City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska: Wikis


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City and Borough of Juneau
—  City and Borough  —
Gastineau Channel with downtown Juneau


Location in Juneau City and Borough, Alaska
City and Borough of Juneau is located in Alaska
City and Borough of Juneau
Location of Juneau in the state of Alaska, USA
Coordinates: 58°23′00″N 134°11′00″W / 58.3833333°N 134.1833333°W / 58.3833333; -134.1833333Coordinates: 58°23′00″N 134°11′00″W / 58.3833333°N 134.1833333°W / 58.3833333; -134.1833333
Country United States
State Alaska
Founded 1881
Incorporated 1890
 - Mayor Bruce Botelho
 - City and Borough 3,255.0 sq mi (8,430.4 km2)
 - Land 2,715.7 sq mi (7,036.1 km2)
 - Water 539.3 sq mi (1,394.3 km2)
 - Urban 12 sq mi (31.1 km2)
Elevation 56 ft (17 m)
Population (2008)[1]
 - City and Borough 30,988
 Density 11.3/sq mi (4.4/km2)
 Urban 17,311
Time zone AKST (UTC-9)
 - Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-36400
GNIS feature ID 1404263

The City and Borough of Juneau (pronounced /ˈdʒuːnoʊ/) is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the panhandle of the U.S. state of Alaska. It has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of the then-Alaska Territory was moved from Sitka. The municipality unified in 1970 when the City of Juneau merged with the City of Douglas and the surrounding borough to form the current home rule municipality.

The area of Juneau is larger than that of Rhode Island and Delaware individually and almost as large as the two states combined. Downtown Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island. As of the 2000 census, the City and Borough had a population of 30,711. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 population estimate for the City and Borough was 30,988.[1]

Juneau is named after gold prospector Joe Juneau, though the place was for a time called Rockwell and then Harrisburg (after Juneau's co-prospector, Richard Harris — several books credit the Tlingit Chief Kowee with showing these prospectors where the gold was). The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni "river where the flounders gather", and Auke Bay just north of Juneau proper is called Aak'w "little lake" in Tlingit. The Taku River, just south of Juneau, was named after the cold t'aakh wind, which occasionally blows down from the mountains.

Downtown Juneau sits at sea level, with tides averaging 16 feet (4.9 m), below steep mountains about 3,500 to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; two of these, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Lemon Creek Glacier, are visible from the local road system; the Mendenhall glacier has been generally retreating; its front face is declining both in width and height.

The current Alaska State Capitol is an office building in downtown Juneau, originally built as the Federal and Territorial Building in 1931. Originally housing federal government offices, the federal courthouse, and a post office, it became the home of the Alaska Legislature and the offices for the governor of Alaska and lieutenant governor of Alaska. Through the years, there has been discussion on relocating the seat of state government and building a new capitol, without significant development.



Chief Anotklosh of the Taku tribe taken in 1913.

Long before European settlement in the Americas, the Gastineau Channel was a favorite fishing ground for local Tlingit Indians, known then as the Auke and Taku tribes, who had inhabited the surrounding area for thousands of years. The native cultures are rich with artistic traditions including carving, weaving, orating, singing and dancing, and Juneau has become a major social center for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of Southeast Alaska.

In 1880, Sitka mining engineer George Pilz offered a reward to any local chief who could lead him to gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee arrived with some ore and several prospectors were sent to investigate. On their first trip, to Gold Creek, they found deposits of little interest. However, at Chief Kowee's urging Pilz sent Joe Juneau and Richard Harris back to the Gastineau Channel, directing them to Snow Slide Gulch (the head of Gold Creek) where they found nuggets "as large as peas and beans," in Harris' words.

On October 18, 1880, the two men marked a 160-acre (0.65 km2) town site where soon a mining camp appeared. Within a year, the camp became a small town, the first to be founded after Alaska's purchase by the United States.

The town was originally called Harrisburg, after Richard Harris; some time later, its name was changed to Rockwell. In 1881, the miners met and renamed the town Juneau, after Joe Juneau. In 1906, after the diminution of the whaling and fur trade, Sitka, the original capital of Alaska, declined in importance and the seat of government was moved to Juneau. Juneau was the largest city in Alaska during the inter-war years, passing Fairbanks in the 1920 census and displaced by Anchorage in 1950.

