Cruise ship docked in the Seward Harbor in Seward, Alaska. Editorial credit: Raisa Nastukova /

Seward, Alaska

Seward is a city located in southern Alaska, the United States of America, on the Kenai Peninsula at the head of Resurrection Bay. It lies 200 km south of Anchorage. According to the United States Census Bureau, Seward has a total area of 56 square km, of which 37 square km is land, and 18 square km (32.93%) is water.

Seward was named after William H. Seward, President Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State. He was responsible for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Tourism is an economic pillar in Seward. The city is the site of Seward Marine Center, which is operated by the University of Alaska's Institute of Marine Science.

The Sugpiaq / Alutiiq people have inhabited the coastal areas of Southern Alaska for more than 7500 years. Historically, the city was an active trading post. Today members of the Qutekcak Native Tribe are a blend of Alaska Native people across the state.

Seward , Alaska
Seward, Alaska. 

Population Of Seward

Seward was home to 2,770 people with a median age of 37 in 2019. There are 4.5 times more White people than any other race and ethnicity. The five largest ethnic groups in Seward are non-Hispanic White representing 59.2% of the city's population, American Indian & Alaska Native at 13.2%, Hispanic community at 9.05%, Asian at 7.83%, and two or more races at 5.77%. All the households in Seward speak English as their primary language at home. As of 2019, 92% of the city's population are U.S citizens. 12.3% of the residents were born outside of the country, lower than the national average of 13.7%. In 2019, the most common birthplace for foreign-born residents in Alaska was the Philippines, followed by Mexico and Korea.

The student population in Seward is skewed towards men, mostly White males, followed by American Indian or Alaska Native. The largest university in Seward by the number of degrees awarded is Alaska Vocational Technical Center. The most popular majors in Seward are Diesel Mechanics Technology, Welding Technology, and Information Science.

The Economy Of Seward

Shops along the dock in Seward Harbor in Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska, USA. Editorial credit: Raisa Nastukova /

The median household income in Seward is $73,611. Males in Alaska tend to earn higher than females. Although the income inequality in Alaska (measured using the Gini index) is 0.44, which is lower than the national average, males have an average income that is 1.28 times higher than the average income of females. The economy of Seward employs around half of the population in different industries. The largest industries are Public Administration, Accommodation & Food Services, and Health Care & Social Assistance. 

History Of Seward

Railways in Seward
The construction of railways accelerated the development of the town in the early 20th century.

In 1992, Seward celebrated its 200th anniversary. Alexander Baranof, a Russian explorer, arrived by boat in what is now known as Resurrection Bay in 1792. Baranof remembered the bay's sheltered waters when he selected a place to build the Phoenix, which is most likely the first ship to be built on the Northern America west coast between 1793 and 1794.

The earliest American history of Resurrection Bay started in the 1890s when Captain Frank Lowell arrived along with his native wife, Mary, and their children. In 1903, the founders and settlers of the town arrived to build the railroad. 

Gold was discovered on Otter Creek, a tributary of the Iditarod River, on Christmas Day in 1908. The famous Japanese Alaska pioneer musher Jujiro Wado was hired by the Seward Commercial Club to boost Seward as the winter port. He was given the task to blaze a trail to the newly discovered gold mine of Iditarod with his team crew of local Seward men Dick Butler, Frank Cotter, and Alfred Lowell. The Iditarod Trail began as a supply and mail route from the coastal towns of Knik and Seward to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ruby, Ophir, and beyond to the west coast communities of Elim, Unalakleet, White Mountain, Golovin, and Nome. Nowadays, the Iditarod is a national historic trail and is called the "Last Great Race on Earth." Each year, a highly competitive dog sled race takes the place of more than 1850 kilometers from Anchorage to Nome.

Idiatrod trail
The Idiatrod trail.

Seward was incorporated in 1912. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson chose the town as the main railroad route into Alaska's interior. The fate of the railroad fluctuated for several years until World War II. Seward with its port became a vital point during the war as Resurrection Bay became a strategic military port. By 1944, the railroad in Seward was one of the most thriving in the United States.

An earthquake measured 9.2 on the Richter scale was centered 95 air miles northeast of Seward in 1964. The earthquake, several tsunami waves, and resulting fires severely damaged the town and rail yards. Although the town was eventually restored, the rail service took many years to recover. A movie is displayed about the earthquake at the Seward Library during the summer months, and visitors can still see the remnants of that earthquake along the waterfront today.

Tourist Attractions In Seward 

 Kenai Fjords Mational Park, Seward, Alaska
Kayak to Ailik Glacier, Kenai Fjords Mational Park, Seward, Alaska.

Seward is surrounded by glorious snow-capped mountains and has beautiful and thriving water to explore. Most of the visitors who arrive at Seward are there for the breathtaking natural beauty, the majestic wildlife, and the enchanting local vibes.

Kenai Fjords National Park is situated at the edge of the Kenai Peninsula. The park allows visitors to experience what it feels like living in the ice age with nearly 40 glaciers in the park. The glaciers flow from the park's crowning attraction, the Harding Icefield. Visitors can see the diverse wildlife in the area, from lush forests, beautiful whales to bears and other animals. Visitors usually navigate the fjord's water on a boat tour and hike through glaciers.

husky sled in Seward
Dog sled on a nature trail in Seward.

Hikers and adventurous travelers also enjoy visiting the popular Mount Marathon. It is famous for being home to a grueling racecourse. Hikers who make it to the top get a lungful of fresh mountain air like no other and enjoy a mind-blowing view of Resurrection Bay.

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