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Juneau, Alaska
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From before European settlement in the Americas, the Gastineau Channel was a favorite fishing ground for local Tlingit Indians, known then as the Auke and Taku tribes, who had inhabited the area for thousands of years. The native cultures are rich with artistic traditions including carving, weaving, orating, singing and dancing, and Juneau has become a major social center for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of Southeast Alaska.

In 1880, Sitka mining engineer George Pilz offered a reward to any local chief who could lead him to gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee arrived with some ore and prospectors were sent to investigate. On their first trip, to Gold Creek, they found little of interest. However, at Chief Kowee's urging Pilz sent Joe Juneau and Richard Harris back to the Gastineau Channel, directing them to Snow Slide Gulch (the head of Gold Creek) where they found nuggets "as large as peas and beans," in Harris' words.

On October 18, 1880, the two men marked a 160-acre (0.6 kmē) town site where soon a mining camp appeared. Within a year, the camp became a small town, the first to be founded after Alaska's purchase by the United States.

The town was originally called Harrisburg, after Richard Harris; some time later, its name was changed to Rockwell. In 1881, the miners met and renamed the town Juneau, after Joe Juneau. In 1906, after the diminution of the whaling and fur trade, Sitka, the original capital of Alaska, declined in importance and the seat of government was moved to Juneau.

In 1954, a measure was passed to move the state's capital north in order to locate it closer to the state's population center. A provision that required the new capital to be located at least 30 miles from the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks, to prevent them from having undue influence over the rest of the state, stalled the relocation process to the point that in the end Juneau remained the capital. In the 1970s, serious plans were made to move the capital to a site near Willow, a town on the Parks Highway about 70 miles north of Anchorage. However, these plans never went very far.

Several ballot initiatives have been held on the issue of moving the capital [3]. The first such proposal was on the ballot of the state's first general election ballot: the voters chose not to move the capital from Juneau to the Cook Inlet-Railbelt area. A 1974 referendum actually passed, which led to the choice of the Willow site. This project died after the electorate voted against funding it (at a cost of billions of dollars) in 1978 and 1982. However, the Willow plan was partially revived in 2002 with a proposal to move the legislative branch to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (which includes Willow): this initiative lost by a 2-1 margin.

Once Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, Juneau grew with the growth of state government. Growth accelerated remarkably after the construction of the Alaska Pipeline in 1977, state budget flush with oil revenues; Juneau expanded predictably with both increased government and tourism jobs. That growth slowed considerably in the 1990s and, due to the high cost and low availability of buildable acreage, the state demographer expects the borough to grow very slowly over the next twenty years.

Juneau is larger in area than the State of Delaware and was, for many years, the country's largest city. It no longer holds the record, however, having been surpassed by the incorporation of Sitka in 2000. Juneau continues to be the only US state capital located on an international border: it is bordered on the east by Canada. - Wikipedia Article Juneau, Alaska

A large bronze statue featuring pelicans, intended for delivery to the State of Florida, stands in front of the Federal Building in Juneau. Pelicans are not indigenous to the State of Alaska; the proper artwork (an eagle) was delivered to Florida by mistake.

In 2005, the cruise ship industry was estimated to bring nearly one million visitors to Juneau [3]

Juneau was the 49th most lucrative US fisheries port by volume and 45th by value taking in 15 million pounds of fish and shellfish valued at 21.5 million dollars in 2004 according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Professional Basketball Player and Duke University alumnus Carlos Boozer was raised in Juneau and attended Juneau-Douglas High School.

Juneau is larger than the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which in itself contains 78 cities.

Juneau is one of only five state capitals not served by an interstate highway. Dover, Delaware; Jefferson City, Missouri; Carson City, Nevada; and Pierre, South Dakota, are the other four state capitals with this distinction.

A Juneau body is a humorous reference to an automobile in a dilapidated condition due to the unpleasant weather in Juneau. The weather, which is mostly rain, damages metal and causes rust very easily, since Juneau is in a notably humid climate. - Wikipedia Article Juneau, Alaska

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