Memorial to Patsy Ann, a famous Bull Terrier that lived on the streets of Juneau during the 1930s. Although completely deaf, she was always aware of arriving ships before they could be seen or their horn heard.[2]

In 1954, Alaskans passed a measure to move the capital north.[citation needed] Robert Atwood, then publisher of the Anchorage Times and an Anchorage 'booster,' was an early leader in capital move efforts—efforts which many in Juneau and Fairbanks resisted. One provision required the new capital to be at least 30 miles (48 km) from Anchorage and Fairbanks, to prevent either city from having undue influence; in the end Juneau remained the capital. In the 1970s, voters passed a plan to move the capital to Willow, a town 70 miles (110 km) north of Anchorage. But pro-Juneau people there and in Fairbanks got voters to also approve a measure (the FRANK Initiative) requiring voter approval of all bondable construction costs before building could begin. Alaskans later voted against spending the estimated $900 million. A 1984 "ultimate" capital-move vote also failed, as did a 1996 vote.

Alaskans thus several times voted on moving their capital, but Juneau remains the capital.[3] Once Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, Juneau grew with the growth of state government. Growth accelerated remarkably after the construction of the Alaska Pipeline in 1977, the state budget being flush with oil revenues; Juneau expanded for a time due to growth in state government jobs, but that growth slowed considerably in the 1980s.[4] The state demographer expects the borough to grow very slowly over the next twenty years.[5] Cruise ship tourism rocketed upward from about 230,000 passengers in 1990 to nearly 1,000,000 in 2006 as cruise lines built more and larger ships—even 'mega-ships', sailing to Juneau seven days a week instead of six, over a longer season, but this primarily summer industry provides few year-round jobs. Its population rank in 2000 was second in the state, closely ahead of Fairbanks; recent estimates have Juneau falling back to third, as it was in the 1960-90 counts.

Juneau is larger in area than the state of Delaware and was, for many years, the country's largest city by area. Juneau continues to be the only U.S. state capital located on an international border: it is bordered on the east by Canada. It is the U.S. state capital whose namesake was most recently alive: Joe Juneau died in 1899, a year after Otto von Bismarck (North Dakota).

Geography and climate

Mendenhall Glacier, 2009

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3,255.0 square miles (8,430 km2), making it the second-largest municipality in the United States by area (the largest is Sitka, Alaska). 2,716.7 square miles (7,036 km2) of it is land and 538.3 square miles (1,394 km2) of it (16.54%) is water.

Central (downtown) Juneau is located at 58°18′07″N 134°25′11″W / 58.30194°N 134.41972°W / 58.30194; -134.41972.[6] According to the Köppen Classification, Juneau has a humid continental climate despite its coastal location, though it is influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Average annual rainfall ranges from 55 inches (1,400 mm) to over 90 inches (2,300 mm) depending on location[7]; annual average snowfall at Juneau International Airport is 93 inches (240 cm). The average high temperature in July is 65 °F (18 °C), and the average low temperature in January is 20 °F (−7 °C).

Climate data for Juneau, Alaska
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 60
Average high °F (°C) 31
Average low °F (°C) 21
Record low °F (°C) -22
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.81
Snowfall inches (mm) 28.9
% Humidity 54.0 76.5 75.0 71.5 68.0 67.0 69.0 73.5 77.0 78.0 77.0 78.0 78.5
Source: February 15, 2010
Source #2: November 29, 2008

Adjacent boroughs and census areas

Border area

Juneau, Alaska, shares its eastern border with the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is the only U.S. state capital to border another country. Carson City, Nevada and Trenton, New Jersey are the only state capitals which border another state.

National protected areas


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 1,253
1900 1,864 48.8%
1910 1,644 −11.8%
1920 3,058 86.0%
1930 4,043 32.2%
1940 5,729 41.7%
1950 5,956 4.0%
1960 6,797 14.1%
1970 6,050 −11.0%
1980 19,528 222.8%
1990 26,751 37.0%
2000 30,711 14.8%
Est. 2008 30,988 0.9%

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 30,700 people, 11,500 households, and 7,600 families residing in the city/borough. The population density was 11.3/square mile (4.4/km²). There were 12,300 housing units at an average density of 4.5/sq mi (1.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city/borough was 74.79% White, 0.81% African American, 11.38% Native American, 4.68% Asian, 0.38% Pacific Islander, and 1.05% from other races, and 6.91% from two or more races. 3.39% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.1% reported speaking Tlingit at home, 5.07% Inupiag, 2.61% Tagalog, and 2.38% Spanish.[10]

There were 11,543 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city/borough the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city/borough was $62,034, and the median income for a family was $70,284. Males had a median income of $46,744 versus $33,168 for females. The per capita income for the city/borough was $26,719. 6.0% of the population and 3.7% of families were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under the age of 18 and 3.9% of those 65 and older.


