An Outline History of Juneau Municipal Government
In 1881, the Committee on Town Laws voted for a new name for the town of
Juneau. "Juneau City" won the vote overruling "Harrisburg"
and "Rockwell." In 1882, the change was officially made by the U.S.
Post Office Department, which dropped the word "City" making the official
The City of Juneau was incorporated and became Alaska's state capital in 1900.
In 1881, the town of Douglas was established as a mining community. Prior to that time,
Douglas had also been referred to as "Edwardsville," presumably after an early
resident and miner H.H. Edwards.
The "City of Douglas" was incorporated in 1902.
In the transition from territory to statehood and in accordance with provisions of the 1959 Session Laws of the
State of Alaska the City of Juneau was established as a home-rule city in October 1960.
A Manager-Council form of government was established. The Council had seven members with the Mayor as
The boundaries of the new City of Juneau remained as previously drawn.
The Greater Juneau Borough was incorporated as a first class borough on September 30, 1963.
The form of government established included a nine-member Assembly with a President
as presiding officer and an Assembly-elected administrator. Representation on the Assembly
was composed of three members from the City of Juneau, one member from the City of Douglas,
and five members from outside the cities of Juneau and Douglas.
The boundaries of the Greater Juneau Borough included Holkham Bay in Stephens
Passage; the Alaska-Canadian Boundary Line encompassing Peak Nos. 79 and 98 of the
Ice Field; Eldred Rock Light; Lincoln Island; Point Young; Point Arden Light:, Midway
Island Light; and Point Coke.
The City of Douglas was established as a home-rule city in October 1966.
The City of Douglas Council consisted of six Councilmen and the Mayor.
Boundaries of the City of Douglas remained as previously established.
The City and Borough of Juneau was incorporated as a unified City and Borough on July 1, 1970.
The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly has nine members with the Mayor as presiding officer.
It is a strong Manager form of government.
The newly created boundaries of the City and Borough of Juneau consolidated the City of
Douglas, the City of Juneau. and the Greater Juneau Borough.
The City and Borough of Juneau is a home-rule municipality, exercising the
powers granted to it by the Constitution of the State of Alaska, As part of its preamble
to the Charter, the City and Borough of Juneau's mission is to "provide for local government
responsive to the will of the people and to the continuing needs of the community."
By Marian Miller, former Municipal Clerk
First published on this web site June 9, 1997
Mayors of Juneau: