Alaska’s Abandoned Igloo City Hotel

12 January 2013

Even in the chilly Alaskan heartland, this isn’t quite what you expect. A giant igloo. Situated on the George Parks Highway, 180 miles out of Anchorage on the route towards Fairbanks, Igloo City as it is known stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. It has become something of a tourist attraction in its own right.

You may not have to guess when the Igloo Hotel was but as the 1970s are generally regarded as the decade that style forgot there aren’t any prizes if that was your first conjecture. Someone, apparently, thought that aping the Inuit tradition of igloo building would be a great idea for a hotel. Whether they simultaneously had the idea to build a giant tepee hotel in a Lakota community is lost to history.

Yet this grand plan never came to final fruition. The four storey hotel was never finished, a victim of its builder’s failure to follow building codes or ran out of money. Or something. As it was too expensive to tear down and start again it has been abandoned to the Alaskan elements.

Inside, you can see how the building was progressing before the giant igloo was abandoned. Although Igloo City’s ownership has passed through several hands since the 1970s it seems that it has never been seen as viable enough by the banks for loans to be granted. At the moment it is locked up and becoming slowly more dilapidated with time.

Image Credit Flickr User sandwichgirl
Image Credit Flickr User sandwichgirl
It seems unlikely that this grand project will ever be finished. The nearest town, twenty miles away, is Cantwell. At the last census the town had a population of 222 which is a nice (if small) round number and perhaps indicative of how the tourism industry has penetrated this corner of Alaska.

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Perhaps it is just something else for the archaeologists of the far future to discover, ponder and then shake their heads at the general craziness of the ancients

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