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Anchorage Business Signs
The Alutiiq ~ Sugpiaq peoples lived in Southcentral Alaska before the first Russian settlers arrived, round about the middle of the 17th century. Imperial Russia ruled the area until 1867, when then U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased the future state from them for $7.2 million (about two cents per acre). Anchorage itself began as a tent city surrounding a railroad-construction port for the Alaska Engineering Commission in 1914. Anchorage was mapped out on higher ground south of the original tent city, and was officially incorporated on November 23rd, 1920. The city is named after the anchorage at the mouth of Ship Creek.
Today, Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality. According to a 2013 US Census estimate, it has a population of 300,950 people, which makes it the largest city by population in Alaska. In fact, Anchorage is so populous it contains 40% of Alaska’s population. In the US, only New York State has a higher percentage of residents residing in its most populous city. The Anchorage metropolitan area combines the city of Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and in total, all of these had a population of 396,142 in 2013. This makes the Anchorage metropolitan area the 134th most populous metropolitan area in the country.
The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA) is considered to be the world’s third busiest airport for cargo traffic, after only Memphis and Hong Kong. The TSAIA’s popularity is mostly due to Anchorage’s location between Asia and the lower 48 states of America. The airport also has an abundant supply of jet fuel from Alaskan refineries in North Pole and Kenai. Airlines such as Alaska Central Express, Era Aviation, Hageland Aviation Services, and PenAir are all headquartered in and around Anchorage.
95% of all goods destined for Alaska come through the Port of Anchorage. In fact, ships from Totem Ocean Trailer Express and Horizon Lines arrive twice weekly from the Port of Tacoma in Washington state.
Elmendorf Air Force Base, Fort Richardson, and Kulis Air National Guard Base were recently combined into one base, JBER, which currently employs about 8,500 civilian and military personnel. Additionally, while the city of Juneau is the official state capital of Alaska, more state employees work in the Anchorage area. In fact, the state employs 6,800 workers in the Ship Creek valley.
One of Anchorage’s most prominent attractions is the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. This three-part complex can accommodate more than 3,000 audience members and is home to eight resident performing arts companies. The city of Anchorage also hosts the annual Fur Rendezvous and Anchorage Folk festivals. The city is home to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Alaska Museum of Natural History, and the Oscar Anderson House Museum.
The most famous sporting event in Anchorage is the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. This annual long-distance sled dog race sets off downtown on Fourth Avenue and goes through the Iditarod Trail, which was designated as one of the first four National Historic Trails in 1978. The race ends in Nome. The modern Iditarod race began in 1973, but was undertaken by Native Alaskan Eskimo Inupiaq and Athabaskan peoples for hundreds of years before then.
Do you own a small business in the Anchorage area? Are you considering beginning one? These resources could prove helpful:
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