Originally called "Glacier City," Girdwood was founded as a supply
camp for placer gold miners with claims along the creeks feeding Turnagain Arm.
It was renamed for Colonel James Girdwood, a Belfast-born, Scots-Irish
entrepreneur and linen merchant who staked the first four gold claims along
Crow Creek in 1896.
The town was moved 2.5 miles (4 km) up the valley after the devastating
Good Friday Earthquake of 1964, when the land under the original town site
subsided into Turnagain Arm, putting much of the town below high tide. The land
has not all since been reclaimed, as one can still see 'drowned' cabins