Reed Travel Features
ANCHORAGE -- Alaska's largest city, with a population of
275,000, Anchorage has developed as a major international air hub
and center of commerce for the state.
It is also a tourism magnet of some importance.
It is the jumping-off point for many thousands of visitors to
the Denali National Park wilderness area, the interior, the Kenai
Peninsula and the far north.
The city is linked to the Lower 48 by the services of Delta Air
Lines, (800) 221-1212; Alaska Airlines, (800) 426-0333; American
Airlines, (800) 433-7300; Northwest Airlines, (800) 225-2525, and
Reno Air, (800) RENO-AIR.
Within Alaska, it is served by Reeve Aleutian, (800) 544-2248,
and ERA Aviation, (800) 243-3322.
Anchorage has accommodations to suit all tastes and budgets,
ranging from the higher-priced Captain Cook, (800) 478-3100; the
Hilton, (800) 445-8667; the Sheraton, (800) 325-3535, and the
Westmark, (800) 478-3100, to the more modest Tradewind, (907)
243-0533, and the Snowshoe Inn, (907) 258-7669.
Alaska Railroad, (800) 544-0552, has locomotives that haul the
domed rail cars of Holland America's McKinley Explorer and Princess
Tours' Midnight Sun Express into Denali daily throughout the
summer. The rail line can be reached at (800) 544-0552.
The city is bounded on three sides by water: Turnagain Arm to
the south, Cook Inlet to the west and Knik Arm to the north.
The area first was navigated by British sea captain James Cook
(hence, Cook Inlet) in 1778 during a search for the elusive
Northwest Passage linking the two great oceans, the Atlantic and
Cook sailed into a finger of water south of the headland on
which Anchorage now stands and, finding no passage, was forced to
turn his ship back to the ocean (hence, Turnagain Arm).
Russian settlers took over the area near the end of the 1700s,
but it was not until about 1915 that Anchorage began to take shape
as a tent city in a spot known as Ship Creek, occupied by job
seekers drawn by news that President Woodrow Wilson intended to
authorize a railway line into the interior.