Home Rule City
in the Kenai Peninsula Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (soo' ward)
- Community's Judicial District
- Recording District
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Geography and Climate
- Seward is situated on Resurrection Bay on the east coast of the Kenai Peninsula, 125 highway miles south of Anchorage. It lies at the foot of Mount Marathon and is the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. Bear Creek and Lowell Point are adjacent to Seward.
- Seward experiences a maritime climate. Winter temperatures average from 17 to 38 °F; summer temperatures average 49 to 63 °F. Annual precipitation averages 66 inches of rain and 80 inches of snowfall.
- Community Map Available
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Resurrection Bay was named in 1792 by Russian fur trader and explorer Alexander Baranof. While sailing from Kodiak to Yakutat, he found unexpected shelter from a storm in this bay. He named the Bay Resurrection because it was the Russian Sunday of the Resurrection. Seward was named for U.S. Secretary of State William Seward, 1861-1869, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. In the 1890s, Capt. Frank Lowell arrived with his family. In 1903, John and Frank Ballaine and a group of settlers arrived to begin construction of a railroad. Seward became an incorporated city in 1912. The Alaska Railroad was constructed between 1915 and 1923, and Seward developed as the ocean terminus and supply center. By 1960, Seward was the largest community on the peninsula. Tsunamis generated after the 1964 earthquake destroyed the railroad terminal and killed several residents. As an ice-free harbor, Seward has become an important supply center for Interior Alaska.
- Seward is primarily a non-Native community, although the Qutekcak Tribe is very active within the community. Seward's annual Fourth of July celebration and its grueling Mount Marathon race attracts participants and visitors worldwide. Other annual events include the Seward Silver Salmon Derby in August and the Polar Bear Jump-Off Festival in January.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
Facilities, Utilities, and Health Care
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Piped Water, Piped Sewer, Refuse (Borough contract), Electric, Harbor/Port, Marine Industrial Center, Police, Volunteer Fire/EMS, Ambulance, Animal Control, Jail (State contract),911 Dispatch (Borough contract), Building Safety, Library, Teen Center, Municipal Building, Parking, Community Development, Parks & Recreation, Roads, Cemetery, DMV (State Contract)
- Seward is connected to the Alaska Highway system by the Seward Highway. Bus and commercial trucking services to and from Anchorage are available daily. While air services and charters are available at the state-owned airport, regularly scheduled commercial air service out of Seward is not available. Two paved runways are utilized. Seasonal passenger transportation is available by rail, as Seward is a major transit site for the Alaska Railroad. The port, located at the north end of the 900 foot deep Resurrection Bay, serves cruise ships, cargo barges, and ocean freighters from Seattle and overseas. The small boat harbor has moorage for 650 boats and 2 boat launch ramps as well as a 250 ton boat lift and a 5,000 ton lift for ships and barges.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection
- Community's Senate District
- Community's House District