Credit: Courtesy of the Alaska State Housing Authority, Urban Renewal Plan Eastchester Area Project, Alaska R-16, Anchorage, Alaska
Eastchester Map, 1965
Eastchester Flats was a predominantly Black community located along the north bank of Chester Creek. Most of Eastchester Flats was demolished and redeveloped in the 1960s and 70s. A few blocks still exist in the Fairview neighborhood. But for a time, it was the nation’s northernmost Black community and housed the largest cluster of Black-owned businesses in Alaska.
Due to housing discrimination throughout Anchorage, Blacks settled in and around Eastchester Flats, as it was the one of the few places to buy or rent. Although the area was primarily inhabited by Blacks and transient workers, the businesses of Eastchester Flats catered to a diverse crowd and had a reputation for lively nightlife. Other districts, like Spenard and downtown, later earned reputations for raucous entertainment and revelry but lacked the diversity and concentrated vitality of the Flats. From Southern cooking to Northern juke joints, the Flats buzzed with activity for several years in Anchorage’s postwar era.