Whittier - a city where the entire population lives in one house

In Alaska, 120 kilometers southeast of Anchorage, there is an unusual city called Whittier. The peculiarity of this city lies in the fact that almost all of its population lives in one 14-storey building. And according to the 2010 census, the total number of local residents is only 220 people. The city got its name from the nearby glacier. Well, the glacier itself is named after the poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

During World War II, the US authorities decided to place a naval base on the coast of an ice-free deep-water bay. It was only possible to get here by water, therefore, for more convenient communication, it was necessary to cut through a 3-kilometer tunnel, where they laid not only a highway, but also a railway.

Several typical houses and a 14-storey building were built to accommodate the military and service personnel, which was named "Begich Towers", in honor of Alaska Congressman Nick Begich. The author of the project was the architect Anton Andersen. The town was located in a picturesque place, it was surrounded by nature, untouched before by man. And in the building itself, in addition to apartments, there were shops, a hairdresser, a gym, a police station and even a church.

The quiet life of the town was disrupted in 1964 when the strongest earthquake in the history of the United States struck the area. Landslides caused by tremors demolished many technical structures, the Begich Towers building was seriously damaged, and 13 people became victims of the disaster. The naval base was closed, but most of the civilian population remained to live here further. The restored "Begich Towers" became a huge "communal apartment".

True, it has become not at all easy to live here. The local climate is rather harsh, in winter the city is covered with a multi-meter layer of snow, winds often fall, the speed of which reaches 100 kilometers per hour. And there is no sun from November to February. But, locals joke that those who want to see the sun can get to Anchorage and admire the heavenly body.

However, in order to leave Whittier, you need to drive through the tunnel, and this service is paid and costs $ 12. The tunnel is closed for traffic at night (from eleven o'clock in the evening until half past five in the morning), and the rest of the day, traffic is one-way here and is regulated by traffic lights. This is also a definite plus, the city has a very low crime rate, all locals know each other well, and it is difficult for visiting offenders to predict the timetable for moving through the tunnel and quickly leave the crime scene.

They are trying to maintain good relations with their neighbors, in conditions of forced isolation this is simply necessary, in urgent cases, help from the "mainland" cannot always come in a timely manner. It is especially difficult here in winter, for the onset of which they prepare thoroughly. Some craftsmen even managed to start their own greenhouses, in which they grow greens and vegetables, in order to somehow reduce food dependence on the store. There is even a covered vegetable garden at the school.

The secluded lifestyle has its advantages, for example, the police chief lives in the same house and you can turn to him for help at any time. And students often do their homework in the apartments of teachers who are ready to help sort out difficult questions. In addition, you can communicate with the outside world using the Internet.

After the earthquake, the authorities promised to restore destroyed houses, but they were in no hurry to fulfill their promises. And soon this disappeared

Necessity: Many of the residents left Whittier, while the rest settled quite freely in the largest house in the town. Moreover, they do not leave it so often. For example, in order to go to work, school, or just take a walk in the fresh air. By the way, in winter, children do not have to go to school down the street; a special tunnel has been built for safety.

For the adult population, the main place of work is the port, where ocean liners with tourists arrive. And tourists are really attracted by this unusual settlement. They are interested in seeing the solitary life of people in Witter. Some enterprising residents even rent out apartments to visitors, although this is prohibited by the rules of the town. And they conduct excursions in the surroundings.

Despite all the advantages of a secluded life in the city of Witter, there are not many who want to move here for permanent residence, the population of the city-home is constantly decreasing. So, tourists who want to visit this picturesque place should hurry up. It is highly likely that in the coming years the last residents will leave Witter, and the 14-story building will be abandoned.