History of Valdez


The City of Valdez, population 4,353, is located in South Central Alaska on the northeast tip of Prince William Sound. On the road system, Valdez is 305 road miles east of Anchorage, and 364 road miles south of Fairbanks. It lies at approximately 61.130830° North Latitude and -146.34833° West Longitude. The city encompasses 222.0 square miles of land and 55.1 square miles of water.

Climate & Economy

The climate is relatively mild, which is attributed to the marine currents in and weather generated by the Pacific Ocean. Its distinguishing characteristics are the incomparable rugged beauty of its natural mountain ringed setting and its extremely high average annual snowfall of 360 inches (30 feet) the most of any community at sea level in North America. Valdez's economy is based on oil, tourism, commercial fishing, shipping / transportation and city and state government. Among small communities Valdez is quite unique in the vast amenities it offers for a town of its size. Valdez offers a quality of life rivaled by few. It has the comfort of a small town, with many of the advantages of a larger community.

Early History

The city was founded just prior to the turn of the 20th century as a gateway to the All-American Route to interior gold and copper fields. Incorporated since 1901, the community's first hundred years have been marked by a number of significant events the most notable of which are the 1964 Alaska Earthquake, being chosen as the terminus of the trans-Alaska Pipeline and the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.

Read more history.