The city of Whittier is very unique. Situated at the head of Passage Canal, the community of Whittier is approximately 58 miles southeast of Anchorage. Whittier is by far the most visited gateway to the mesmerizing wilderness of Prince William Sound. Each summer, thousands of visitors arrive at this magnificent port by ship, train, or automobile.
The 218 distinguished citizens of Whittier, yes I said only 218 citizens, are waiting with open arms to share this incredible gem of the Alaskan frontier with visitors. Consequently during the summer there are many visitors coming into Whittier via train, ship and automobile. The port of Whittier is used almost exclusively by Princess Cruise lines.
The city itself is a historical area, established by the U.S. Army during World War II. The Federal railroad to Portage was completed in 1943 and became the primary debarkation point for cargo, troops, and dependents of the Alaska Command. In 1948 the military began construction of the first of two buildings for their military personnel as the Port of Whittier was then recognized as an ice-free, deep water port strategically located to Anchorage and Interior Alaska. This remained active until 1960 at which time the total population was 1200. The City of Whittier was incorporated in 1969. Today, less than 300 people reside in the town yet they have an annual visiting population of over 700,000 with many coming through a unique single lane tunnel through a mountain.
The Alaska Christian Seaman’s Mission uses one or more rooms in the only apartment/condo building in Whittier when it is needed. The staff at Whittier is made up of staff and volunteers that come from both Seward and Anchorage. Whittier provides the same services in Whittier as they do at Seward. Staff and volunteers love serving at Whittier because of its unique setting and history.