|Juneau is named after gold prospector
Joe Juneau, though the place was for a time called Rockwell and
then Harrisburg (after Juneau's co-prospector, Richard Harris).
The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni ("river where
the flounders gather"), and Auke Bay just north of Juneau proper
is called Aak'w ("little lake") in Tlingit. The Taku River, just
south of Juneau, was named after the cold t'aakh wind, which
occasionally blows down from the mountains.
Juneau sits at sea level, with tides averaging 16 feet (5 m),
below steep mountains about 3,500 feet (1,100 m) to 4,000 feet
(1,200 m) high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a
large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; two of these,
the Mendenhall Glacier and the Lemon Creek Glacier, are visible
from the local road system; the Mendenhall glacier has been
generally retreating; its front face is declining both in width
The Alaska State Capitol in downtown Juneau
was originally built as the Federal and Territorial Building in
1931. Prior to statehood, it housed federal government offices,
the federal courthouse and a post office. It also housed the
territorial legislature and many other territorial offices,
including that of the governor. Today, it is still the home of
the state legislature and the offices of the governor and
lieutenant governor. Other executive branch offices have largely
moved elsewhere, in Juneau or elsewhere in the state, in the
ongoing battle between branches for space in the building, as
well as the decades-long capital move issue. Recent discussion
has been focused between relocating the seat of state government
outside of Juneau and building a new capitol building in Juneau.
Neither position has advanced very far. The Alaska Committee, a
local community advocacy group, has led efforts to thus far keep
the capital in Juneau.