The town of Seward is named for William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. You may recall that Alaska was once nicknamed “Seward’s Folly,” as many residents of the Lower 48 wondered why Seward would advocate the purchase of 425 million acres of wilderness when the country was still financially devastated from the recent War Between the States. But Russia, worried about overextending themselves, made the offer, and Seward recognized the importance of getting Russia out of North America. He persuaded Congress to snap it up for a cool $7.2 million (less than 2 cents an acre). The purchase was also a convenient political distraction from Johnson’s contentious presidency.
The town, poised on Alaska’s southern coast, is the perfect gateway to America’s final frontier.