An Alaska town living under one roof
4 min read
very easy
The Begich Towers, in Whittier, Alaska, built by the military during the Cold War as a no-frills barracks, is now home to the majority of the isolated town's 300 or so residents.
Whittier, Alaska, about 60 miles from Anchorage, is both beautiful and yet gritty. It's wild, but tame. It's accessible, but also very remote.

Whittier, Alaska, on Prince William Sound. CBS News

"Yeah, it's a very strange town, because there's only one way in and one way out," said resident Lee Shuford.

Correspondent Lee Cowan asked, "It's not for everybody. right?"

"No, it's not for everybody."

The path to Whittier goes straight under a mountain, into a tunnel bored through more than two miles of solid rock. And that tunnel shuts down at night, leaving Whitter cut off until morning.

The 2.5-mile Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, which was converted from railroad use, alternates the flow of traffic every fifteen minutes. CBS News

"You know, you get to thinking, Oh man, the tunnel's the only way out. What if there's an emergency or something and I can't get out?" Shuford said. "But, I've gotten used to it."

He also had to get used to his address. Shuford, originally from North Carolina, now lives on the 12th floor of what some describe as the "Wilderness Tower." Now, a high rise does seem out of place here, but what's more surprising is, the Begich Towers (as they're officially called) is about the only place to live in all of Whittier.

Begich Towers in Whittier, Alaska. CBS News

"People think it's weird," said Anna.

"Yeah, it is known as the weirdest city in Alaska," said her husband, Dave Dickason, who is Whittier's Mayor.

But is it? "It really isn't," the mayor responded.

Anna said, "If I had one word, I'd say it's magical."

Just look at the view:

The view from Dave Dickason's window. CBS News

Dave, Anna, and their 18-year-old…
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