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
Alaska Dispatch Publishing