Seward is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough of Alaska. It is at the foot of Mount Marathon, along the shoreline of Resurrection Bay. It is named after William H. Seward, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He was the primary American negotiator of the Alaska Purchase for $7.2 million, about $0.02 per acre. In Sitka, October 18, 1867, the Russian flag was lowered and the American flag raised. Public opinion was not positive it was known and the purchase was known as "Seward's Folly." The discovery of gold in the 1800s changed popular opinion.
The night of President Lincoln's assassination, William Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson were also targeted. Seward received wounds and the assassin assigned to Vice President Johnson could not follow through.
Resurrection Bay was named by Alexander Baranov. While sailing in the Gulf of Alaska, a storm forced him to seek shelter in the bay. When the storm settled, it was Easter Sunday; therefore, the name Resurrection Bay. The bay remains ice-free even in winter, and it is one of the deep-water ports with rail service to Alaska's interior.
Kenai Fjords National Park and Chugach National Forest, Harding Icefield, and Bear, Aialik, Pederson, Holgate glaciers are the neighbors to Seward, along with Sargent Icefield, with Chenega, Princeton and Ellsworth glaciers.
Seward was founded in 1903 as the ocean terminus of what is now the Alaska Railroad. The United States Government was planning an all-weather railroad route to the interior, from Seward to Fairbanks. President Taft commissioned a survey of the route, which was more than 470 miles long, in 1912. Under the U.S. Department of the Interior, the route was completed in 1923 under President Warren G. Harding. In 1985, the state of Alaska bought the railroad for $22.3 million.
In 1927, the Alaska state flag was created by a thirteen-year-old Seward resident and Alaska Native, Benny Benson, when he won a contest to design a flag for Alaska. The design was retained when Alaska became a state in 1959.
The "Seward to Nome Trail," as the Iditarod was originally known, was first mapped and marked in 1908. This is not to be confused with the race from Anchorage to Nome, established by Joe Redington in 1970. The original Iditarod Trail was a supply route for mail and other supplies carrying up to a thousand pounds on a dog sled. The trail from Seward to Iditarod (a ghost town today) up to Nome, which was over one thousand miles, was a forerunner of the Alaska Railroad.
Today you access Seward by boat (cruise ship), train, car and plane.