In a well-traversed but often overlooked corner of the Alaska Highway system sits an irregular structure. As the years cross over its craggy skull, bringing the unrelenting malice of winter weather, the gawking of confused onlookers and the cruelty of vandals and thieves, the melancholy white dome known to many as “Igloo City” persists — unabated, but with little faith.
Abandoned and neglected, this dilapidated four-story shell sits 180 miles north of Anchorage along the George Parks Highway on the quiet drive to the Interior Alaska city of Fairbanks. The Igloo’s nearest neighbor, Cantwell (population 222), has witnessed the Arctic bungalow and its accompanying gas station thrive, dive and slowly age under the elements and the shuttering lenses of passing motorists, during its 40-plus years in existence.
In its infancy, the Igloo was someone’s “dream,” but due to some missteps in original construction, economic hardship and the rapid increase in fuel prices this Alaskan oddity never realized its original potential.