Historic Highlights

Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest communities. Our ice-free port has long served as a natural gateway to Alaska’s resource-rich interior. Here are a few historical highlights, dating back to our region’s First Peoples.

Benny Benson

John Ben “Benny” Benson, an Alutiiq boy living in Seward, was 13 years old when he won a contest in 1927 to design the flag for the Territory of Alaska. Benny’s iconic design featuring the Big Dipper remains today. The Benny Benson Memorial north of the lagoon honors this beloved Alaskan.

The Iditarod Trail

The Iditarod National Historic Trail is a 2,300-mile trail network, originally developed to deliver mail by dog team from Seward to rural Alaska Native villages. From the Iditarod Monument, retrace the path of these brave mushers as you walk north on the paved trail toward the harbor.

Earthquake of ’64

Seward was one of the communities devastated by the Good Friday Earthquake on March 27, 1964. The 9.2 magnitude quake remains the second largest earthquake in recorded history. Learn more in the film Waves Over Seward, shown daily during the summer at the Seward Community Museum.

Alutiiq/Sugpiaq People

The Alutiiq / Sugpiaq people have inhabited the coastal environments of Southcentral Alaska for more 7,500 years. Historically, Seward was an active trading post. Today, members of the Qutekcak Native Tribe are a blend of Alaska Native peoples from all corners of the state.

William H. Seward

Seward was named for President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Henry Seward, who engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 for the bargain price of two cents per acre. Though the treaty was mocked by some at the time, “Seward’s Folly” is regarded by history as a masterful deal.