Nestled in the breathtaking wilderness of Alaska, Whittier is a unique and remote town where nearly all of its residents live within a single building.
This extraordinary place is known as the Begich Towers, a massive 14-story structure that serves as a combination of apartments, offices, shops, and even a school, creating an entire microcosm of life within its concrete walls.
Whittier’s unconventional living arrangement was born out of practicality and necessity. The town is located on the picturesque Prince William Sound, surrounded by towering mountains and lush forests.
However, the harsh Alaskan climate and rugged terrain make it challenging to build and maintain separate structures. To address these challenges, the military constructed the Begich Towers during World War II as a secret military facility.
After the war, the building was repurposed into the multi-use complex it is today.
Within the Begich Towers, residents have access to a range of amenities, including a grocery store, a post office, a police station, a church, and even a health clinic, making it possible for them to meet most of their daily needs without stepping outside.
Additionally, the town’s school, Begich Middle School, is housed in the building, ensuring that children receive an education within proximity to their homes.
The building’s unique design also serves a practical purpose during the harsh Alaskan winters. Residents can move about the town without venturing out into the cold, thanks to a network of heated tunnels that connect the Begich Towers to other nearby buildings, including the local harbor.
While Whittier’s lifestyle may seem unusual to outsiders, the tight-knit community of around 200 residents has grown accustomed to its close-quarters living arrangement. They value the convenience, security, and shared experiences that come with living under one roof.
However, it’s essential to note that Whittier’s unusual living situation doesn’t mean its residents are isolated from the natural wonders of Alaska.
The town is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. Even though they call it a single-building home, Whittier’s residents have easy access to the stunning beauty of the Alaskan wilderness right outside their door.
Whittier’s story is a testament to human adaptability and the unique ways in which communities can thrive, even in some of the most remote and challenging environments on Earth.