The apartment building that houses an entire town

·3-min read

A woman has given people on TikTok a peak into her life inside a town where nearly everyone lives in the same building.

A week ago Jenessa, under the account @messy.nessy, shared a TikTok video after people were talking about Whittier, Alaska on the platform.

Just over 300 people live in Whittier and most of the town lives in the Begich Towers, as does Jenessa.

"In this building there's a post office, a church, a store and a building office," Jenessa says in the video.

"In the basement of the building we have a tunnel that runs from this building to the school across the street."

Jenessa has been showing people around the town of Whittier in Alaska. Source: TikTok/messy.nessy
Jenessa has been showing people around the town of Whittier in Alaska. Source: TikTok/messy.nessy

She said there were 318 people living in the apartments year round.

The Begich Towers website says the building is 14 storeys, which accommodates for permanent and seasonal residents, as well as visitors.

More than 18 million people watched Jenessa's video and since then her content has focused around what it's like living in the tower.

She's taken TikTok viewers on tours around the building and answered questions about what life in Whittier is like.

Jenessa has lived in Whittier for seven years, she said her family have had the apartment in the building for quite some time, but they used the apartment as a cabin before they moved in.

Some of the people on TikTok said Jenessa seemed sad on her TikTok videos, so she clarified she was not sad.

She said Whittier was a "pretty" place and pointed out it is only about an hours drive from Anchorage, Alaska's biggest city.

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"So it's really not that hard to go to the movies, just drive an hour or something," she says, explaining in summer there's a lot of things for people to do in Whittier.

People were also curious as to why nearly everyone in the town lives in the one building.

"There are two apartment buildings in this town," Jenessa said in a video.

"There's the BTI which is the building I'm in and there's also the manor. The manor is a lot smaller and it's like two stories — not many people live there, about 5 per cent of the population does.

"There are no houses here because you can't buy any property, because most of it is owned by the railroad."

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Jenessa's father is the mayor of Whittier, which is a volunteer position in the town. She told USA Today she also might follow in her dad's footsteps and join the city council.

In response to a video about whether Whittier had a Covid outbreak, Jenessa said at first there were no cases.

She said the community was very cautious as everyone does live in the same building, but last year due to tourists and seasonal workers, there was a Covid-19 outbreak in Whittier.

"Whittier actually lost a lot of business due to Covid, you usually get three cruise ships every week in the summer, but we haven't the past two years" she said, adding there were a couple of Covid cases in the winter too.

Jenessa also told USA Today she will use her platform to promote tourism in the summer.

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