Monday, November 24, 2008

Vintage Anchorage

So I was looking through my way-too-large stash of Anchorage photos when I found this one collecting dust in one of my millions of sub-folders. I don't know the exact year, but I'd place my bet at circa 1960. Obviously you can't miss the McKinley Apartment tower on the left next to the old native hospital. But what gives me a hunch that this was just taken around the early 60s is that the bright yellow Hill Building (now City Hall) is standing proudly in the center of Downtown. The building was completed in... I'm wanting to say 1959. Also noticeable is the Turnagain Arms Apartments (in red) right above the then low density Bootleggers Cove near the Inlet. By the way, check out the smooth grade of 5th Avenue as it goes down into Bootleggers Cove. For those who have driven up 5th from Bootleggers, you could clearly see the difference in steepness. I'd assume the '64 quake, which hit that end of Downtown pretty hard, was probably responsible for reshaping the steepness of that bluff. Have any corrections, more facts, observations, or comments? Feel free to respond. Oh, and of course, click the picture for a much larger version.


clark said...

I believe you have the date about right. When I first saw this city in 1971 at age 11 it wasn't a lot different than this. One thing I liked about it back then compared to now was there were a lot more people living in the downtown area. There are a couple blocks today, on K St. between 6th and 9th where there are various small apartment buildings, houses and cabins. Pretty much all of the area between 6th and 9th Avenues from Gambell west to the water used to look and feel like this. Lots of people there, quiet streets, every building had a nice garden. There were little corner stores and gas stations and a diversity of other businesses that aren't there anymore. We've got some exciting new developments but we haven't been too respectful of the assets we had.
I hope one day we will get people of all income levels living downtown again and we will get rid of most of the surface parking.

marcus said...

I agree Clark. I'm really glad there was an effort back in the 80s to save the remaining cottages.