501 Railway Avenue
Seward Depot was constructed in 1917 at what is now Adams
Street and Ballaine Boulevard. It was moved to its present
location on Railway Avenue in 1928 following a damaging flood
down Jefferson Street. It is virtually unaltered prototype
of the hip-roofed Craftsman Bungalow style railroad depot.
The other two surviving depots of the original eight of this
style are in Wasilla and Nenana (Seward’s sister station.)
By 1923, the railroad connected Seward with Fairbanks the
major community in interior Alaska. President Harding came
west to demonstrate his concern for the western US interests
and to dedicate the railroad, which had become a major department
of Interior project. President Harding arrived in Seward on
July 13, 1923. The presidential party used the railroad depot
to greet Seward residents. On July 15, following the reception,
the Hardings proceeded up the line to Nenana in what is now
called the Harding Car. At Nenana, Harding drove the golden
spike in place, marking completion of the Alaska railroad.
The depot was used as the “Gateway to Alaska”
until 1964 when the railroad was destroyed in the earthquake.
More recently, it served as headquarters of the Alaska Marine
Highway ferry Tustumena for over twenty years. The depot was
added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
1996, the depot was on the Alaska Association for Historic
Preservation’s “Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites”
In 1998, the City of Seward sold the building and property
to Chugach Alaska Corporation following the native corporation
completing an interior and exterior restoration of the building.
Chugach operated the facility as a native cultural center
for three seasons. The Alaska SeaLife Center is now leasing
the property and plan to house a marine science library in