anchorage began as a tent city in 1914 near the mouth of ship creek and a townsite was built the following year. air transportation provided a small boom after the construction of merrill field in 1930 and the international airport in 1951. in the 1940s the elmendorf air force base and fort richardson were constructed and anchorage became the alaska defense command headquarters. in 1959 alaska joined the united states and anchorage became an official city in january 1964. on march 27, 1964 anchorage was hit by a 9.2 magnitude earthquake which killed 115 people and caused $300 million in damage. Recovery dominated the 1960s and was helped when oil was found in the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field. construction and oil companies set up businesses at the end of the pipeline in anchorage in the 1970s. In 1975, the city and borough unified to include eagle river, eklutna, glennallen, and other communities under the name municipality of anchorage. the 1980s saw a boom as the production of oil in prudhoe bay continued to bolster the state treasury.