whittier started out as merely part of a portage route for the chugach people native to the prince william sound. later, it was used by explorers from both russia and america, as well as, miners during the fold rush. in 1915, the glacier nearby was named after the american poet john greenleaf whittier, which the town adopted as well. during world war ii, a U.s. military facility with a port and railroad was built near whittier glacier and was known as camp sullivan. the railroad was completed in 1943 and the camp became the entrance for u.s. soldiers into the alaska frontier. the hodge building (later renamed the begich towers) was built in 1957 and the school was connected by a tunnel at the base of the west tower. it was named in honor of colonel walter william hodge, a civil engineer and comanding officer of the 93rd engineer reginment on the alcan highway. the buckner building was built in 1953 and was deemed the "city under one roof." however, it was eventually abandoned. the begich building now houses most of whittier's residents, with the exception of a two-story private residence known as the whittier manor. the port was an active army facility until 1960 and in 1962, the army corps of engineers constructed a terminal, pumping station, and pipeline from anchorage to whittier. in 1964, the good friday earthquake shook whittier and caused over $10 million in damage. the tsunami that hit whittier killed 13 people was was approximately 43 feet high. whittier became incorporated in 1969 and has since been used as a terminal for cruise ships. in 2000, the anton anderson memorial tunnel was opened to the public and became the first highway to connect whittier to anchorage.