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Old Anchorage City Hall

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1936, E. Ellsworth Sedille. 524 W. 4th Ave.

In 1936, the Anchorage City Hall was constructed on a site designated as a Municipal Reserve. The two-story, reinforced-concrete building in a Beaux-Arts classical design has a rusticated first floor and round-arch opening with exaggerated voussoirs. Above a belt course, the second floor is finished smooth, crowned by a modillioned cornice and a pedimented parapet. The projecting center section is three bays wide. A one-story, flat-roofed wing to the west, although disrupting the symmetry of the building, was original; it is now two stories, with a one-story addition.

The design is attributed to E. Ellsworth Sedille, a local architect. The Gastineau Construction Company constructed the building for $75,000, nearly half of which was funded by the Public Works Administration, a New Deal agency created by an act of Congress during the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration in response to the Great Depression. The building contained the mayor's office, city council and all municipal offices, a library, three jail cells, and firemen's quarters. In 1975, the city of Anchorage merged with the outlying borough to create a single entity, the Anchorage Municipality. As a result, more space was needed to accommodate the government offices and account for the rapid growth of the newly merged Anchorage. In 1979, the municipal offices moved to the Hill Building two blocks to the south. The old City Hall building was renovated to house a bank and several other offices. 

Today the building maintains its central location in downtown Anchorage and serves as the center for Visit Anchorage, formerly known as the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Visit Anchorage Log Cabin Visitor Center sits adjacent to the Old Anchorage City Hall. The Log Cabin Visitor Center is one of the most well-known and distinct buildings in Anchorage’s downtown core. Visitors and residents will often pass by and find food vendors, musical performers, families, and individuals taking advantage of the green space and spacious sidewalks at its north entrance.

References

Carberry, Michael E., "Anchorage City Hall," Anchorage, Alaska. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1980. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Alison K. Hoagland
Updated By: 
Ian C. Hartman (2020)
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Data

Timeline

  • 1936

    Built
  • 1980

    Renovated

What's Nearby

Citation

Alison K. Hoagland, "Old Anchorage City Hall", [Anchorage, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/AK-01-SC002.

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 83-84.

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