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Arctic Valley star lights up Chugach, Anchorage skyline

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

The iconic star on Mount Gordon Lyon at the Arctic Valley ski area between Anchorage and Eagle River in Southcentral Alaska lit up Friday.

The 360 bulbs will stay lit until late March, after the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, at which point the star will be turned off until Sept. 11, when it will be illuminated again in recognition of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The star is more than a half-century old. It was the brainchild of U.S. Army Capt. Douglas Evert, commander for B Battery, 4th Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery, who had his men construct a 15-foot star that first shone on May 5, 1959. It rested atop the gatehouse of Site Summit, the location of a Nike Hercules missile battery until 1979. And, according to KTUU, the star-lighting tradition dates back "almost to the beginning of the Cold War."

Donnie Bull, who's been in charge of maintaining the structure since 2003, told KTUU, "I get a lot of comments on the Facebook page from people that moved out of state that miss seeing the star. A lot of people grew up with it, they're used to seeing it."

Read more on the Arctic Valley star.