The city where people live in one building

By Burnett Munthali

Whittier is notable for its extremely wet climate – the town receives 197 in (5,000 mm) of precipitation per year on average – as well as for the fact that almost all of its residents live in the Begich Towers Condominium, earning it the nickname of a “town under one roof”.

Often referred to as “the town under one roof,” Whittier harbors almost its entire population within a singular 14 – storey structure known as the Begich Towers.

That is what exactly happens in the Begich Towers of Whittier, where 85% of the residents live. From small staff to the owner, all live together in this building, that stands tall in the corner of the town.

Why just one building? In 1973, the residents of Whittier voted in favor of purchasing the military facilities that included the entire main area of Whittier and the Begich towers, then called Hodge. Today, the town has 214 residents, 180 of whom live in the towers. The rest live in Whittier Manor, with 80 apartments.

Whittier, situated 60 miles south of Anchorage, is home to a remote community where 217 residents call a single building home, but their unique living situation is as fascinating as it is isolated.

Whittier first appeared on the 1950 U.S. census as an unincorporated village. It formally incorporated in 1969. As of 2018, there were 205 people living in the city, with 313 available housing units. Almost the entirety of this population lives within the 14-story Begich Towers.