Here's What Life Is Like In The Alaska Town That's Dark For 65 Days

This month, the sun will set on Barrow, Alaska and remain below the horizon for 65 days.

Barrow has a population of about 4,000 and is the northernmost town in the United States. The average high temperature remains below zero from December through March in Barrow.

The town is extremely isolated, surrounded by wilderness tundra and not accessible by road.

Many people in Barrow, including the significant population of Alaska Natives, rely on the Arctic Ocean for subsistence.

But Barrow is also home to several research facilities that bring in jobs, and oil and gas tax revenues allow the town to enjoy modern conveniences such as running water, sewers, and a health clinic.

People who live there say they enjoy the community and culture that’s unique to their town.

Documentary series One Square Mile visited Barrow in 2012 to give outsiders an idea of what life is like in a polar climate 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Barrow is located at the top of Alaska, about 500 miles from Fairbanks.

Source: One Square Mile

It is only accessible by aeroplane -- there aren't any roads in and out of town.

Source: One Square Mile

The sun sets in November and doesn't rise again until January. And in mid-May, the sun rises and does not set again for about 80 days.

Source: One Square Mile

The high winds and cold temperatures get dangerous in the winter -- if you go outside without gloves on, fingers can get frostbitten within minutes.

Source: One Square Mile

Adults generally don't ever let children go outside unsupervised.

Source: One Square Mile

Barrow residents used to use dog teams to get around town.

Source: One Square Mile

They were largely replaced by snowmobiles in the 1960s.

Source: One Square Mile

There are thousands more caribou than people in the land surrounding Barrow, according to one resident.

Source: One Square Mile

There are four grocery stores in town, and prices are ridiculously high because all of the food has to be flown in.

Source: One Square Mile

A jar of peanut butter costs almost $US10.

Source: One Square Mile

Some food doesn't make it through the extreme weather. This entire palette of soda had to be thrown out when it froze. It was delivered in -50 degree temperatures.

Source: One Square Mile

The man who runs the store came to Barrow as a tourist.

Source: One Square Mile

The store is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Source: One Square Mile

The grocer doesn't like his job, but he says he can't think about retirement. 'I used to drive out in the tundra, look back at Barrow, and ask myself, 'What am I doing here?' ... It's not about money anymore. It's about responsibility.'

Source: One Square Mile

More than half of Barrow workers are government employees, and the median household income is about $US89,000, allowing families to afford the cost of living.

Source: One Square Mile

For a family, spending $US500 a week on groceries 'is almost nothing.'

Source: One Square Mile

Many rely on food like whale blubber to get them through.

Source: One Square Mile

Dinners for this family often consist of sweet rolls, fish, and rice.

Source: One Square Mile

They eat rice with almost every meal -- even breakfast sometimes.

Source: One Square Mile

The father in this family drives a school bus and a cab to earn money.

Source: One Square Mile

He met his wife while driving his cab (thankfully, cabs rides in Barrow are cheaper than they are in the rest of the country).

Source: One Square Mile

His wife says it was a relief to marry someone who didn't grow up in Barrow, noting, 'When I met my husband, I didn't have to come home and ask my grandmother if I'm related to him.'

Source: One Square Mile

She says many pop culture icons -- such as Hannah Montana and Justin Bieber -- are popular with kids in Barrow.

Source: One Square Mile

The town has several restaurants. One resident speculates that people in town don't like to cook.

Source: One Square Mile

Fran Tate runs a popular Mexican restaurant called Pepe's North of the Border. She opened it in 1978.

Note: The restaurant burned down in August. It was a total loss. Tate now lives in Anchorage, but says she plans to open another Pepe's in the near future.

The restaurant is packed to capacity on Taco Tuesdays.

Source: One Square Mile

Tate moved to Barrow to work for the Naval Arctic Research Lab and stayed because she liked the culture. 'In the lower 48, they're always trying to live up to something, and you don't have to do that here. People take you for what you are.'

Source: One Square Mile

Church is also big in Barrow when the weather is good. Not many people show up when the temperature drops to -35 degrees, but attendance is high when it's above -20 degrees.

Source: One Square Mile

Life in such a dark and isolated place can cause problems. Police say that suicide, depression, and substance abuse is common.

Source: One Square Mile

This cop says that 'it can be extremely difficult to live here if you're not from here.' He's from Oregon and says he misses trees, mountains, and hills.

Source: One Square Mile

Because of the constant darkness in the winter, it can be hard to tell the days apart. Some people call the police station to ask what day or time it is.

Source: One Square Mile

And it is a tight-knit community -- this teacher says she's related in some way to 80-90% of her students.

Source: One Square Mile

But they do benefit from a wealth of local scientists to judge science fairs.

Source: One Square Mile

Despite its challenges, locals say Barrow is a good place to raise a family. The teacher told the documentary crew: 'I'm glad my kids have graduated from here and have been raised in this community. It's part of their heritage.'

Source: One Square Mile

Now that you've seen one of America's coldest towns...

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