We know where most people in the US live, which can help us figure out which places are the biggest. But what about towns that aren’t packed with skyscrapers and are instead spread out? These are the US cities with the most land size.
Sitka, Alaska – 2,870 Square Miles
Sitka is the largest city in Alaska. It is in the southeast of the state. Also, it’s the only city in southeast Alaska that faces the Pacific Ocean. The area was first settled by Tlingit Indians. In 1741, a Russian expedition went there to learn more about it. Old Sitka, also known as Fort St. Michael, was built by Aleksandr Baranov in 1799. He was the first Russian governor of Alaska at the time. But in 1802, the Tlingit destroyed the fort.
The city we know today was first named Novo Arkhangelsk, which means “New Archangel.” Two years later, Baranov moved the office of the trading company Russian-American Company to the area. When the United States bought Alaska in 1867, the town changed its name to Sitka. Up until 1906, Sitka was the capital of the territory.
The US government built a naval air base in the city, which brought in about 40,000 new people and played a big part in the Second World War. Along with the growth in people, Sitka’s economy also did very well. The main ones are tourists, fishing, canning, and cutting down trees. Besides these, Sitka is also a regional hub for health care. By size, it is the biggest city in the US.
Juneau, Alaska – 2,701 Square Miles
The first people to live in this place were Joseph Juneau and Richard Harris. The town used to be called Harrisburg, then Rockwell, and now it’s Juneau. In 1880, the founders found gold, and soon after, prospectors flocked to the area. In fact, Juneau had several hundred people living there within a year of its founding.
In 1900, the city was finally built and put together. That year, it was named the local capital. After sixteen years, the Alaska-Juneau gold mine was built, but it stopped working in 1944. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was also an oil boom that made it possible for many capital-improvement programs.
However, gold and oil are not the only things that make Juneau’s business work. About two-fifths of the people who work in the city are actually in government jobs. Douglas Island is a popular place to ski, and a bridge connects it to Juneau. Fishing and logging are also important things to do there. With just over 32,000 people living there, Juneau is one of the largest cities in the US by size. That means there are about 12 people per square mile.
Wrangell, Alaska – 2,542 Square Miles
Wrangell is lots of things. It is the third-oldest town in Alaska and the second-oldest in the southeast. It is also the only city in Alaska that has been controlled by four different countries and flown three different flags: Tlingit, Russia, the UK, and the US.
The Tlingit people and their relatives have lived in Wrangell for a very long time, since before all the glaciers in the area melted. The city of Wrangell, on the other hand, was officially formed by Russians in the 1800s. In fact, they began trading furs with the Tlingit in 1811.
A stockade was built near Chief Shakes’ clan house in 1834 by Baron Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel, who was in charge of Russian government interests in Russian America. The house was in what is now Wrangell Harbor and the stockade was built where the city is now, at the mouth of the harbor.
From then on, military operations and mining were the main sources of income. Fishing took over in the 20th century, but it was so destructive to sea life that it had to be stopped. In fact, all Alaskan fish traps were taken out of service by the state in the 1050s. Fishing, tourists, and forest services are still the city’s main sources of income.