (72 Stat. 339) by Congress on June 30.  President Eisenhower signs the bill on July 7.  Anchorage Daily Times runs its shortest banner headline on July 8: “WE’RE IN.”
  • 1959, January 3:  Alaska admitted as the 49th state. 
  • 1959, October:  City of Anchorage home rule charter is approved by voters under provisions of the Alaska Constitution.
  • 1959:  Anchorage population grows to 37,000 in a 12.7-mile area, with annexations of Russian Jack Springs (1954), Rogers Park (1958), Spenard (1959), and most of Fairview (1959).
  • 1959:  First chairlift and day lodge opens at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, approximately 27 miles (44 km) from Anchorage.
  • 1959:  Nike Site Summit, near Fort Richardson, opens as last line of defense against attack by nuclear-armed Soviet bombers.  Two other Nike sites were Site Point (located near the Anchorage International Airport) and Site Bay (located in the Knik Arm of the Cook Bay inlet at Goose Bay across from Fort Richardson). 
  • 1950s:  Oil and gas development occurs in Cook Inlet.
  • 1960, October 1: Alaska Methodist University offers its first classes to students on a campus on the east side of Anchorage.  In 1978, the university changes its name to Alaska Pacific University.
  • 1960: City of Anchorage population reported at 44,237.
  • 1961, July 8: Port of Anchorage is dedicated.  The port facility was built to improve conditions for shipping and to make Anchorage a major port.
  • 1961:  Native village of Eklutna (Eydlughet) organized as a response to the encroachment on traditional lands.
  • 1962, October 26:  Providence Hospital opens at a 45-acre site at Goose Lake, in the present U-Med District, replacing the 9th & I Street facility. 
  • 1963, December 3:  Formation of Greater Anchorage Area Borough (GAAB).  In a special election, voters choose a second-class borough form of government.  The Alaska State Legislature’s passage of the Mandatory Borough Act of 1963 required the incorporation of boroughs by January 1, 1964.  GAAB had mandatory powers of education, planning and zoning, assessment, and collection of taxes.  Other powers had to be approved by the voters.
  • 1964, January 14: Nordic Ski Club of Anchorage organized.  In 1972, the Nordic Ski Club was incorporated as the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage (NSAA).
  • 1964, March 27:  A 9.2 earthquake strikes southcentral Alaska, near Valdez.  Many parts of Anchorage are affected, with most buildings in downtown Anchorage suffering structural damage.
  • 1964:  Cook Inlet Native Association is founded.
  • 1967, December 27:  Discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay by the Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO) results in an economic boom for Anchorage, as it becomes the regional headquarters to the oil companies. 
  • 1968:  Anchorage Museum of History and Art (now the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center) opens.
  • 1969, September 10: State of Alaska conducts a well-publicized lease sale on 179 tracts of oil-rich land on the North Slope at Prudhoe Bay.  The proceeds amounted to more than $900 million, more than three times the annual state budget.
  • 1970, November:  University of Alaska, Anchorage, formed.  It offers ACC and upper division and graduate courses and programs.
  • 1970:  City of Anchorage population reported as 48,801.
  • 1971, December 18: Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 (85 Stat. 688), signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
  • 1971:  President Richard Nixon and Emperor Hirohito meet at Elmendorf Air Force Base.
  • 1972, June 8: Cook Inlet Region, Inc., also known as CIRI, incorporated.  It is one of twelve land-based Alaska Native corporations created by ANCSA.  CIRI has regional boundaries that roughly follow traditional Dena’ina territory in southcentral Alaska.
  • 1973, March:  First running of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to Nome.
  • 1973, November 16:  Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act (87 Stat. 584) signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
  • 1973:  Joan Kimura, a commercial art instructor at Anchorage Community College, designs official flag for Municipality of Anchorage. 
  • 1974:   Construction begins on Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), or “Alaska Pipeline.”
  • 1975, September:  In a special election, the City of Anchorage and Greater Anchorage Area Borough are unified into the Municipality of Anchorage.  Eagle River and Chugiak are both annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage when the City and Greater Anchorage Area Borough become unified.
  • 1975:  Bicentennial Park (4,000 acres) created in east Anchorage with approval of master plan by the Anchorage Assembly.  In 1983, parkland was acquired by patent by Municipality of Anchorage from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the State of Alaska.

