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The City and Borough of Juneau ( ) is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channelmarker in the panhandlemarker of the U.S. state of Alaskamarker. It has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of the then-Alaska Territory was moved from Sitkamarker. The municipality unified in 1970 when the City of Juneau merged with the City of Douglas and the surrounding borough to form the current home rule municipality.

The area of Juneau is larger than that of Rhode Islandmarker and Delawaremarker individually and almost as large as the two states combined. Downtown Juneau is nestled at the base of Mount Juneaumarker and across the channel from Douglas Islandmarker. As of the 2000 census, the City and Borough had a population of 30,711. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 population estimate for the City and Borough was 30,988.

Juneau was named after gold prospector Joe Juneau, though the place was for a time called Rockwell and then Harrisburg (after Juneau's co-prospector, Richard Harris — several books credit the Tlingit Chief Kowee with showing these prospectors where the gold was). The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni "river where the flounders gather", and Auke Bay just north of Juneau proper is called Aak'w "little lake" in Tlingit. The Taku Rivermarker, just south of Juneau, was named after the cold t'aakh wind, which occasionally blows down from the mountains.

Downtown Juneau sits at sea level, with tides averaging , below steep mountains about 3,500 to high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefieldmarker, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; two of these, the Mendenhall Glaciermarker and the Lemon Creek Glacier, are visible from the local road system; the Mendenhall glacier has been generally retreating; its front face is declining both in width and height.

The current Alaska State Capitolmarker is an office building in downtown Juneau, originally built as the Federal and Territorial Building in 1931. Originally housing federal government offices, the federal courthouse, and a post office, it became the home of the Alaska Legislature and the offices for the governor of Alaska and lieutenant governor of Alaska. Through the years, there has been discussion on relocating the seat of state government and building a new capitol, without significant development.


Chief Anotklosh of the Taku tribe taken in 1913.
Long before European settlement in the Americas, the Gastineau Channelmarker was a favorite fishing ground for local Tlingit Indians, known then as the Auke and Taku tribes, who had inhabited the surrounding area for thousands of years. The native cultures are rich with artistic traditions including carving, weaving, orating, singing and dancing, and Juneau has become a major social center for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of Southeast Alaska.

In 1880, Sitkamarker mining engineer George Pilz offered a reward to any local chief who could lead him to gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee arrived with some ore and several prospectors were sent to investigate. On their first trip, to Gold Creek, they found deposits of little interest. However, at Chief Kowee's urging Pilz sent Joe Juneau and Richard Harris back to the Gastineau Channel, directing them to Snow Slide Gulch (the head of Gold Creek) where they found nuggets "as large as peas and beans," in Harris' words.

On October 18, 1880, the two men marked a town site where soon a mining camp appeared. Within a year, the camp became a small town, the first to be founded after Alaska's purchase by the United States.

The town was originally called Harrisburg, after Richard Harris; some time later, its name was changed to Rockwell. In 1881, the miners met and renamed the town Juneau, after Joe Juneau. In 1906, after the diminution of the whaling and fur trade, Sitkamarker, the original capital of Alaska, declined in importance and the seat of government was moved to Juneau. Juneau was the largest city in Alaska during the inter-war years, passing Fairbanksmarker in the 1920 census and displaced by Anchoragemarker in 1950.

In 1954, Alaskans passed a measure to move the capital north. Robert Atwood, then publisher of the Anchorage Times and an Anchorage 'booster,' was an early leader in capital move efforts—efforts which many in Juneau and Fairbanks resisted. One provision required the new capital to be at least from Anchorage and Fairbanks, to prevent either city from having undue influence; in the end Juneau remained the capital. In the 1970s, voters passed a plan to move the capital to Willowmarker, a town north of Anchorage. But pro-Juneau people there and in Fairbanks got voters to also approve a measure (the FRANK Initiative) requiring voter approval of all bondable construction costs before building could begin. Alaskans later voted against spending the estimated $900 million. A 1984 "ultimate" capital-move vote also failed, as did a 1996 vote.

Alaskans thus several times voted on moving their capital, but Juneau remains the capital.Once Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, Juneau grew with the growth of state government. Growth accelerated remarkably after the construction of the Alaska Pipelinemarker in 1977, the state budget being flush with oil revenues; Juneau expanded for a time due to growth in state government jobs, but that growth slowed considerably in the 1980s. The state demographer expects the borough to grow very slowly over the next twenty years. Cruise ship tourism rocketed upward from about 230,000 passengers in 1990 to nearly 1,000,000 in 2006 as cruise lines built more and larger ships—even 'mega-ships', sailing to Juneau seven days a week instead of six, over a longer season, but this primarily summer industry provides few year-round jobs. Its population rank in 2000 was second in the state, closely ahead of Fairbanks; recent estimates have Juneau falling back to third, as it was in the 1960-90 counts.