As the capital of Alaska, the primary employer in Juneau, by a large margin, is government. This includes the federal government, state government, municipal government (which does include the local airport, the local hospital, harbors, and the school district), and the University of Alaska Southeast. State government offices and their indirect economic impact compose approximately one-quarter of Juneau's economy.[11]

A salmon-themed stained glass window in the Juneau Public Library illustrates some of the city's heritage.

Another large contibutor to the local economy, at least on a part-time basis, is the tourism industry. In 2005, the cruise ship industry was estimated to bring nearly one million visitors to Juneau[12] for up to 11 hours at a time, between the months of May and September.

The fishing industry used to be a major part of the Juneau economy. Until recently, Juneau was the 49th most lucrative U.S. fisheries port by volume and 45th by value taking in 15 million pounds of fish and shellfish valued at 21.5 million dollars in 2004 according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Tree-trunk exporting also has a fondly remembered place in Juneau's economic history.

Real estate agencies, federally-funded highway construction, and mining are apparently still viable non-government local industries. Local mines include Greens Creek, owned by Hecla Mining Company (Greens Creek Mine was a 70% Kennecott & 30% Hecla Joint Venture until Spring of 2008 when Hecla purchased the 70% Kennecott owned for approximately $750 Million) and (soon) the Kensington Gold Mine, owned by Couer Alaska.

Juneau's only power utility is Alaska Electric Light & Power (AEL&P). Most of the electricity in the borough is generated at the Snettisham Hydroelectric facility in the southern end of the borough, accessible only by boat or plane. In April 2008, an avalanche destroyed three transmission towers, forcing AEL&P to generate almost all of the borough's electricity with diesel-powered generators. A second hydroelectric generating facility, the Lake Dorothy Project, is scheduled to be online in 2009.

Arts and entertainment

Juneau is home to Perseverance Theatre, Alaska's only professional theater. The area hosts the annual Alaska Folk Festival and Juneau Jazz & Classics music festivals, and the Juneau Symphony performs regularly. Downtown Juneau boasts dozens of art galleries, which participate in the monthly First Friday Gallery Walk and the enormously popular December Gallery Walk held in the first week of December. The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council coordinates events while fund-raising, distributing some grant money, and operating a gallery at its office in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier Street. On summer Friday evenings open-air music and dance performances are held at Marine Park. The University of Alaska Southeast Campus also offers lectures, concerts, and theater performances.

The Juneau Lyric Opera and Opera to Go are the two local opera companies. JLO produces operas in English and Italian and sponsors two annual choral workshop festivals, as well as the touring group the "3 Tenors from Juneau."

Some Juneau artists include violinists Linda and Paul Rosenthal, soprano Kathleen Wayne, bass John d'Armand, baritones Philippe Damerval and David Miller, tenors Jay Query, Brett Crawford and Dan Wayne, Rory Merritt Stitt, pianist Mary Watson, folk musician Buddy Tabor, playwright Robert Bruce "Bo" Anderson, and painters Rie Muñoz, David Woodie, Barbara Craver, Rob Roys, Elise Tomlinson, and Herb Bonnet. Photographer Ron Klein is a past president of the International Association of Panoramic Photographers.


Juneau City Hall.

Two districts have been defined by the Assembly of the City and Borough of Juneau:


Primary and secondary schools

Juneau is served by the Juneau School District and includes the following schools:[13]

  • Gastineau Elementary School
  • Harborview Elementary School
  • Riverbend Elementary School
  • Mendenhall River Elementary School
  • Glacier Valley Elementary School
  • Auke Bay Elementary School
  • Juneau Community Charter School
  • Montessori Borealis School

In addition, the following private schools also serve Juneau:

  • (Glacier) Valley Baptist Academy
  • Faith Community School
  • Thunder Mountain Learning Center (Formerly Thunder Mountain Academy)
  • Juneau Seventh-day Adventist Christian School
  • Juneau Montessori School

Colleges and universities

Juneau is the home of the following institutes of higher education:


AMHS's flagship, the M/V Columbia.
Alaska Airlines flight moments after landing at Juneau International Airport.
Juneau is a popular cruise ship destination.
Juneau in the winter


Juneau is accessible only via sea or air. Cars and trucks are transported to and from Juneau by barge or ferry. The State-owned ferry is called the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). Juneau is one of only five state capitals not served by an interstate highway. Dover, Delaware; Jefferson City, Missouri; Carson City, Nevada; and Pierre, South Dakota, are the other four state capitals with this distinction. Approximately one million passengers arrive each summer on cruise ships. Juneau has fewer than 200 miles (320 km) of paved road[citation needed]. There are more vehicles in the city than there are people[citation needed], as many citizens also own light planes, float planes, and boats. Local government operates a bus service under the name Capital Transit. There are also several taxicab companies, as well as tour buses, which are mainly used for cruise ship visitors.


