Knik was a small port on Knik Arm that served as a supply point for the Willow Creek District and much of interior Alaska until 1915, when the Alaska Railroad plotted a course 13 miles northeast of the town. The railroad established Wasilla just northeast of Knik as a construction camp, but in 1917 a townsite was platted and lots were sold. Knik residents moved their buildings to Wasilla, and the new town thrived as Knik became a ghost town.
Today, Wasilla is the largest town in the Matanuska-Susitna valleys and also serves as a bedroom community for Anchorage, 42 miles southwest. Recent development has not enhanced the urban quality of Wasilla; instead, shopping centers have been built in the heart of town, on the north side of the railroad tracks and Parks Highway. Only a handful of historic buildings remain on the townsite; efforts at historic preservation have been focused on moving isolated buildings to Wasilla's Frontier Village.
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