It was named after William H. Seward, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1867, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.5 square miles (55.8 km˛), of which, 14.4 square miles (37.4 km˛) of it is land and 7.1 square miles (18.4 km˛) of it (32.93%) is water.
- Seward is the seventh most lucrative fisheries port in the United States per value. In 2004, 49.7 million dollars worth of fish and shellfish passed through Seward according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
- Another major industry in Seward is tourism.
- Seward is also an Alaska Railroad terminus which has a maintained dock for cruise vessels and it controls a shipping terminal for coal from Usibelli. The Railroad and Aurora Energy Services employ dozens of people in the local area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,830 people, 917 households, and 555 families residing in the city. The population density was 196.0 people per square mile (75.7/km˛). There were 1,058 housing units at an average density of 73.3/sq mi (28.3/km˛).
The median income for a household in the city was $44,306, and the median income for a family was $54,904. Males had a median income of $36,900 versus $30,508 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,360. About 8.3% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.7% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
Population of Seward Year Population 1920 700 1930 800 1940 900 1950 2,100 1960 1,900 1970 1,600 1980 1,800 1990 2,700
Seward is unique among most small Alaskan communities in that it has road access in the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, which also brings it bus service. Seward is also the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad. This keeps the port busy with freight coming on and off the trains, but also makes Seward a primary end point for north-bound cruise ships.
Seward is a very bike friendly community. A paved bike path runs from the downtown business district through the harbor and along the highway to mile 4.5. Bikes can be rented from The Seward Bike Shop.
Seward used to receive service from the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) system, however, service was discontinued at the end of the 2005. Ferry connections are now available in Whittier (90 miles North) or Homer (150 miles by highway).
Seward Airport (PAWD/SWD) is home to (general aviation) services and flight-seeing operators. Scheduled commercial service is available at Kenai Municipal Airport in Kenai and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, both about 100 miles (160 km) away. Seasonal bus connections are also available.
Notable people from Seward
- In 1927, thirteen-year old Seward resident and Native Alaskan, Benny Benson, won a territory-wide American Legion contest to design a flag for Alaska. Born in Chignik in 1913, he was three when his mother died of pneumonia. Soon after her death the family's house burned and his Swedish fisherman father sent Benny and his brother to the Jesse Lee Home in Seward. Winning the contest changed Benny’s life. The prize for designing the flag included a $1000 scholarship which he used to become an airplane mechanic. He married, raised a family, and died of a heart attack in 1972 at the age of 58. His design became the territorial flag and eventually the state flag. He is memorialized in Seward by the Benny Benson Memorial Park.
- Chad Bentz, Major League Baseball Player
- Harry Kawabe, Japanese-American businessman sent to internment camp during WWII
Points of Interest
- Mount Marathon and its famous Mount Marathon Race
- Kenai Fjords National Park with its easily accessible Exit Glacier
- Alaska SeaLife Center
- Sport fishing- Salmon, Halibut, Ling cod, Salmon Shark
- Glacier and Wildlife Day Cruises
- 4th of July Celebrations
- Silver Salmon Derby
- Alaska Vocational Technical Center
- 4th of July Festival
- Seward Silver Salmon Derby
- Seward Polar Bear Jump-Off
- Spring Creek Correctional Center
- Seward Music and Arts Festival, every year in November.
- Kenai Fjord Tours, take an amazing boat cruise into the Kenai Fjord National Park.