Barrow is the economic, transportation and administrative center for the North Slope Borough. Located on the Chukchi Sea coast, Barrow is the northernmost community in the United States.The community is traditionally known as Ukpeagvik, “place where snowy owls are hunted.” Barrow was incorporated as a first-class city in 1958.

Barrow takes its modern name from Point Barrow, named in 1825 by Captain Beechey of the Royal Navy for Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty. Beechey was plotting the Arctic coastline of North America at the time.

An important historical site in the area is the Pigniq archaeological site which contains 16 dwelling mounds of a culture believed to have existed from 500-900 AD. The archaeological findings are considered a key link between the prehistoric cultures of Alaska and Canada. Another interesting site is the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station in nearby Browerville. Cape Smythe was built as a whaling station in 1893 and is the oldest frame building in the Arctic.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the military played an influential role in the area. Construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line and exploration in the National Petroleum Reserve brought new people to the region. During the same time, the Naval Arctic Research Lab (NARL) was built near Barrow. Visitors to Barrow will arrive at the Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport. This airport was named to commemorate the famous pilot and the American humorist who died in an airplane crash just 15 miles south of Barrow in 1935. Across from the airport sits the Will Rogers and Wiley Post Monument.


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2022 Ahkovak St, Barrow, AK 99723 | Phone: (907) 852-5211 | Fax: (907) 852-5214
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