The Anchorage area was used for fishing and subsistence grounds by the indigenous Dena’ina people, but it didn’t have a fixed settlement until it was founded as a townsite in 1915. So we don’t have a deep written history here. I thought I knew most of it, but I learned something new recently: The Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places added the Block 13 Army Housing Association Historic District to the list December 3, 2018.
Back in 1940, Anchorage was a small town, and the Army was building a presence due to World War II. Housing was desperately needed. Land at Block 13 was available next to downtown Anchorage, between A and Cordova Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues. Military men with families formed a cooperate to build sixteen houses. Businessman R.H. Stock financed the project, and architect William Manley designed the neighborhood to be eligible for Federal Housing Authority mortgage insurance. The men in the cooperative cleared the land and constructed prefabricated kit houses designed by the Modelow Company, a Seattle firm. Unfortunately, the families were not able to enjoy their houses for very long. After the United States’ entry into World War II, the families were evacuated and the men were reassigned. The homes were sold to other families.
The houses are now part of a quiet neighborhood near an elementary school. I drove over there recently, and to my delight, I found many of the old houses are still standing. Here are a few photos I took in the area. History lives on!