1976-2000

  • 1977, May 31: Trans-Alaska Pipeline is completed and oil begins to flow.
  • 1979, May:  Federal Building/U.S. Courthouse at 222 West 7th Avenue opens.
  • 1980:  Municipality of Anchorage population reported as 174,431.  Kincaid Park grows to its present size through a land transfer from the U.S. Air Force.  President Jimmy Carter visits.
  • 1981:  Pope John II visits and celebrates mass on the Anchorage Park Strip.
  • 1983:  Governor William Sheffield initiates purchase of the 482-mile Alaska Railroad.  President Ronald Reagan signs legislation authorizing the transfer of the Alaska Railroad to the State of Alaska.  
  • 1983:   ARCO (now ConocoPhillips) Building completed and is tallest building in Anchorage.  President Ronald Reagan visits.
  • 1983-1986: Project 80s, an effort to improve public facilities, results in the construction of these important public buildings:  Sullivan Arena, Egan Convention Center, Loussac Library, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, and Alaska Center for the Performing Arts.  One of the non-architectural expenditures is an eleven-mile coastal trail, later named the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
  • 1983-1984:  Hilltop Ski Area opens and expands at new location in southeast corner of Far North Bicentennial Park.  In 1985, the Karl Eid Jump Complex (the only active ski jumping facility in Alaska) is dedicated.
  • 1984:  Governor William Sheffield signs legislation creating the Alaska Railroad Corporation, a quasi-public state corporation (with a seven-member Board of Directors), to operate the Alaska Railroad.
  • 1985:  Transfer of ownership of the Alaska Railroad takes place.  State of Alaska purchases the Alaska Railroad from the Federal Government for $22.3 million.
  • 1985: Anchorage named by U.S. Olympic Committee as the bid city for 1994 Winter Games.  Municipality of Anchorage’s Parks & Recreation Department starts construction of the Kincaid Outdoor Center, using one of the former Nike Hercules missile site buildings.  BP Exploration building joins the Anchorage skyline.
  • 1985-1986:  End of the Alaska economic boom occurs, when the price of oil drops to less than $10 per barrel.  Economic recession hits Alaska, with the state's unemployment rate averaging about eleven percent.  Many Alaskans leave for jobs Outside, with more than 11,000 residents leaving Anchorage alone.  A total of fourteen banks and savings and loans are forced out of business because of bad loans.
  • 1986:   Z.J. Loussac Library opens in a new four-story building.
  • 1989, March 24:  M/V Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • 1989:  Anchorage Center for the Performing Arts opens.
  • 1990:  Municipality of Anchorage population reported as 226,338.
  • 1991:  Town Square Park opens.
  • 1992, June 3:  Anchorage Times ceases publication and goes out of business.
  • 1992:  Alaska Railroad moves into a new headquarters building at Ship Creek.  Anchorage is covered in ash from the Mount Spurr eruption. 
  • 1993, July 25:  Anchorage Botanical Gardens opens, displaying over 1,100 species of hardy perennials and 150 Native plant species.
  • 1994:  Alyeska Prince Hotel, centerpiece of Alyeska Resort, opens.  President Bill Clinton visits.
  • 1997:  Alaska Native Medical Center (jointly owned and managed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Southcentral Foundation as well as tribal governments and their regional health organizations) opens.
  • 1999:  Alaska Native Heritage Center opens.  Whittier Tunnel opens to vehicular traffic and becomes the only shared rail/vehicle tunnel in the United States.
  • 2000:  Municipality of Anchorage population reported as 260,283.  Airport renamed the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

2001-2015

  • 2008:  Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center opens in Anchorage.  Running of the Reindeer begins as Fur Rendezvous activity. 
  • 2009:  President Barack Obama visits.
  • 2010:  Municipality of Anchorage population reported as 291,826.
  • 2012:  Wind Farm project (owned by CIRI) on Fire Island begins feeding eleven turbines into the Anchorage electrical grid.
  • 2014, May 4:  USS Anchorage (amphibious transport dock) commissioned in Anchorage.
  • 2014-2015:  Anchorage Centennial Celebration.
  • 2015:  President Barack Obama visits.