Located about 20 minutes north of Homer, Anchor Point offers beautiful scenery, campgrounds, a golf course and excellent fishing in the Anchor River. Charter operators also are available for fishermen eager to try their luck on Cook Inlet.
Capt. James Cook gets the credit for naming Anchor Point. According to history, Cook lost an anchor while trying to deal with the inlet's strong tides in the 1700s. The spot where he lost the anchor was indicated on charts as "anchor point."
Gold brought some to Anchor Point in the 1800s. An 1890 United States census indicates that beach gravel was running through miners' sluices and they were extracting a fine gold worth as much as $7 per day per person.
Land was the attraction in the 1940s, with people arriving by foot, horseback and sea for the opportunity to homestead. Some were adventurous enough to arrive by vehicles sturdy enough to travel on the beach between Homer and Anchor Point.
When the Sterling Highway opened, even more people found their way to the Kenai Peninsula's most westerly community, and in 1949 the first post office opened with twice-a-week deliveries of mail.
In 1959, a town community club was built, providing a venue for the still-popular Cabin Fever Variety Show. It was and is an event that let winter-weary residents shrug off the winter blues with some homegrown entertainment.
Today the area's population is approximately 2,000. Chapman School has classes for kindergarten-eighth grade. The Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department continues to train emergency medical technicians and firefighters that respond to emergencies. A health clinic opened in the fall of 2007. Anchor Point Senior Center plays a strong role in the community, offering dinner every Thursday and breakfast one Sunday a month. It also organizes Bingo nights and operates Helping Hands, a organization that collects and disperses items to individuals in need.
The Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, formed in the 1960s, has a membership representing fishing charters, lodging, food service, auto repair, bookkeeping, campgrounds, fuel services, groceries, hardware, real estate, landscaping, tackle shops, video rentals, pet and gardening supplies and more.
Summer officially begins in Anchor Point with the Memorial Weekend Family Fun Festival. Barbecues, breakfasts, games and music are just part of the activities organized for residents and visitors alike. In July, the community invites the public to its Independence Day celebration, complete with parade and barbecue.
Until late in the fall, fishermen line the riverbanks, or fish for halibut and salmon in Cook Inlet from a launch site on the beach.
Motocross races, held on a course just south of Anchor Point, attract racers of all ages from across the state during the summer. During the winter, the course is used for racing snowmachines.
The Snow Rondi is a popular wintertime activity, including indoor and outdoor events for all ages.
A shooting range is south of town.
Two art galleries are near Mile 161 of the Sterling Highway: the Ben Firth Studio and the Norman Lowell Studio and Gallery. The Ben Firth Studio represents members of the Firth family who have won awards for their antler carvings, wood carvings, bronze sculpture, paintings and pencil drawings. The studio is open from mid-May through mid-September and year-round by appointment.
The impressive Norman Lowell Studio and Gallery feature paintings by Lowell that range in size from small to immense. The Lowell family homesteaded here in 1958 and opened the original gallery in 1974. The gallery is open from May 1 into September, and closed during the winter when Lowell is busy painting.
When visiting Anchor Point, be sure to stop at the chamber's Information center to add your name to the guest book.
For more information:
Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, dnr.alaska.gov/parks/, (907) 262-5581
Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, www.anchorpointchamber.org/, (907) 235-2600
Anchor Point Public Library, (907) 235-5692
Anchor Point Senior Center: (907) 235-7786
State campground information: www.dnr.alaska.gov/parks/index.htm.