Anchorage Hillside Star Memories
Did you know that the "Site Summit Star" was actually a gift to Anchorage? Discover the history of what has become an Anchorage icon.
Perched on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon in the Chugach mountains overlooking Anchorage, and illuminated during those long winter nights, the “Site Summit Star” was a gift to Anchorage from the soldiers at Site Summit.
Nike Site Summit
The U.S. Army established a Nike Hercules missile installation on Mount Gordon Lyon in the Chugach mountains overlooking Anchorage in 1958 to help protect the U.S. during the Cold War.
To learn more, visit Friends of Site Summit and enjoy.
How the Star Began
Battery Commander, Captain Douglas Evert had an idea.
In 1958, he wanted to set up a 15 foot illuminated star on the Site Summit gate house as a holiday symbol that would be seen and enjoyed by all of Anchorage.
But the first star was too small.
So, a 117-foot star replaced the original in 1960.
An avalanche destroyed the star in 1989.
Later, the damaged star was replaced by a 300-foot wide star (it’s current size).
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That’s a Lot of Bulbs
Photo by Crystal A. Jenkins, US Air Force
Can you guess how many bulbs it takes to light up a 300-foot star?
There are around 350 bulbs that require year round maintenance. Yes, those light sockets freeze and the movement of snow causes damage as well.
Water color courtesy of Alaskan artist Cindy Pendleton
According to a Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson publication, the star is lit every year on Thanksgiving and remains lit until the last Iditarod musher crosses the finish line in Nome – sometime in March.
The Site Summit Star Today
Modern technology has caught up with our star.
Light bulbs have now been replaced with LED lights.
The star is 300 feet wide. Compare that to the length of a football field, which is 360 feet.
Look Who We Found
Yes, it’s the jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus.
Mike and Mary were visiting the Gene Autry Western Museum in Griffith Park, in Burbank, California when what to our wondering eyes did appear…
Santa was happy to see us and as you can see by the picture above, he even let us sit in his sleigh.
Mary and I send you our very best wishes for a very Merry Christmas, or the holiday you celebrate.
Now, as the Site Summit Star shines it’s most welcome light for all of Anchorage to see and enjoy, we hope you will take a moment to tell us about your favorite Site Summit Star memories.
You can connect with us by replying to this email, or you can Contact Us right now.
We love hearing from our North Stars (that’s you!)
Until Next Time
Mike & Mary