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Historic Properties

National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places

Tour of National Register Historic Places in Seward

National Register Historic Places in Seward

  • Jesse Lee Home
  • Ballaine House
  • Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel
  • St. Peter's Church
  • Seward Depot
  • US Cable Office
  • Swetman House
  • Van Gilder Hotel
  • Brown and Hawkins Store

    501 Railway Avenue

    The 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. In 1996, the depot was on the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation’s “Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites” list.

    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 the building.