Unforgettable Alaska Housing Options

A float house resting on shore until the tide comes in to lift it againFloat House in Craig, Alaska - 1996

Craig, Alaska 1996 – This unforgettable, old float house sat on the shore near Craig, Alaska, for years. Then one day, it was gone. When the tide came in, the house rose and became level. During low tide, the house sat partially onshore and leaned toward the water. Can you imagine living in such circumstances? And, people did live in this house.

It wasn’t an easy walk to the door for residents of this house who hiked through the trees on an unlit path and crossed the ramp to reach the float house. The tired paint on the house is proof of its wear. This area is not entirely protected water, and there is no water break nearby. Storms meant certain seasickness for occupants, and Craig can be a stormy place year-round. Notice the skiff secured to the house and the ropes anchoring it to shore. There could be a real anchor dropped below it; who knows?

I wonder what untold secrets this float house could tell? Where did it spend most of its time, and where did it go when it disappeared? It wasn’t a life of luxury for the residents of this home, but I’m sure they lived the Alaska dream life. The house wasn’t in great shape the last time I saw it, and there were still people living there then.

Now, for the rest of the story.

What unusual housing is in remote Alaska besides the float house? Admit it. Igloo was the first thing that came to your mind when I asked that question. Actually, the Inuits of Alaska only used the snow igloos for emergency shelters. The Inuit word iglu means buildings made from any material, though the snow pushed up against whalebone and hide shelters as insulators in the past. Watch This is My Alaska build an igloo on YouTube.

Other unusual housing options that I have seen in Alaska include:

  • Cheap nylon tents.
  • Hunting canvas tents with heaters inside.
  • Fifth-wheel and camper trailers of all types of conditions from fancy to falling apart.
  • Tiny houses.
  • Shacks with no floors.
  • Houseboats of all types and conditions.
  • Houses built partially over the water.

An expensive and beautiful log cabin in remote Alaska might have a shack home on the property next door. Affordable modular homes, single and doublewide trailers, rustic cabins, and stick-built homes are typical in the Last Frontier where I have lived.

Update: I have since learned that this float house was called The Hilton by some local residents, and the Craig Fire Department demolished it for safety reasons.


Typical Thorne Bay Housing
Typical Thorne Bay Housing 2013
Remodeled Thorne Bay Housing 2013
Remodeled Thorne Bay Housing 2013

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