The only airport in Juneau is Juneau International Airport. Alaska Airlines is as of 2009 the sole commercial jet passenger operator. MarkAir and Western Airlines and its successor, Delta previously served Juneau. Alaska Airlines provides service to Anchorage and Fairbanks as well as to many small communities in the state. Seattle is a common destination for Juneau residents.

Some air carriers provide U.S. mail service. Residents walk, hike, or ride bicycles recreationally. A study has been conducted to make Juneau a more walkable area. Trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and all terrain vehicles are popular.[citation needed]


Avalanche hazards, steep slopes, cold weather and environmental protection concerns are factors that make road construction and maintenance difficult and costly.

Mendenhall Glacier

A very popular destination is Mendenhall Glacier. A bridge connects Douglas Island with the rest of Juneau, and there are about five places where roads end. Float planes and helicopters offer glacier tours in summer. Dog sled rides are often given to tourists landing on the glaciers or ice caps. Other companies offer boat rides. One of the signature places in Juneau is The Mount Roberts Tramway, an aerial tramway stretching from a station on the cruise ship docks to a point on the southwestern ridge of Mount Roberts.

Juneau Access Project

Juneau's roads remain separate from other roads in Alaska and in the Lower 48. Currently, fast car ferries connect Juneau with Haines and Skagway.[14] There are plans to connect Juneau to Haines and Skagway by road, but the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced in 2005 that the connection was to be provided partly by road, and partly by fast ferry.[15] A 51-mile road would be built on east side of Lynn Canal to a new ferry terminal at the Katzehin River estuary.[14] A ferry would take cars from the terminal to Haines and Skagway, where the cars could then drive over 300 miles to Anchorage.[14] In 2006, the project was estimated to cost $258 million, and in 2007, the estimate was increased to $350 million.[14] The Western Federal Lands Center estimates the project will cost $491 million.[14] As of 2009, $25 million has been spent on the project.[14]

Local opinions on constructing a road link to the outside world are mixed. Some see such a road as a much-needed link between Juneau and the rest of Alaska. Others are concerned about environmental, social, and economic impacts.



Juneau's only daily newspaper, the Juneau Empire, is published Sunday through Friday, no Saturday edition. There is also a regional weekly newspaper, the Capital City Weekly. Juneau-Douglas High School has The Ego and the Alterego, a monthly magazine, and the University of Alaska Southeast has The Whalesong, a college newspaper.


AM Stations: KJNO 630 and KINY 800.

FM Stations: KTKU 105.1 , KSUP 106.3, and the freeform LPFM station KBJZ-LP 94.1. Recently expanded public radio station KTOO 104.3, KXLL "Excellent Radio" 100.7 and KRNN "Rain Country Radio" 102.7 (both operated by KTOO).

Additionally the offices of CoastAlaska, a regional public radio station consortium, are located in Juneau. AP (the Associated Press), Anchorage news outlets, and other Alaska media entities send reporters to Juneau during the annual Legislative session.


Juneau's major television affiliates are KTOO (PBS), KATH-LP (NBC), KJUD (ABC)/The CW on DT2 and KXLJ-LP (CBS). Fox and MyNetworkTV are only available on cable via their Anchorage affiliates[citation needed]. The Juneau-Douglas High School also has a program with KTOO airing one hour a week during the school year produced entirely by students with the help of Ryan Conarro, "the DL (Down Low)"

Sister cities

Juneau has 5 official sister cities.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "nnual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Alaska, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. July 1, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ Patsy Ann: Famous Alaskan Bull Terrier, retrieved 2, September 2008
  3. ^
  4. ^ "CensusScope – Population Growth". Retrieved November 15, 2005. 
  5. ^ "Juneau's future demographic: Growing older". Retrieved 2005-11-15. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Weather - Tongass National Forest
  8. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 4.
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ Language Map Data Center
  11. ^ The Associated Press. "Alaska capital move would devastate Juneau economy", Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. April 19, 2009. Accessed August 2, 2009.
  12. ^ ""Cruise outlook for 2005 shows growth"". Retrieved November 15, 2005. 
  13. ^ Schools in the Juneau School District
  14. ^ a b c d e f Connelly, Joel (July 10, 2009). "Tab for Alaska road: $445 million". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  15. ^ Press release of August 10, 2005:
  16. ^ Sister Cities from the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska website.


  • Andrews, C.L. (1944). The Story of Alaska. The Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, OH. 
  • Naske, Claus-M and Herman E. Slotnick (1987). Alaska: A History of the 49th State. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK. ISBN 0-8061-2099-1. 

External links


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