Alaska town where residents live in one building

Imagine living with all your classmates and the majority of your town’s population under just one roof. Imagine your local post office, grocery store and police station being just an elevator ride away. 

That’s Jenessa Lorenz’s reality, living in Whittier, Alaska where she and about 85% of the town’s roughly 300 residents live in one 14-story building.

After noticing Whittier trending on TikTok, Jenessa posted a tour of the building she’s called home for the past seven years. The video amassed over 14 million views. 

“I made the video thinking, ‘OK, no one’s going to care about a tiny, tiny town in Alaska.’ The next day it had millions of views, and I was in shock,” Lorenz told USA TODAY. “Our town’s Facebook group posted my TikTok on their page too.”

Lorenz said the interest in Whittier has been “overwhelming” with most TikTok users wondering how one town survives under one roof. However, Lorenz said the building was created so residents never had to leave if they didn’t want to.

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