History compiled in 2001 by Pat Richardson, Historian
By 1965, APW’s membership nucleus was moving to Anchorage. With half the state’s population, then and now, Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city. APW’s second elected president, Chris McClain, lived in Anchorage. The first meeting outside of Fairbanks was held in the basement of Anchorage’s downtown Loussac Library. Membership had grown to approximately 30.
With almost all of the membership living in Anchorage, activities became centered there. All but two annual meetings were held in Anchorage. Seward hosted one in 1976, and Fairbanks hosted one in 1981.
For a while in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the membership grew large enough to support two chapters, one in Southcentral Alaska (includes Anchorage) and another in Fairbanks. The Northern (Fairbanks) chapter then folded, and others sprang up for short periods, first in Juneau and then in Wasilla. The Anchorage chapter scheduled monthly luncheons with speakers and yearly professional development workshops that continue today.
Membership peaked during the mid 1980s at 160. When the state’s economy crashed in the mid-1980s, membership began to decline. APW restructured in 1992, retaining a statewide organization and closing the last remaining chapter. When this history was compiled in 2001, there were 65 statewide members. Organized activities continued to be centered in Anchorage where almost all members live.