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Photos: Buckner Building in Whittier

The Buckner Building, abandoned for 50 years, is viewed from the Begich Towers on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier. "The City Under One Roof" housed troops and included a jail, a bowling alley, a theater and other amenities.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Exploration and vandalism of the Buckner Building is discouraged on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Soggy ceiling tiles litter the interior of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A jail cell is illuminated by window light in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A droopy light fixture barely hangs from the ceiling in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A plant takes root on the first floor of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A basement storage tank features artwork added to sheetrock material that has dripped onto the tank in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
The former bowling alley is littered with ceiling debris in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Seating and ceiling are disintegrating, but the former theater is still identifiable in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Seats slowly disintegrate in the theater of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A former kitchen is visible in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Peeling paint clings to a rusting elevator door adjacent to a knocked-out wall in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Plumbing occupies a reflection in a pond on an upper floor of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Graffiti fill most walls in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A bathtub remains mostly intact in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Pairs of eyes adorn remaining walls in an upstairs bathroom in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A shaft of light highlights a toilet stall in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A seam of light illuminates rainwater streaming into the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Layers of paint peel in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Rainwater pours into the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Water and debris make footing treacherous in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Water and debris make footing treacherous in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A graffito makes light of asbestos concerns in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Controls remain backstage at the theater in the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Graffiti fill most walls of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
A light fixture sits in a pond on an upper floor of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Puddles and plant life abound on an upper floor of the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Materials dissolved from walls and ceilings form stalactites throughout the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
An alder tree grows into the Buckner Building on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Ted Spencer has put together a museum in Whittier, and is a driving force for a historic district. He poses at a hallway display in the former U.S. Army Headquarters Building, now the Anchor Inn Hotel and Store, on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Fencing is designed to discourage visitors to the Buckner Building, abandoned for 50 years, on Friday, August 15, 2014, in Whittier. "The City Under One Roof" housed troops and included a jail, a bowling alley, a theater and other amenities.
Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News
Erik Hill

WHITTIER -- Whittier was established as a military base during WWII, while the Japanese military invaded the Aleutian Islands. The location could provide a deepwater port and was relatively difficult to get to due to its location and unpredictable weather. It remained active as a military installation through the early years of the Cold War.

Initially, the Buckner Building was the location of the base's only bakery, theater, bowling alley and jail.  

Today, if it had been properly maintained, the building would have a value of around $52 million. But after the military vacated its Whittier station in 1960, maintenance ceased. All that remains today is a seven-story skeleton of toxic, dangerous and rusting debris that sparks imagination and conversation among visitors.

But now the city of Whittier is in the early stages of figuring out how decrepit the Buckner Building might be, with the hopes of maybe -- and that's a big maybe -- bringing the once-great structure back from the dead.

More: 49th Estate: Whittier, Alaska's Buckner Building