Whittier – Like Nowhere Else on Earth

Please note, this post is part of a series. Click here to read it from the beginning.


Although we didn’t stay in Whittier for long, I could not ignore it by omitting a post about one of the strangest places I have ever visited in the world.

From Seward, we drove to the start of the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. Up until 2000, the only way to access this tunnel and Whittier was by train. Now, when there are no trains running through, vehicles are allowed to drive through on a one-way system.

There are only about 300 people living in Whittier, and 80% of them live in Begich Towers. A system of underground tunnels connects them to schools and businesses, so in the winter they don’t have to shovel snow. Whittier was built by the US army during the Second World War as a secret military installation, and it still very much has the feel of an army base. We were only travelling through Whittier to catch the ferry to Valdez, which is a shame. I would have liked a little more time there to experience what it must be like to live in such a strange place.

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2 Replies to “Whittier – Like Nowhere Else on Earth”

  1. I lived in Begich Towers for a summer, before cars could drive the tunnel. If you wanted a car in Whittier, you had to drive it up a platform onto a flatbed rail car and sit in the vehicle until the train stopped. Then you waited for all the cars in front of you to drive off.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. I didn’t get to meet anyone who actually lives in Whittier when I was there, so I’m really glad you left a comment. I wish we’d had more time in Whittier.

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