For each of the

For each of the past two winters it has snowed at least 36 feet. Feet, not inches. The building is called Begich Towers, a 14-story monolith and a model of drab Army efficiency, rising like an urban transplant amid the town's rail-yard waterfront. City Hall, the Country Store, the U.S. Post Office and Cabin Fever Cures, a combination video store and tanning salon, all sit on the first floor. The tunnel has long been Whittier's lifeline to the rest of the world. In winter, when the ferry service isn't running, a train ride through the two-mile tunnel under a mountain is the sole avenue of access. It runs four days a week, with a single passenger car and a series of flat cars; folks sit in their cars and trucks for the slow ride through the tunnel, then about 10 more slow miles out to the Seward Highway.Foul weather, a fortress of a building and a tunnel. That's this town.
The imminent opening of the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to automotive traffic will expose Whittier Alaska, population 250, to 1,500,000 tourists in the coming years.
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