It was raining.
Of course it was raining. We were in Whittier. It always rains in Whittier.
But there was a reason we were there. And as we exited the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel and turned the corner into the town of 182 people, we could see the huge shape of the Buckner Building looming through the fog.
The Buckner Building was established in 1953 as a secret military base during World War II. At that time, it was the largest building in Alaska, stretching a total of 273,660 square feet. It was dubbed the “city under one roof” due to the fact that it housed the entire town and has 1,000 apartments, a hospital, jail, bowling alley, restaurant, theater and general store, among other things.
When the Good Friday quake struck Alaska in 1964, the Buckner Building suffered major structural damage, followed by hits from the tsunamis that the quake caused. Since then it has been abandoned, slowly rotting away with the years. Now it’s famous for being haunted and condemned.
And that was the perfect reason to go inside for a little exploring.
When we stepped inside the building from the door under the fire escape, we were instantly surrounded by the sounds of water. There was water rushing down the stairs and the drip drop of water from deep inside the building. We had to jump across the entryway because it was flooded with about six inches of nasty, rust colored water.
We were there for two hours and explored most of the building’s 6 floors. It was dark, it was musty, filled with asbestos, and it was awesome. I’m already planning another visit to explore the rest of the building.