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Alaska City Photos

Downtown Juneau in wintertime

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Alaska City Photos

Alaska is a large state but relatively unpopulated compared to other states in the lower 48. However, the cities of Alaska are varied and colorful. At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a wide variety of Alaska photos including the most historical and influential Alaska city photos. To find more pictures of Alaska or photos of the cities below, visit our search page.

Although Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, with over half of the state's 500,000 residents living there, it is not necessarily the most famous or notorious. Many cities in Alaska have their own story to tell whether it is out of the history books or because of the important role it plays today. Below are a few of those stories.
Historical Skagway
Broadway Street, Skagway

Skagway is perhaps one of the most well know Gold Rush Era cities in Alaska. After the discovery of Gold in 1897, Skagway became quickly a “tent city” and the first jumping off point for Stampeders heading north to the gold fields. In about three months time, Skagway grew from a tent city to an expanding town complete with streets, framed buildings, stores, saloons, dance halls, and a population of 20,000. Two trails were used by the gold seekers to reach the headwaters of the Yukon River. The 33-mile-long Chilkoot Trail began at nearby Dyea, and the 40-mile White Pass Trail began at Skagway. Thousands of men carried supplies up the trails but very few ended up finding their fortune. Skagway was the first incorporated city in Alaska in 1900 and also is home to the first railroad in Alaska – the White Pass & Yukon Railroad.

Another infamous gold rush city is Nome. Thousands of stampeders rushed to the beaches off the Alaska Peninsula to find their fortune. Jafet Lindberg, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson (also known as the “Three Lucky Swedes”) first found gold in on Anvil Creek in 1898. By 1899, the city had grown to 10,000 people. Although Nome began as a gold-mining town, perhaps its more famous now as the terminus for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race held annually. Mushers compete each March to travel the 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome in tribute to an emergency medical serum run made by Leonard Seppala in 1925.

Kodiak Alaska Photos
Kodiak Alaska Harbor
Alaska is richly influenced by Russian culture. This can easily be seen on Alaska’s Kodiak Island and the city of Kodiak. In 1784 Grigory Ivanovich Shelikhov founded a Russian settlement on Kodiak Island at Three Saints Bay, near the present-day village of Old Harbor. By 1793, the present day location of the city of Kodiak was established and the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church set to work in converting the Native Alaskans. Kodiak has seen the rise and fall of many changes and industries including the sea otter fur trade, fox farming, whaling, cattle ranching, and gold mining. However, the salmon fishing industry, which had both high risks and high profits, enjoyed the most dramatic and lasting success. Kodiak also played an important role in World War II as a strategic defensive base. Artifacts and bunkers are still readily visible. Today, tourism also plays an important role in Kodiak’s economy. As a prime local for fishing, flight seeing and wildlife viewing, Kodiak continues to play a role in Alaska’s history.

Fairbanks and Chena River
Chena River in downtown Fairbanks
Another well-known town in Alaska is the gold rush era city of Fairbanks. E.T. Barnette was a tradesman seeking his own fortune in the North by wanting to establish a trading post near the gold fields. However, upon his arrival, the Tanana River could not be passed and the Chena River also proved too shallow, so the riverboat captain left Barnette on the shores of the Chena River near present day Fairbanks – far from the established gold fields. Fortunate for Barnette, Felix Pedro soon discovered gold and the gold rush to the interior was on and he was right in the heart of it. Fairbanks was incorporated in November of 1903.

Downtown Juneau Alaska
Downtown Juneau Alaska
As Alaska’s Capital, Juneau plays an important role. Richard Harris and Joseph Juneau first established a 160-acre claim in 1880 after being presented with gold ore from the Auk Tlingit tribe. Their discovery was the first to result in an Alaska town. Juneau was established as Alaska 's capital in 1906 when the government was transferred from Sitka. Today, federal, state and local government is the primary employer and one of the main economic bases for the city. Tourism also plays an important role as a main stopping point for both cruise lines and the Alaska Marine Highway. (read more on Juneau)

Recommened Reading:

Juneau Portrait II

Mark Kelley's personal vision of Juneau, Alaska--the state capital located at the water's edge of the forested mountains of the Inside Passage. More than 100 color photos record Juneau's small town life as well as the vistas and wildlife of the surrounding ocean, mountains, forests, glaciers and icefields.

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