Whittier is both beautiful and ugly, a wonderfully weird Cold War anachronism set on the edge of some sublime coastal wilderness where rugged fjords dispatch tumbling glaciers into Prince William Sound. Even by Alaskan standards, this is a bizarre outpost. The 'town' is dominated by two Cold War military installations: the hopelessly ruined Buckner building and the equally incongruous Begich Towers, a 14-story skyscraper that houses most of Whittier’s population.
Founded in 1941 as a deep-water military base, Whittier was heavily fortified in the early years of the Cold War, before the military pulled out in the 1960s. In danger of becoming a ghost town, the settlement somehow survived and is now a popular cruise-ship port and day-trip destination from Anchorage (a shared road-rail tunnel links it to the Seward Hwy). Serious outdoor enthusiasts revere it for its kayaking, fishing and glacier-viewing – inclement weather and ugly architecture be damned!