Juneau is larger in area than the state of Delaware and was, for many years, the country's largest city by area. Juneau continues to be the only U.S. state capital located on an international border: it is bordered on the east by Canadamarker. It is the U.S. state capital whose namesake was most recently alive: Joe Juneau died in 1899, a year after Otto von Bismarck (North Dakotamarker).

Geography and climate

Mendenhall Glacier, 2009
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of , making it the second-largest municipality in the United Statesmarker by area (the largest is Sitka, Alaskamarker). of it is land and of it (16.54%) is water.

Adjacent boroughs and census areas

Border area

Juneau, Alaska, shares its eastern border with the Canadian province of British Columbiamarker. It is the only U.S. state capital to border another country. Carson City, Nevada and Trenton, New Jersey are the only state capitals which border another state.

National protected areas

Central (downtown) Juneau is located at . According to the Köppen Classification, Juneau has a humid continental climate despite its coastal location, though it is influenced by the Pacific Oceanmarker. Average annual rainfall ranges from to over depending on location; annual average snowfall at Juneau International Airportmarker is . The average high temperature in July is , and the average low temperature in January is .


As of the census of 2000, there were 30,700 people, 11,500 households, and 7,600 families residing in the city/borough. The population density was 11.3/square mile (4.4/km²). There were 12,300 housing units at an average density of 4.5/sq mi (1.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city/borough was 74.79% White, 0.81% African American, 11.38% Native American, 4.68% Asian, 0.38% Pacific Islander, and 1.05% from other races, and 6.91% from two or more races. 3.39% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.1% reported speaking Tlingit at home, 5.07% Inupiag, 2.61% Tagalog, and 2.38% Spanish.

There were 11,543 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city/borough the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city/borough was $62,034, and the median income for a family was $70,284. Males had a median income of $46,744 versus $33,168 for females. The per capita income for the city/borough was $26,719. 6.0% of the population and 3.7% of families were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under the age of 18 and 3.9% of those 65 and older.


As the capital of Alaska, the primary employer in Juneau, by a large margin, is government. This includes the federal government, state government, municipal government (which does include the local airport, the local hospital, harbors, and the school district), and the University of Alaska Southeast. State government offices and their indirect economic impact compose approximately one-quarter of Juneau's economy.

A salmon-themed stained glass window in the Juneau Public Library illustrates some of the city's heritage.
Another large contibutor to the local economy, at least on a part-time basis, is the tourism industry. In 2005, the cruise ship industry was estimated to bring nearly one million visitors to Juneau for up to 11 hours at a time, between the months of May and September.

The fishing industry used to be a major part of the Juneau economy. Until recently, Juneau was the 49th most lucrative U.S. fisheries port by volume and 45th by value taking in 15 million pounds of fish and shellfish valued at 21.5 million dollars in 2004 according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Tree-trunk exporting also has a fondly remembered place in Juneau's economic history.

Real estate agencies, federally-funded highway construction, and mining are apparently still viable non-government local industries. Local mines include Greens Creek, owned by Hecla Mining Company (Greens Creek Mine was a 70% Kennecott & 30% Hecla Joint Venture until Spring of 2008 when Hecla purchased the 70% Kennecott owned for approximately $750 Million) and (soon) the Kensington Gold Mine, owned by Couer Alaska.

Juneau's only power utility is Alaska Electric Light & Power (AEL&P). Most of the electricity in the borough is generated at the Snettisham Hydroelectric facility in the southern end of the borough, accessible only by boat or plane. In April 2008, an avalanche destroyed three transmission towers, forcing AEL&P to generate almost all of the borough's electricity with diesel-powered generators. A second hydroelectric generating facility, the Lake Dorothy Project, is scheduled to be online in 2009.

Arts and entertainment

Juneau is home to Perseverance Theatre, Alaska's only professional theater. The area hosts the annual Alaska Folk Festival and Juneau Jazz & Classics music festivals, and the Juneau Symphony performs regularly. Downtown Juneau boasts dozens of art galleries, which participate in the monthly First Friday Gallery Walk and the enormously popular December Gallery Walk held in the first week of December. The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council coordinates events while fund-raising, distributing some grant money, and operating a gallery at its office in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier Street. On summer Friday evenings open-air music and dance performances are held at Marine Park. The University of Alaska Southeast Campus also offers lectures, concerts, and theater performances.

The Juneau Lyric Opera and Opera to Go are the two local opera companies. JLO produces operas in English and Italian and sponsors two annual choral workshop festivals, as well as the touring group the "3 Tenors from Juneau."

Some Juneau artists include violinists Linda and Paul Rosenthal, soprano Kathleen Wayne, bass John d'Armand, baritones Philippe Damerval and David Miller, tenors Jay Query, Brett Crawford and Dan Wayne, Rory Merritt Stitt, pianist Mary Watson, folk musician Buddy Tabor, playwright Robert Bruce "Bo" Anderson, and painters Rie Muñoz, David Woodie, Barbara Craver, Rob Roys, Elise Tomlinson, and Herb Bonnet. Photographer Ron Klein is a past president of the International Association of Panoramic Photographers.


