Alaskan Fun Facts
- In May of 1778, Captain Cook supposedly entered the Cook Inlet only to find that the inlet did not connect to Prince William Sound. He was forced to turn around; therefore, the area is now known as Turnagain Arm.
- Chief negotiator William Seward bought Alaska from the Russians at the incredibly low price of 7.2 million, about 2 cents an acre. Many Americans referred to the purchase as “Seward’s Folly”. The Russians formally handed over the territory on October 18, 1867, now called Alaska Day. On January 3, 1959, Alaska entered the Union as the 49th state.
- Good Friday, March 27, 1964 at 5:36 pm the most powerful recorded earthquake in North American history, occurred in Alaska. Recent calculations measure the quake at 9.2 on the Richter scale and impacted the Prince William Sound and other areas of Alaska and as far away as Western Canada, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. After the devastating earthquake, the town of Girdwood was moved 2.5 miles up the valley as the original town site subsided into the Turnagain Arm due to the seismic shift.
- Turnagain Arm boasts North America’s second greatest tide range of up to 38.9 feet.
- Adult brown bears can grow as hefty as 1500 pounds!
- In 1985 the world record king salmon was caught in the Kenai River. This monster fish weighed in at 97 pounds.
- Important means of transportation in Alaska are by air and water since Alaska highways access only about one third of the state.
- Girdwood is the home of Alaska's former senior U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.
- The Alaska state office of the National Audubon Society acknowledges over 460 naturally occurring bird species in Alaska.
- The busiest seaplane base in the world is Anchorage’s Lake Hood, handling more than 1,000 takeoffs and landings on a peak summer day.
- Alaska is home to the most glaciers in the nation – about 29,000 square miles is covered by glaciers.
- Alyeska Resort broke its previous record for the most snowfall in a month when 283 inches of snow (almost 24 feet!) fell in December 1998. During Christmas week Alyeska received 100 inches of snow in a seven day period.
- Alaska’s long daylight hours grow some of the world’s largest vegetables. Current records from the Alaska State Fair – green cabbage at 105.6 pounds, watermelon at 168.6 pounds, and a pumpkin at 1019 pounds.
- If you split Alaska in two, Texas would then be the third largest state.
- Olympic gold and silver medal-winning skier Tommy Moe hails from Girdwood.
- The United States holds 20 of the tallest mountain peaks, 17 of which are located in Alaska and measure over 14,000 feet.
- Girdwood has served as a backdrop for at least two films: The Chechahcos, a 1924 silent film about the Klondike Gold Rush, and Warren Miller's 1997 Snowriders II. The town was also the finish line location for Amazing Race 12, which aired in January 2008.
For more Alaska Facts, click here.
Click here for a list of common Alaskan terms.