Juneau City Hall.
Two districts have been defined by the Assembly of the City and Borough of Juneau:


Primary and secondary schools

Juneau is served by the Juneau School District and includes the following schools:
  • Gastineau Elementary School
  • Harborview Elementary School
  • Riverbend Elementary School
  • Mendenhall River Elementary School
  • Glacier Valley Elementary School
  • Auke Bay Elementary School
  • Juneau Community Charter School
  • Montessori Borealis School

In addition, the following private schools also serve Juneau:
  • (Glacier) Valley Baptist Academy
  • Faith Community School
  • Thunder Mountain Learning Center (Formerly Thunder Mountain Academy)
  • Juneau Seventh-day Adventist Christian School
  • Juneau Montessori School

Colleges and universities

Juneau is the home of the following institutes of higher education:


Juneau in the winter


Juneau is accessible only via sea or air. Cars and trucks are transported to and from Juneau by barge or ferry. The State-owned ferry is called the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS). Juneau is one of only five state capitals not served by an interstate highway. Dover, Delawaremarker; Jefferson City, Missourimarker; Carson City, Nevadamarker; and Pierre, South Dakotamarker, are the other four state capitals with this distinction.Approximately one million passengers arrive each summer on cruise ships. Juneau has fewer than of paved road . There are more vehicles in the city than there are people , as many citizens also own light planes, float planes, and boats. Local government operates a bus service under the name Capital Transit. There are also several taxicab companies, as well as tour buses, which are mainly used for cruise ship visitors.


The only airport in Juneau is Juneau International Airportmarker. Alaska Airlines is as of 2009 the sole commercial jet passenger operator. MarkAir and Western Airlines and its successor, Delta previously served Juneau. Alaska Airlines provides service to Anchoragemarker and Fairbanksmarker as well as to many small communities in the state. Seattlemarker is a common destination for Juneau residents.

Some air carriers provide U.S. mail service. Residents walk, hike, or ride bicycles recreationally. A study has been conducted to make Juneau a more walkable area. Trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and all terrain vehicles are popular.


Avalanche hazards, steep slopes, cold weather and environmental protection concerns are factors that make road construction and maintenance difficult and costly.

Mendenhall Glacier

A very popular destination is Mendenhall Glaciermarker. A bridge connects Douglas Islandmarker with the rest of Juneau, and there are about five places where roads end. Float planes and helicopters offer glacier tours in summer. Dog sled rides are often given to tourists landing on the glaciers or ice caps. Other companies offer boat rides. One of the signature places in Juneau is The Mount Roberts Tramway, an aerial tramway stretching from a station on the cruise ship docks to a point on the southwestern ridge of Mount Robertsmarker.

Juneau Access Project

Juneau's roads remain separate from other roads in Alaska and in the Lower 48. Currently, fast car ferries connect Juneau with Haines and Skagway. There are plans to connect Juneau to Hainesmarker and Skagwaymarker by road, but the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced in 2005 that the connection was to be provided partly by road, and partly by fast ferry. A 51-mile road would be built on east side of Lynn Canal to a new ferry terminal at the Katzehin River estuary. A ferry would take cars from the terminal to Haines and Skagway, where the cars could then drive over 300 miles to Anchorage. In 2006, the project was estimated to cost $258 million, and in 2007, the estimate was increased to $350 million. The Western Federal Lands Center estimates the project will cost $491 million. As of 2009, $25 million has been spent on the project.

Local opinions on constructing a road link to the outside world are mixed. Some see such a road as a much-needed link between Juneau and the rest of Alaska. Others are concerned about environmental, social, and economic impacts.



Juneau's only daily newspaper, the Juneau Empiremarker, is published Sunday through Friday, no Saturday edition. There is also a regional weekly newspaper, the Capital City Weekly. Juneau-Douglas High School has The Ego and the Alterego, a monthly magazine, and the University of Alaska Southeast has The Whalesong, a college newspaper.


AM Stations: KJNOmarker 630 and KINY 800.

FM Stations: KTKU 105.1 , KSUP 106.3, and the freeform LPFM station KBJZ-LPmarker 94.1. Recently expanded public radio station KTOOmarker 104.3, KXLL "Excellent Radio" 100.7 and KRNN "Rain Country Radio" 102.7 (both operated by KTOO).

Additionally the offices of CoastAlaska, a regional public radio station consortium, are located in Juneau. AP (the Associated Press), Anchorage news outlets, and other Alaska media entities send reporters to Juneau during the annual Legislative session.


Juneau's major television affiliates are KTOO (PBS), KATH-LP (NBC), KJUDmarker (ABC)/The CW on DT2 and KXLJ-LPmarker (CBS). Foxmarker and MyNetworkTVmarker are only available on cable via their Anchorage affiliates . The Juneau-Douglas High School also has a program with KTOO airing one hour a week during the school year produced entirely by students with the help of Ryan Conarro, "the DL (Down Low)"

Sister Cities

Juneau has 5 official sister cities.

See also



External links

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